written by:
photos by:
September 26, 2011
Originally published in Smaller & Smarter

In her book Du Torrent au Courant, des Barrages et des Hommes en Savoie (From Torrent to Current: Dam and Man in Savoy), photographer Céline Clanet documents the infrastructure of hydropower in the Beaufortain region of southeastern France: four dams and ten power plants. Set in the midst of bucolic hillsides and snowcapped peaks, these structural behemoths have had profound impacts on the surrounding terrain. With a documentarian eye, Clanet captures all facets of these dams and power plants—from their monumental exterior scales, to labyrinthine interior spaces, to caretakers—focusing on how infrastructure has merged with the natural and social landscape.

infrastructure impact on social landscapes
High mountain pastures, Saint-Guérin dam
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jean-pierre blanc the high mountain farmer and cheese maker
Jean-Pierre Blanc, high mountain farmer and cheesemaker
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infrastructure impact on social landscapes
High mountain pastures, Saint-Guérin dam
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infrastructure impact on social landscapes
La Girotte dam
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infrastructure impact on social landscapes
La Girotte, vaulting maintenance
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infrastructure impact on social landscapes
Nino Manfiotto, who worked at La Girotte in the 1940s
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infrastructure impact on social landscapes
Hydraulic machine, Queige power plant
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infrastructure impact on social landscapes
Engine room, La Bâthie power plant
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infrastructure impact on social landscapes
Valve room at the foot of the penstock, La Bâthie power plant
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infrastructure impact on social landscapes
Roseland dam, Méraillet buttresses
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Roselend dam
Roselend dam
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The lower face of Roselend dam
The lower face of Roselend dam
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Service entrance to La Gittaz dam
Service entrance to La Gittaz dam
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La Girotte dam's buttresses
La Girotte dam's buttresses
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At the foot of the vaulting, Roselend dam
At the foot of the vaulting, Roselend dam
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La Girotte dam in winter
La Girotte dam in winter
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The lower face of a vaulting structure at La Girotte dam
The lower face of a vaulting structure at La Girotte dam
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Lower face of Saint-Guerin dam
Lower face of Saint-Guerin dam
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Jean-Pierre Blanc near the Roselend dam
Jean-Pierre Blanc near the Roselend dam
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A hydraulic machine at the La Bâthie power plant
A hydraulic machine at the La Bâthie power plant
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Inside La Bâthie's control room
Inside La Bâthie's control room
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Access tunnel to the starting valves between La Bâthie power plant and Roselend dam<br /><br /><p><em><strong>Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our </strong></em><a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dwell/id411793747?mt=8"><em><strong> FREE app from
Access tunnel to the starting valves between La Bâthie power plant and Roselend dam

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infrastructure impact on social landscapes
High mountain pastures, Saint-Guérin dam

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