“Women from the market” is my second social photography documentary, after my work with the immigrants students of the “Paris Crari” project, 2013/2018.
Always in the spirit of highlighting those we see, without looking at them, I am now interested about market life, and the women who work there, especially.
Whatever the country and the era, the traditional market, where generally finds food, hardware and clothing, is the living heart of a culture.
When I arrived in Thailand, the life of the market and the intensity of its activity immediately immersed me in childhood, when my grandmother was taking me to local markets. The smells, the noises, the colors, everything brought me back to 25 years ago, far from cold supermarkets, with soulless neon lights.
The choice to only photograph women came gradually to small, with my more recent works, in a concern to bring ever more visibility to those who live in the shadow of male hegemony.
This Work in Progress begins in January 2020 in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
During the funerals of my friend’s mother, each morning we went to the market to buy food for the deceased, as tradition dictates. I did not take my camera from the first day, but very quickly I was impressed by the human potential of this place.
One morning my friend expressed his desire to set free a life, for a life lost. A gesture specific to its culture. So, equipped with my camera, I followed him to the market, to buy catfish alive and give them freedom in the river. That day I took some portraits of women working in Chiang Mai Gate Market, a dozen portraits in a first time. Directly inspired by the result, I followed my friend another morning, to Warorot Market this time.
For the first time in my work, I decided to print a selection of thirty portraits without any Photoshop retouching. Seized by the colors, the lights and the expressions of the women I met, I understood that this work will be my next social photography project.
Back in Chiang Mai, early February, I came to meet them with the aim to offer them their printed portrait. Warned by my Thai relatives, I knew that mistrust would accompany this first contact. But quickly, smiles and laughs broke the ice, giving way to a rich cultural exchange, during which they spoke to me about their life and working conditions.