Edition 2023

Yohanne Lamoulère

The River's children

A portion of the photographs in the exhibition The River’s Children [Les enfants du fleuve] came from a large commission by the Ministry of Culture for photojournalists, run by the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. The starting point for the project was the discovery of an island in the Rhône Delta, in the Camargue. After spending several months there, in 2020 Marseille photographer Yohanne Lamoulère led workshops in Port-Saint-Louis du Rhône and Marseille about the subjective idea of insularity and then decided to build a boat from salvaged materials: Anita was the product of a chance encounter between an abandoned barge and a caravan. She sailed in stages, against the current, from the Mediterranean to the Rhône Glacier, documenting and telling the story of an 812-kilometer-long territory accounting for 17% of the surface area of metropolitan France.

To her roll of film, the photographer brings a gallery of portraits where we meet a host of popular, poetic, and wonderful characters, in keeping with the spirit of the utopian watercraft. The Rhône–with a government-recognized level of water pollution–is shown here as docile, fragile, impassive, and whimsical. In the words of the photographer: “the work considers the most incongruous aspects of the Rhône, the way we’ve learned to cross it, moor, sleep and live on its water. Observing and resisting in a boat traveling upstream, battling the current, is a story already under pressure, and this state of being fully animates the project”.

This project is the result of a major photographic commission from the Ministry of Culture, led by the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

  • Institutional partners

    • République Française
    • Région Provence Alpes Côté d'Azur
    • Département des Bouches du Rhône
    • Arles
    • Le Centre des monuments nationaux est heureux de soutenir les Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles en accueillant des expositions dans l’abbaye de Montmajour
  • Main partners

    • Fondation LUMA
    • BMW
    • SNCF
    • Kering
  • Media partners

    • Arte
    • Lci
    • Konbini
    • Le Point
    • Madame Figaro
    • France Culture