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Louis Roederer: Beyond Champagne

The Champagne house’s foundation embraces photography and sustainability in three projects.

Last cluster of palm trees of disappearing Tanseet oasis, from the series Before Its Gone Morocco ļMhammed Kilito

Supporting sustainability for over two decades, iconic champagne house Louis Roederer has also been involved with championing photography through its Foundation for over a decade.

The Louis Roederer Foundation created the Louis Roederer Photography Prize for Sustainability in 2021-2022 to support contemporary photographers and shine a light on sustainability and environmental issues.

Composed of an independent jury, the 2023 edition welcomed the theme ‘Flow’ as a means to explore the constant dynamic between nature and people, the relationship that ties people to their environment and the circular interaction with nature and life forces.

Sand-silting at Oulad Edriss village near the oasis of M'Hamid El Ghizlane, from the series Before Its Gone Morocco by ļMhammed Kilito

Last May, in London, Moroccan photographer M’Hammed Kilito was awarded the prize - £7,500 to continue funding this project - for his series entitled Before It’s Gone.

A documentary photographer and a National Geographic explorer based in Casablanca, he investigates and depicts life in oases with a focus on the complex and multidimensional issues of oasis degradation in Morocco and its impact on their inhabitants. A naturally rich environment, oases are dependent on water making desertification, recurrent droughts and fires, changes in agricultural practices, overexploitation of natural resources, rural exodus, and the sharp drop in the water table imminent threats to their very existence.

Solar Panel by Jean-Charles Gutner © Marie Flament/Louis Roederer 

The preservation of natural resources and biodiversity being at the core of Roederer’s concerns and practices - as a champagne and wine producer - the Louis Roederer Foundation unveiled last June another photo exhibition during the Biennale Emergences, at Le Grand Palais Éphémère in Paris:  the artistic project led by photographer Jean-Charles Gutner questioned and highlighted biodiversity in the vineyards.

Titled ‘Solar Panel’, the series portrayed the vine in all its genetic diversity: similar although different, each pictured vine leaf – related to a grape variety or parcel – appeared to have its own personality, thus carrying the potential of a vine’s unique taste. 20 years ago already, the champagne house engaged in a ‘renaissance viticulture’ using practices that respect the living environment to allow the nuances of the Champagne terroir to be fully expressed. Today, the result is visible.

Winner of the Discovery Award, Ecuadorian artist Isadora Romero

In July, during the Rencontres d'Arles, the Louis Roederer Foundation granted its Discovery Award to Ecuadorian artist Isadora Romero - presented by Magnum Foundation. For the past six years, the champagne house has been supporting the international photography festival’s vision to defend a new kind of photography and its emerging actors: the ten selected projects of the 2023 edition are presented as a collective exhibition, conceived in an innovative and sustainable way by Indian curator Tanvi Mishra. In her award-winning work called “Fume, Root, Seed” [Humo, Semilla, Raíz], Romero explores her link to agrobiodiversity after discovering that her ancestors were seed guardians.

The Discovery Prize Exhibition 2023 Louis Roederer Foundation © Adrien Limousin/ Louis Roederer 

This project offers an alternate way of looking at environmental issues through the prism of possibility, instead of catastrophic consequence. Audrey Bazin, Artistic Director of the Louis Roederer Foundation, underlines that "this Jury Prize recognizes both Romero’s sensitive photographic work and her commitment; she convinced us of the need for artists to look at the world in order to change it for the better.”

Again, sustainability issues are highlighted, for a more diverse tomorrow.

The Louis Roederer Foundation Discovery Award 2023 is on show at l’Eglise des Frères Prêcheurs, Arles, as part of the Rencontres de la Photographie. On view till September 27th, 2023. More information here: