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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

Reims: the curious tale of a cathedral

My life as a photographer in the South of France is a varied one. I photograph portraits and reportages, and my subjects range from businessmen to artisans, fine food to villas. But flying up to the north of France to spend two days photographing a cathedral last autumn was a first. Notre Dame de Reims, 90 miles east of Paris, is a fascinating subject, rich with scars and stories. During my trip away from the French Riviera, I managed to borrow a bike from a total stranger, disobey a clergyman and have an existential discussion with a man armed with a machine gun: all in order to better photograph the cathedral. Continue reading…

Photograph of Reims Cathedral by day

Art in Nice: Ben, Blues and a Repurposed Abattoir

Art has long enriched the image of the South of France (photographers may be as inspired by the light and colours of Provence as painters) but does a contemporary art scene thrive here today? Or, with so many of its art museums devoted to past masters such as Renoir, Picasso and Matisse, does the French Riviera rest on its laurels? Stern recently came to write a travel feature on art in Nice. The artworks that I saw and people that I photographed during two days in Nice with the writer were all a far cry from the painters normally associated with Provence. Continue reading…

Photograph of an old TV in a garden with 'Faux' ['False'] painted on the screen

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

Grasse: the mysterious world of perfume

Since the 17th century, the French Riviera town of Grasse has proclaimed itself to be the world’s perfume capital. But does Grasse still carry weight in the international perfume industry? This summer, the editor of ‘N’ (Norwegian Air’s in-flight magazine) flew down to the South of France, photographer -me- at the ready, to investigate. Continue reading…

Portrait of perfumer Didier Gaglewski looking up towards the light

Monte Carlo or Bust

Princess Grace’s book collection; affordable restaurants; coastal footpaths and a very deep hole in the ground: there’s a lot more to Monaco than meets the eye. This also means there is a lot for a photographer to shoot on assignment to illustrate ’36 Hours in Monaco’. I covered a lot of ground during a weekend in this little seaside state that is quite unlike the rest of the South of France. Continue reading…

Girl in red dress looks out over Monaco from Le Jardin Exotique