2010 to 2017
In 1963 President de Gaulle initiated a new urban planning project, known as 'La Mission Racine', to develop a stretch of French coastline between Montpellier and Perpignan into a series of resorts. Innovative architects were hired for each town to construct unique and unusual spaces adapted to the local environment. It aimed to turn the area into a holiday destination centered around leisure while offering an alternative source of income locally.
The project has undoubtedly been an economic success, however, La Mission Racine was not only about enriching the region. It included an 18% quota of social housing to allow more French citizens to take advantage of their annual leave (conge pay. There was a determination to provide an alternative to the expensive Cote d'Azur without the excesses of similar developments further south in Spain.
I first visited the area, while living in France, in 2007 and was struck by how different it looked to the picturesque villages often associated with the south of France. From 2010 to 2017, I made regular trips to the seven towns involved documenting how the area looks today, 50 years on. Although some of the original promise has faded and the infrastructure is beginning to show its age, the central values, particularly the idea of offering affordable summer holidays for the average citizen, remain key to how the area is managed.
Fifty High Seasons porte sur la côte maritime se situant entre Montpellier et Perpignan. Dans les années 1960, 'La Mission Racine' a eu pour but le développement de stations balnéaires dans la région : chaque ville a ainsi construit des espaces adaptés à la nature de son environnement. Le but était de créer une nouvelle source de revenus pour la région Languedoc-Roussilon en développant le tourisme. Le projet avait également une vocation sociale : permettre aux personnes qui n’avaient pas les moyens de se rendre sur la Côte d’Azur de profiter d’une station balnéaire.
Bien que l’idée originale soit un peu fanée et que l’infrastructure ne parvient pas à cacher son âge, l’idée maîtresse, à savoir celle d’offrir des vacances d’été abordables à un public plus populaire, reste au cœur de la gestion des lieux actuels. En outre, Fifty High Seasons dévoile la forte relation personnelle qui me lie à ses lieux depuis 2005. J’y passe la plupart de mes vacances, je fais désormais partie du paysage moi-même.
This is a story about a circular land, a 250-metre wide strip that curls around Paris.
Contours tries to break the pattern of sensationalist journalism often used to depict the 'banlieue' of Paris. Drawing on the sense of socio-political hope that was present in the area from the 1920s and which ended with the building of the 'périphérique' motorway in 1958, I am seeking to recreate a fictional green belt around the city. By looking at how a selection of 'natural' spaces are used, I am trying to figure out what remains of the original vision and suggest how the area might look today if things had played out differently. However, the reality is never far from sight.
I took the majority of these photos while living in Paris between 2007 and 2012 . What began as a nagging sense of curiosity, grew into an affinity with the landscape and an urge to tell a story, which would go beyond the stereotypes sometimes associated with the territory.
Ten years in September. Breakfast is the best meal of the day. It was meant to be about the landscape. Trips are the lifeblood. I can't imagine us living here. It's like time is suspended.
n 21 June 1798 over 15,000 British soldiers launched an attack on Vinegar Hill, just outside the town of Enniscorthy. The battle is part of one of the most significant events in Ireland’s history – the 1798 Rebellion. It marked a turning point in the rebellion, as it was the last attempt by the rebels to hold and defend ground against the British military.
In August 2014 I photographed the annual re-enactment of the battle. I was interested in the idea of a village spectacle which brings the current inhabitants face to face with the narrative of their past but also the geographic relationship between the town and the nearby hill.
This story is part of a larger ongoing body of work looking at customs and spectacle in Ireland.
Documentary and commercial photographer based in Dublin.
Examples of magazine stories shot over the last few years.
Clients include: The New York Times Magazine, The Financial Times Magazine, The Guardian, Business Week Magazine, Fortune Magazine, Society Magazine, Forbes Magazine and Cara Magazine.