Alinka Echeverría, Aala, Saint-Saphorin, 2016, 'Unfamiliar Familiarities' project © Alinka Echeverría
Alinka Echeverría, Aala, Saint-Saphorin, 2016, 'Unfamiliar Familiarities' project © Alinka Echeverría 

Unfamiliar Familiarities, Outside Views on Switzerland

25/10/2017 - 07/01/2018

Musée de l'Elysée 
18, avenue de l'Elysée 
1014 Lausanne   

Switzerland’s image has been significantly shaped by photographs dedicated to tourism. With spectacular mountain panoramas, rural idylls or portraits of local people the country could be successfully marketed, and these photographs also made an important contribution towards national identity. Another consequence, however, was that the respective pictorial repertoire became inflated and stereotyped.
Switzerland Tourism has chosen an unusual project to mark its 100th anniversary in 2017 with the aim of exploring the potential of photography anew. The Swiss Foundation for Photography (Winterthur) and the Musée de l’Elysée (Lausanne) invited five internationally renowned photographers to scrutinise Switzerland in their capacity as independent, subjective and sensitive observers – unrestricted by any advertising commission.
What Alinka Echeverría (Mexico/UK), Shane Lavalette (USA), Eva Leitolf (Germany), Simon Roberts (UK) and Zhang Xiao (China) discovered on their travels around the country or along its borders is both inspiring and revealing. Their exciting, poetic or mysterious-enigmatic images invite viewers to see the familiar with the eyes of an outsider.