Architecture / Industry | Nominee

Julien Chatelin

Paris / France

China West


In western China, the pace of economic development has ushered in a new unprecedented period of transformation, one that has radically redefined the topography of the country while displacing significant parts of its population from rural areas to vast, newly-built mega cities.
Semi-deserted landscapes carry a profound ambivalence, suggesting at the same time fecundity and sterility, a promise and nothingness. China West is a visual exploration of the impact economic development has had on western China’s landscape, focusing on the dwindling interstice left between nature and urbanization, a space, which, perhaps more than any other, reveals the true process of change.


Born in France, Julien Chatelin began his career in 1992 as a documentary photographer.

His work as been widely published in major publications worldwide, and exhibited in prestigious museums such as the European House of Photography or the Geneva Center for Photography.

Investigating at first social issues in France, his focus turned increasingly towards major international events, and particularly to the changes taking places in Eastern Europe that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Chatelin then expanded his horizons to other territories focusing his attention to the fate of nations struggling for independent statehood. This informal series included works from the Caucasus, Kosovo, Western Sahara, Kurdistan, Xinjiang or Tibet, which essay “Lhasa, the lost soul of Tibet” was featured at the Open Society Institute.

During three years, between 2004 and 2006 Chatelin set forth to create a visual fresco of Israeli society. Israel Borderline was presented in a major exhibition in Cannes in 2008, and a 160-page monograph was published at this occasion.

In a constant quest to explore new visual dialectics and narratives, Julien Chatelin, produced Egyptorama: A journey through Egypt's semi-desert lands, shot in large format, which received the 2013 Camera Clara Award. Egyptorama is the first opus of a larger body of work in progress, which deals with the issue of urbanization and the cyclical transformations of our environments.

Chatelin is co-founder of the award-winning magazine De L'air, a former member of Rapho agency.