Au coin de ma rue
“A stranger is actually a friend that
you haven’t met yet” (William Butler Yeats).
Ever since I was young, I was fascinated by strangers. While waiting for a bus, while standing in line, my eyes were always drawn by a specific person. At that exact moment, I couldn’t stop wondering what they were thinking, what they were doing, what his fears and joys were…
I am sure I am not unique in this, but the indifference of the public sphere has often puzzled me… I don’t understand how dozens of people cross each other daily without manifesting any feeling. This neutral and apathetic mask… Personally, some anonymous people leave a real trace on me. I don’t really know what attracts my eyes? I think I am touched by a certain attitude, an imperfection that makes the person interesting. An intangible something that reflects into their expression.
In 2009, I decided to embrace this obsession and capture pictures of some of these people. I bought a 50mm lens, and simply started asking people to take their portrait.
After 300 portraits, I realised that this mark was too ephemeral. I wanted to know more. I wanted to enter their intimate thoughts. I didn’t want to detail the dressed person like ‘street photographers’, I wanted to “undress” them and as a voyeur, enter their life and thoughts as much as possible. I decided to recontact 30 people out of these 300 to photograph them five years in a row with a different theme.
I know it was strange and I knew I would be confronted with negative responses, but these 30 people were crazy enough to let me enter their life.
At first it was a selfish sociological experiment. I thought that meeting them a few times in my life would not change my perspective towards them. But very quickly, a feeling of trust and complicity started to grow. I realized that’s what happens when people are no longer anonymous anymore. We start caring for them.