The South of France is one of the most appreciated destination for holidays. The two main reasons are the sun and the warm water of Mediterranean Sea. During summertime, many people have their own habits and frequently come, year after year, at the same place, where they meet the same people who are some kind of summer friends. For a week, a month, or all along the summer holidays, all those people share a way of life mainly organised around the principal activity : farniente (which means doing nothing).
Piéamnson tells us this story. Vasantha, a few years ago, wanted to escape from the crowded town of Arles during the photo festival and went down to the South, at the end of the road, facing the sea at Piémanson Beach. There he met the community living on the beach and spent some time with them. This was the beginning of what will become this beautiful project. Year after year, Vasantha came back to the beach and was introduced and accepted by the community. He shared a few summers with all of them, gaining them respect.
Piémanson is a fantastic book which allows us to enter the community. All the photographs show the ambiance, small intimacy moments and many outdoor activities. We discover the ingenuity of built extensions with pieces of wood or plastic, home-made BBQ, flags indicating nationalities, kids playing with cats and dogs ; and overall a great respect between everybody. It is not an official camping site, but an allowed occupation of a wild beach, and therefore everyone works for the place to remain without troubles. It is a very rare case of such an allowance and I am not sure it will last any longer now.
There are very few pictures of inside of caravans, just because in summertime, people live outside ; they just go inside to go to sleep. Vasantha avoided the clichés, people are shown during moments « in-between », there is no chronology, just some souvenirs of good time with friends, relaxing, entertaining, cooking… The photographs are slightly overexposed which emphasizes the summer sun and its burning light.
Piémanson is the first book published in 2014 by the young publishing house : Chose Commune. Hardcover, 23 x 28 cm, 80 pages, 35 printed color photos and one pasted at the end, covering the book number. Printed in an edition of 650, with an essay by Rémi Coignet. The trade edition is already sold out from the publisher but can maybe be found in some bookstores.
Well it is raining actually in France… So let’s go to the beach !
Info on the publisher : http://www.chosecommune.com/livres/piemanson/
Info on Vasantha Yogananthan : http://www.vasantha.fr/
All images copyright Vasantha Yogananthan and Chose Commune.