"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.
François Amirault is the Maître de Chaix and Chef de Culture of Château de Fargues. He is holding a special magnifying glass used to detect impurities in the wine. The château produces only 15,000 bottles (40 to 50 barrels) of Sauternes wine a year from 20% Sauvignon Blanc vines and 80% Sémillon vines. One vine makes the equivalent of only one glass of wine. A bottle starts at 80 euros. The estate is owned by the same family for the past 500 years. It first came into the "Lur" family in 1472, who became "Lur Saluces" in 1586.