Someone recently told me that French photography had been in the grip on Henri Cartier Bresson, the instant décisif and the tradition of photojournalism for so long that for a photographer to take up serious large format photography, with it's slower and more more thoughtful approach, was grounds for mockery and possibly professional suicide. I'm certainly glad at least one photographer took up the challenge...
In Claude Pauquet's work I'm struck by how much the French Seaside looks like the English Seaside - both sides of the Channel seem to have much in common. Indeed, for generations there has been a regular too and fro of those who live on the two coastlines, from smugglers, to fisherman to tourists. Caravan sites, seaside cottages, amusement parks and abandoned beach shacks seem to dot the landscape of both regions.
Growing up in Sussex, every few months through the spring and summer we had a French onion seller - his bicycle and trailer festooned with strings of garlic and onions - come door to door. It didn't seem the least bit unusual that he would travel across by ferry and spend a few weeks selling on the English side of the Channel. I feel I could have easily taken many of these photographs along the coasts of Sussex or Dorset or Devon.
"From 2002 to 2006, Claude Pauquet began a trip between the Atlantic coast and the Channel coast, from Hendaye to Bray-Dunes. He was very close to the coasts to take the pictures , travelling from one place to another in order to explore a border-line between the shores and the ocean, between the natural landscapes and the unspecified spaces."
I like the sense and feel these pictures give of these places - which are indeed transition zones in many different ways.