The Hunters-Lost in time
I’m interested in distorsions of time, when today looks like a faraway yesterday or a futuristic tomorrow.
«The Hunters, Lost in time» series is about hunting with hounds whose attire, etiquette and rules are based on traditions that go back hundreds of years.
In France the tradition is alive and well, with 400 French «equipages», 10 000 members and 100 000 followers.
At a time when the killing of animals has become a taboo, hunting is socially less tolerated.
Despite the fact that this type of hunting kills by 50 times less than shooting and that the animal eludes the pack more than one time out of two, hunting with hounds has focused the attention of the activists groups and media.
May be because, in France as elsewhere, hunting with hounds is widely perceived as an aristocratic, anachronic pursuit.
It used to be a favourite royal pastime, abolished by the Revolution in 1789.
Now the practice is regulated by the government institutions according to sustainable development and is socially mixed.
Still, this evolution remains invisible, hidden by the fact that hunts with hounds are extremely ritualised.
Full regalia for the staff and field, sociability codes marked by great courtesy ,
a particular language, using ancestral terms, incomprehensible to the profane make this activity highly visible.
During two hunting seasons, I followed an Equipage in the center of France.
The series, candid shots taken in 2017 and 2018, sends us back in time.
The riders, the pack of hounds, the grounds seemingly unchanged and familiar to the 19th century prints.
And from the immersion in the forests, sight and hearing sharpened, grows a feeling of symbiosis with nature where humans, animals leave their discrete but inevitable prints.