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"Young-Generations" exhibition at the Photo Phnom Penh Festival 2017 (Cambodia)

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"Young-Generations" exhibition at the Photo Phnom Penh Festival 2017 (Cambodia)

Photography exhibition commissioned for a tour of France and abroad

Institut Français de Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh
21 octobre • 21 novembre 2017

In the autumn, the “Young-Generations” photography exhibition is on display at the Institut Français (Phnom Penh) as part of the Photo Phnom Penh Festival. It brings together works from fifteen art photographers who are making moves in the documentary stills arena: Pablo Baquedano, Marie-Noëlle Boutin, Gilles Coulon, Chimène Denneulin, Claudine Doury, Gabrielle Duplantier, Guillaume Herbaut, Yohanne Lamoulère, Stéphane Lavoué, Géraldine Millo, Myr Muratet, Alexandra Pouzet and Bruno Almosnino, Lola Reboud, Klavdij Sluban and Patrice Terraz.

The photographs produced constitute an extraordinary body of documentation, representing both the diversity of areas and vitality of contemporary artistic creation. It highlights the players in a constantly evolving world, whether through their cultural practices or their preparation for life.

What do young people do when their countryside goes to sleep? The same as their compatriots in the cities, they go clubbing and meet up at the Chaumière, Cabane Bambou, or Big Ben. All these rather old-fashioned discothèques survive to give them a place to meet and spend the evening with mates and make some noise in regions that are, at times, in a bit of a doze. I would like to meet these young people to see how they spend their nights once they get to the weekend.

“Areas of Youth” consists of taking portraits of adolescents in the public arena, in different geographical contexts. How does an area become meaningful for an adolescent? What does that say of him or her and the society in which they live? I will be particularly interested in young people from rural and semi-rural areas of northern France.

Today, in France, about 90% of 18-24 year olds are on at least one social network. Usage of these networks has become common practice among young people. A shared use that defies all usual categorisation (social or cultural background, geographic location, religious beliefs or origin). With the consent of seven to ten young people (males and females) aged 18 to 24 who agree to give me access to the contents of their Smartphone (Facebook, Instagram, etc.), I will create seven large portraits. From a distance, an initial portrait will stand out of the young person whom I have photographed and then, up close, you will notice that each portrait is made up of thousands of images, thousands of moments in their life, of intimacy shared on social networks.

I wish to present a set of montages bringing together portraits and elements of France (architectural subjects but also ordinary, commonplace subjects), that tries to put into perspective both the terms contained in the theme of the commission. The viewer will find themselves in front of an enigma that will lead them, as I have done, to wonder what is "youth”, on the one hand, and “in France” on the other, these days. I am interested in bringing together distant narratives and geographies to produce unexpected parallels and connections.

For this project, I want to focus on budding young theatre actors for whom the artistic process has not always been obvious because they come from so-called “under-privileged” socio-cultural backgrounds. This wish came about through the discovery of “Ier Acte” (Act I) workshops. This training programme, set up in 2014, is intended to promote greater diversity in recruitment to drama schools and, subsequently, to theatre stages. I will produce a series presenting my vision of these modern actors who are representative of France’s population today, seizing know-how and secular traditions.

“Children from here” is a series of photographs taken between 2005 and 2012 in one of a group of special primary schools aimed at improving educational achievement and social inclusion in disadvantaged areas, where I led a silver halide photography workshop. My young pupils, who were then aged about ten, are now between 14 and 23 years old. What has become of them? I would really love to know and I can find out and render an account in pictures. I don’t know who I’ll find, there are only questions. Besides the physical transformation, which interests me greatly in photography, the changing bodies and facial features, has the change in social status from child to young adult happened in a positive way?

Picardy. A web series filmed by young people fights against clichés. Tergnier, which is suffering the full brunt of the economic crisis, is home to an association called GEEKS2 that combats exclusion and dropping out of school through the filming of a completely crazy web series. They are the heirs of the railway worker and working-class spirit, based on solidarity. They form the link between a bygone industrial age and the era of new media, between folk festival culture and Japanese comic strip culture.

My “Love Stories in Marseilles - the Legend of Gyptis and Protis” project has arisen from my practice as a documentary photographer and is developing in an environment that is very familiar to me: the northern districts of Marseilles. This project enables me to talk about the challenges of the love relationship – it follows on from the questioning that is the focus of my work: youth, identity, urban transformation, document and narrative. I will attempt to transcribe my relationship with other people whilst offering a naturalistic representation of the world. The issue at stake lies between the realism of the image and what it suggests is just out of shot.

