57357d969f5e6274e1507e819246de8c original
by Mélanie Wenger
« Come inside to check out my dolls ! », I met Marie-Claude in a dead end of a countryside road in the Monts d'Arrée of Brittany, France, in April 2014. In her home filled with mountains of junk I discovered a world I will never leave. It haunts me and fills me with joy at the same time. This old lady of 75 years old, an old woodcutter, ficherwoman and seamstress, endearing and scaring at the same time, that I am discovering is touching me, waking parts of me, looks a little bit alike my mother sometimes and a lot like me.

At 18, she marries Albert, 17 years older than her. She moves to a small village, 2 kilometers away, in a small house in the woods, with his mother, where she still lives. He beats her, keeps her inside, deprives her from any contact with the world for 30 years including her family. When he dies, in 1999, she finds herself alone with a very tiny 600 euros retirement pay, in a little house with no friends and no family. Marie-Claude keeps some traumas of this life. She accumulates things compulsively, feels a lot lonely, looses her mind, her memory and has a very strong temper. No children, no family, no travels, no car.

For more than three years, I have photographed her. Visiting every other month, for one or two weeks, sometimes three. This is our story. About this slice of old age, a woman's fight against solitude and now dementia, eating her, slowly. A fight between shaddows and light until the end, before darkness takes it all...
ISBN: 978-2-330-07744-0
Publisher: Actes Sud

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