"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 Ė 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.
The chef Claude Darroze in his Langon restaurant gives a demonstration on how to eat an Ortolan, a small bird considered to be a delicacy. The napkin on his head retains the birdís rich odours whilst hiding the grease which drips from the mouth onto the chin when eaten. It is now forbidden to hunt and cook these birds, but that didnít stop François Mitterrand as it was his favorite dish. Three Ortolan birds were appartently the last thing he ate before dying.