At the arrival of the low season on the Brittany coast, the seaside resorts empty and become vast desert areas for the rest of the year. Sand castles collapse as tourists leave.
The winter truce is announced by the closing of the shops. The trample stops on the alleys’ pavement and the heckling of the children gives way to the beating of the waves on the shore. Time slows down, the days become milder and the dampness settles gradually. The houses close their eyelids and fall deeply asleep.
I scan these sleepy houses, listen to them breathe slowly: each one seems to have a story to tell.
With rates of second homes ranging from 50% to 80% (source: INSEE), these seaside towns have become ghost towns. The population living there throughout the year is decreasing day by day as its average age is increasing. Young people who wish to settle in the region rather move towards financially more affordable cities to live in that are more dynamic throughout the year.
The economy, which is almost exclusively oriented towards summer tourism, triggers serious problems which have a profound effect on the territory; job insecurity, real estate speculation and the artificialization of the coast are the main ones. These sudden changes are modifying the status of Breton coastal towns and alter its historical identity.
The obstructed windows deprive us of the interior, thus relegating the houses to their only exterior; a frontage that is sometimes colored, blistered, scratched… Once closed in on themselves, the houses take on sculptural appearance.
In a methodical way, I carry out this inventory by imposing certain constraints on my work, which are:
– to photograph the houses in their entirety with a 50mm lens as they must be contained in a specific frame;
– to move as much as possible on foot in cities with secondary residence rates of more than 50%;
-and to carry out this project in the middle of the week and in grey weather; the cloudy sky gives homogeneity to the volumes and has the advantage of dissuading the year-round inhabitants from leaving their homes.
At the moment and after a year and a half of work, the collection includes 80 photographs. It focuses on 10 seaside resorts, but I still have many sleepy houses to meet.
Born in 1993, i live in Rennes, France. Most of my projects concerns the Brittany territory.
Through photography, editorial design and video, I try to offer another look at various architectural forms, whether in an urban or rural landscape. I focus my research on uninhabited or uninhabitable territories and try to reveal their specificities. I tend to prefer to talk about man and his impact on the environment through the traces he leaves behind.
I surveyed industrial areas at weekends, seaside resorts in low season, vacant lots on the outskirts of towns, foggy countryside…
In 2017, I founded the Infuz Collective alongside Guillaume Le Borgne and Sylvain Lorain. Together, we create often immersive installations. Using simple materials, we propose intimate atmospheres and poetic images inspired by the everyday life. The incitement to movement and interaction allows us to involve the spectator by inviting him to develop his own imagination.
© text and pictures by Maxime Voidy