“Far from the usual tourist route, the photographer Yoann Cimier explores an unexpected side of Tunisia, looking at the country at its most humble yet hedonistic, most festive yet sad, fragile but full of assurance. This is a deep look at Tunisia, like gazing into paradise without any false pretense.”
—Hichem Ben Ammar, excerpt from the preface.
This first photobook by the accomplished French photographer turned Tunisian resident Yoann Cimier examines life, in the heart of summer, on the public beaches of Cimier’s adopted home.
Fascinated by the ephemeral constructions that Tunisians create whenever they visit the seaside, these photographs are a methodical collection in the field of “nomadic architecture.” For Cimier, this is not an innocuous phenomenon: each element and improvisation is revealing of how the local population takes possession of the environment around them. Hidden in these curious tents and informal structures lies a glimpse into the very dynamics of Tunisian society.
What engages the viewer in these constructs is their multiplicity and diversity of forms. A plasticity and inventiveness transforms what could be mere simple shelters into recreational and expressive forms. Out of natural space, human order is established—yet in the most seemingly haphazard of ways.
Ultimately, this is a poetic vision of Tunisia, hinting at the country’s many tensions, both productive and destructive. By utilizing the cool documentary language of photography—yet subverting the expected and traditional representations—we are faced with evocative and suggestive tableaus of a changing country, on the move.
Bilingual edition, French and English
Lalla Hadria Editions
Editors’ note: We discovered this photographer and his work at the excellent Circulation(s) Festival. Six years old and going strong, Circulation(s) is a Paris-based festival that showcases young and emerging photographic talents from across Europe. The exhibition will be showing at the 104 in Paris until June 26, 2016.