"In my time I have seen a hundred craftsmen and a hundred workmen wiser and happier than any university don."
Michel Eyquem de Montaigne (1533 - 1592)
I made this series of photographs around the given theme : Bordeaux and the Bordelais – Eating, drinking, thinking. I put this photographic project under the auspices of Montaigne who was a philospher, Mayor of Bordeaux, humanist, aristocrat and farmer. Montaigne was close to the earth, ideas and power. He was interested in people without making social distinctions, unusual for that time. In his work Essays he praises individual liberty and the right to happiness, regardless of social or financial success.
Around Langon in the Bordeaux region, I in turn met my contempory humanists : fishermen, wine makers, lumberjacks and land owners. We spoke and I photographed them. Living in Europe and in France which continually evolves towards a modern and uniform state, the people that feature in this work struggle to maintain their livelihoods which respect the past and the environment. Aristocrats or not, they live a life close to nature, to humanity and to a time which runs at its own rythm.
Marceau’s 75 year old hand in his mongrel’s fur. He is a Gemmeur, profession which no longer exists which entailed bleeding resin from pine trees into clay cups. Before the advent of petrol derived products, pine resin was used to dilute paint products it has since been replaced by white spirit and terebentine oil. He has lived all his life in this house on the Baritault family estate. As he has no children it is the Baritault family who look after him.