The Age of Absence


Maryse, 83, lives in Sarcelles, a marginalized suburban city in the north of Paris. In August 2017, Michel, her husband passed away. Since then, I have been living with her as tenant documenting her quotidian.

Most of the time Maryse stays at home. She mourns while emptying the apartment from a variety of objects. When I'm with her, we spent most of our time talking. We replaced our respective solitude within stories and photographs, while we shared our lives and dreams by just living together. This story is about absence, life, love and friendship. It documents an erratic experience of being alone but also the alchemy of an unpredicted encounter.

The Rugbywomen


Training day in Chantereine under the snow. In the background, the social housing buildings of Sarcelles. 

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Koumba, 16, is one of the best players of Chantereine High School.  She lives in a social housing tower in Sarcelles. This city has the biggest social housing density of the country. View from Koumba’s apartment.


Koumba, 16, is one of the best players of Chantereine High School. She lives in a social housing tower in Sarcelles. 

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The Rugbywomen: Tackling Stereotypes


In January 2017 I started following a group of rugbywomen from the Chantereine High School of Sarcelles, a marginalized “banlieue” in the north of Paris. “Banlieue” is a French word to designate a suburb. It is composed by the words -lieu (place) and ban- (external). Somehow the banlieues are the banned places, often socially and politically dismissed by the State. Sarcelles is one of the most impoverished city of the country and a significant part of its population has an immigrant background.

Last year the Chantereine club was one of the best newcomer teams of the country. This was in part due to a collective effort between a young group of rugby players and their coach Florian Clement, who started a project called “20 rugbywomen sarcelloises” in 2015. The main objective was to use rugby as a way to limit the school dropout and to promote citizenship values. In fact, Sarcelles has one of the highest school dropout rates of the country. By virtue of this project and to the values promoted by rugby - empowerment, discipline, teamwork – the rugby girls were motivated to obtain their “brevet” (high school diploma) and at the end of the year all of them achieved it. In addition, four of them had been selected to join professional rugby clubs in Montpellier, Perpignan and Bretigny. They will continue their schooling in these professional training centers for the next 3 years.

For these young women, rugby is an empowering medium to overcome difficulties and gain confidence. It is also a tool to reverse gender, social and racial stereotypes, and to change the image of young women living in French suburbs.

In spite of the image of being a "rude sport", rugby promotes values such as teamwork, respect, discipline, humility and solidarity. In addition, 

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Rugby is often considered as a “sport for men”. The rugbywomen endorse a double bias: society and family stereotypes. Some of the parents don't encourage the rugbywomen as they consider rugby as a rude sport only for men.

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In Chantereine 86% of the students come from low-income families. They have been training together since 2014. In 2016 they were the best newcomer team of France (4th). In this picture, they prepare a travel to UK on May 2017.


In the Chantereine High School 86% of the students come from low-income families. They have been training together since 2014. In 2016 they were the best newcomer team of France (4th). In this picture, they prepare a travel to UK on May 2017.

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Koumba cries after receiving an excellent news from his coach Florian: she has been accepted at the USAP, a specialized rugby training center based in Perpignan. Before Koumba joined Chantereine she risked of being expelled from the school for bad behavior. 

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Abdel waters the various vegetables in the garden of the Engraineurs

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Les Engraineurs

Gardening in the Parisian Suburbs


In May 2016 I met Manu, inhabitant of Sarcelles at the origin of "Les Engraineurs". With his wife they embarked on an unusual adventure in this suburban low-income city located in the north of Paris. They created a urban garden in the middle of the HLM (social housing buildings). With the support of some neighbors, they built the first gardens. In Sarcelles, the biggest "social-housing city" of France, people don't have the opportunity to met each other because there is no collective spaces to socialize. Soon, the Engraineurs started making regular meetings in order to create new links between the neighbors. If gardening was the primary goal, the experience also allowed them to create new friendships and promote new social networks based on gardening. Thanks to these meetings, Les Engraineurs where able to set up cultural activities within this new space. Between January and July, they organized parties and screening in the open air. At the last event, more than 200 neighbors gathered to screen a film about urban agriculture in the United States. Gardening is a way of being committed with the environment and their own community. It is also a tool of resilience in order to overcome the negative stereotypes conveyed by local media related to Sarcelles.

Children are the ones who benefit the most from the Engraineurs meetings. Neighborhood party.

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The Engraineurs organize between neighbors to regularly cultivate the garden.

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In the "concrete jungle", gardening is a way to promote short organic farming circuits. In this photo, David and Fatima two "Engraineurs".

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Portraits de

 

l'Euro dans le quartier


Ce projet, réalisé en partenariat avec Urban Street Reporters, un groupe de jeunes journalistes citoyen-ne-s installés à Garges-les-Gonesses. Il s'est déroulé en juin 2016 lors de l'Euro de football qui a eu lieu en France. Ils m'ont invité pour faire des images de "L'Euro dans le quartier". Dans ce projet on a fait une série d'images pour présenter la façon dont le football se vie dans le quartier. Etant celui-ci ancré dans la vie de certains habitant-e-s, "la fiesta del fútbol" occupe une place particulière dans la vie du quartier. Le sport est un vecteur de valeurs et de socialisation urbaine dans le quartier .

The Rugbywomen

 
Colombia

Rugby is a sport that has been recently introduced in Colombia. Between June and August 2017, I followed a group of young women from the Minotauros Rugby Team, one of the most important rugby clubs of Bogotá. The main purpose was to understand the way they experienced this sport in their daily life. During two months, I explored the “rugby community” of Bogotá. By doing so, I discovered the impact of rugby in their everyday life. Teamwork, respect, enjoyment, self-confidence and discipline are some of the values endorsed by these young women. These photographs explore the relationship between gender, daily life and sports.

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