While everyone laments the fact that the Bigouden region (the south-western tip of Finistère) is being drained of its young people, some of them are deciding to stay. By choice. This strong, courageous and alternative choice is the result of their visceral attachment to this bit of land, battered by the wind and waves. They refuse to move to the cities where they have no ties, and want to retain their contact with the ocean. I would like to produce a portrait of these determined young people, these young seafaring fishermen, blacksmiths, carpenters, young fish market vendors, men and women alike, and the women working as filleters at the canneries who, like me, have decided to live here.

The vast majority of them are girls. They are between 15 and 20 years old. They have finished with general schooling and headed for jobs in the care sector or beauty treatment industry. At vocational training college, they learn what it means to be a home help, a hairdresser, nursery nurse or beautician. The documentary entitled “Vestals” follows them during their apprenticeships, at college and on work placements. “Vestals” is the portrait of young people, mainly female, who are starting out in the service of others. These photographs will be a new section in the Heirs series on young people from vocational training colleges.

Photographic research on the youth of a North Paris area experiencing major urban and social upheaval. This area, which is the target of work under the major urban regeneration plan for Paris, constitutes one of the largest current redevelopment sites in Paris, with its 200 hectares of urban wasteland, abandoned rail tracks and vast warehouses, dotted with social housing estates. During the historic transformation of this area, I want to follow the young as they are faced with the reconfiguration of their neighbourhoods, brought about by the Grand Paris works. Here where, for as long as anyone can remember, the landscape has borne the remains of an industrial past made up of disused factories, areas of wasteland and housing that was unfit for habitation, little pockets of urban renewal are now starting to appear: clean, airy squares, apartment blocks with entry code systems and spruced up public gardens. I would like this study to advance critical and aesthetic research that will feed into photographic work begun 15 years ago in this area.

“Looking’s My Business” is an artistic survey in a rural environment, among young people who are asked how they are seen and who is looking at them, there where they themselves are looking. The creative process for this project includes people who are approached and to whom part of the survey, photographic production and content is delegated. Individual interviews, the handing out of disposable cameras to capture everyday scenes, a studio portrait with a chosen object, a portrait in a place where the surveyed-surveyor “likes to take stock”, photographs with full set-up or talks on prints that question the notion of looking.

Reality and encounter are the starting points for my photographic work. In Corsica, it will be a case of meeting and then photographing young people aged 15 to 30, friends and couples, on the outskirts of towns, in the familiar places of my youth, such as cafés and other meeting places, on a hunting expedition or along the coast at viewing points and wide horizons. I also wish to collect written exchanges, including friendly and romantic exchanges, that can be included in the project when it is finally printed. The marked climatic and chromatic variations on the island and changes in the weather will punctuate the season, as well as feelings.

Following on from my long-haul cycle on adolescents in prison, carried out at the Fleury-Mérogis Youth Detention Centre in 1995, I have been regularly continuing with this project for over twenty years throughout numerous countries around the world. The photographic dynamics and interaction with the adolescents with whom I share my passion for photography are embodied by the creation of photography workshops in each of the prisons photographed. The cycle will be sequenced by three types of “portrait”. This personal look at a certain section of youth in France, put somewhere out of sight and non-existent as far as our contemporary society is concerned, is this “invisible youth”, which does, however, exist.

On 3rd August 2016, two to three thousand people marched through the streets of Noumea to protest against the inadequate level of access to employment and positions of responsibility for young Kanak people. This demonstration is revealing about the crucial period that New Caledonia is currently going through in the approach to 2018, the year in which it is due to vote on whether to remain in the Republic or claim its independence. Educational inequalities and unemployment rates show that there remains much to be done to establish economic and social balance. This context puts the malaise of its youth at the forefront of the Melanesian people’s concerns. The young people will be called upon to contribute to the creative process as this work will be based on interaction and discussion. They will be asked to imagine an image they hold dear to them. Asking them to express their thoughts and feelings. This photographic dialogue will be printed in the form of diptychs.

In October 2016, the national photography commission, “Youth in France,” was launched by the Ministry for Culture, led by the Cnap, in collaboration with the CéTàVOIR association.

Dernière mise à jour le 04 déc. 2017
Institut Français de Phnom Penh Phnom Penh