With All Our Might by Deborah Farnault, exhibition and book project


Through these notions, I’m drawing a parallel between the desertification of the American West and the drying up of our resources and our humanity.

California, the fifth economical world power, is at the forefront of global warming. The heat waves, which have impacted the West Coast in recent years, are not temporary droughts; they are the result of the region’s progressive desertification.

Deborah Farnault


“With All Our Might” is an ambitious and thought-provoking exhibition and book project that delves into the complex interplay between landscape, climate, and society. This work offers a striking perspective on the challenges posed by the desertification of the American West and how it mirrors the drying up of resources and the human condition.

The portrayal of California as a significant global economic player, grappling with the dire consequences of global warming, is both poignant and urgent. The connection drawn between the region’s progressive desertification and the heatwaves that have plagued the West Coast in recent years is compelling. It highlights how seemingly temporary droughts are, in reality, symptoms of a more profound and ongoing environmental crisis.

The exploration of the Californian desert, situated at the gateway to Los Angeles, as a convergence point between a wealthy agricultural region and an alternative economy is enlightening. It underscores the stark contrasts between affluence and poverty, stability and crime, as well as the constant struggle for control over limited resources. The impact of military training grounds in the nearby mountains, the contentious battle for water rights, and the dwindling Colorado River all add to the grim picture of an impending environmental catastrophe.

The reference to filmmaker John Waters’ description of the Salton Sea shorelines as a place “where utopia and the apocalypse meet to dance a dirty tango” captures the haunting essence of the region. The fact that people continue to inhabit the desert, whether by choice or necessity, despite the bleak circumstances, is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.

The juxtaposition of abandoned marinas, makeshift communities, and opulent Palm Springs creates a surreal and captivating visual narrative. It underscores the dichotomies that exist within this environment, where beauty and decay, abundance and poverty, and the sublime and the sordid coexist in a disconcerting harmony.

The critique of a system that prioritizes growth and positivity at any cost is particularly resonant. It highlights the disconnection between human values and the relentless pursuit of productivity, offering a poignant commentary on the state of society in the face of overwhelming challenges.

The topographical approach, featuring stripped-down images and short prose poems that read like the lyrics of American indie pop songs, adds depth and emotion to the narrative. The collaboration with writer Liz Harmer, who pens “The Last Free Place,” further enriches the project with a compelling narrative that complements the visual elements.

“In ‘With All Our Might,’ the Californian desert becomes a canvas on which to explore nostalgia, alienation, and crumbling romanticism under the harsh light of reality.” This project challenges us to confront our disconnected humanity in the face of an incomprehensible future.

The reference to the documentary “Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea,” narrated by John Waters, serves as a powerful touchpoint, reinforcing the project’s themes and messages, a significant and evocative work that not only documents the environmental crisis but also delves into the human condition and the enduring human spirit in the face of adversity. It provides a platform for reflection and contemplation on our role in a changing world.

by Alexandra Mas 

‘With All Our Might’
an exhibition & book project
by Deborah Farnault

along the work of
four other photographers

Cécile André
La fille & l’oiseau
Lise Sébastien
Fanny Zambaz

In partnership with

Ministère de la Culture / DRAC IdF
Préfet de la Région d’Ile de France
Crédit Agricole
Gobelins Paris
Laboratoire Dahinden
Agence Flag
Lab Compagnie
Galerie Hegoa
Paris Premiere
Le Géant des Beaux-Arts
Osborne Clarke
Museum TV

Objectif Femmes 2023, art show, Paris, women photographers, art organise by Delphine Bürkli, Paris 9th arrondissent