Rabatteur, Chateau d'eau
The idea of taking photos of the Chateau d’eau Station “beaters” in Paris came to me first because of the ambiance pervading this particular borough, and because of how curious I felt about this area the first time, quite by chance, I ended up that way. This project is, primarily, about the mood of the place, about the way light exudes from all the shops and the crowds. It is also about the illegal Ivoirian immigrants working for peanuts trying to hook the punters into getting their hair cut at the hair salon they “beat” for.
Dark skin was a pretext to experimenting with lighting in a more precise way than usual: in the nighttimes, it sports more reflections, and therefore is more challenging to work with than in my Stranger Project, done by day. There, I would spend up to five minutes simply to place my model precisely, according to the neon lighting coming off the shop windows. So precisely in fact, that I would allow myself to actually touch my models, to move their heads a few millimetres this way and that, to get into their personal space. This project was also an excuse to test the frontiers between myself and my models, who were complete strangers to me.