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French wine under threat

The South of France has always been hot in summer. But scientists say that hot is getting hotter, and the effects of a changing climate are starting to be seen in France’s vineyards. What does this mean for the future of French wine? Stern magazine sent me on assignment to various locations in Provence as photographer, with their writer, to find out. While taking portraits and reportage photos for the feature, I learned just how long vines can live, how new grapes might start slipping into famous French cuvées and just how much some people will pay for a bottle of vintage wine. Continue reading…

Part of double-page magazine spread showing grapevines on a vineyard and a panting dog, title text overlaying the photograph

Lavender Production in Provence

Lavender is often seen as the quintessential symbol of Provence. Every summer, visitors flock to the South of France to see lavender fields, generating a thriving tourist trade around them. However there are still hidden areas of Provence where lavender growers are left entirely in peace. Last summer, I was chosen as photographer to join Stern magazine’s writer making a travel reportage about off-the-beaten-track lavender growing in France. The assignment involved excessive heat, mud, espionage, getting lost, getting high and pushing a van. Life as an assignment photographer is rarely dull. Continue reading…

Photograph of a 'plaited lavender bottle' being made by hand

Transhumance: A Story of a Journey

Summer is well under way in the South of France. On the French Riviera, the cool waters of the Mediterranean provide respite from the heat. But, far from the bustle of the Côte d’Azur, sheep farmers have other ways to keep their flocks cool. A few weeks ago, they travelled from farms across Provence to the cool climes and green grass of summer grazing grounds up in the French Alps: an event known as the transhumance. As photographer, I joined a transhumance on foot, in the hills above Nice. This extraordinary ritual journey has changed very little over the last 2000 years and, lulled by the sound of bleating and bells, I felt as though I were stepping back in time. Continue reading…

Photograph of guard dog watching over a flock of sheep

the ‘back country’: a world away from nice

The Côte d’Azur draws thousands of tourists every year to its famous seaside resort towns of Nice, St Tropez or Cannes. However, just a short drive inland, a much emptier South of France awaits. Last summer, the mayor of Gilette, a small hilltop village 30 km from Nice, commissioned me as photographer to make a reportage of the area. It was a quiet, peaceful assignment, despite some waves of vertigo and a face full of mud. Continue reading…

Panoramic photograph of the village of Gilette

french riviera bees relocated for survival

Driving around with a car full of bees isn’t my idea of fun, especially navigating hairpin bends in the snowy mountains high above the French Riviera. But one crisp morning this February, beekeeper Amanda Dowd did exactly this (with me, the photographer, following at a safe distance behind) – for a very good reason.
In the bee world, a modern day Reign of Terror is occurring, led by new arrivals to the Cote d’Azur: Asian hornets. Continue reading…

Photograph of 2 people carrying a beehive out of a car boot

saffron harvest

What flower may be grown and harvested to obtain a product worth more than gold? The saffron crocus, long forgotten in the agricultural traditions of the South of France, is today making a quiet comeback. I popped a macro lens into my photographer’s bag and drove up towards the mountains north of Nice to make a reportage about one organic farmer’s delicate harvest of ‘red gold’. Continue reading…

Close-up photograph of hands separating the stigma from the rest of a pruple saffron crocus