As well as being one of Britain dullest women – Daily Mail, October 2016 – , thanks to my pasion for post-war prefabs, I am also a photographer, a writer, a film and image maker and a museum director!
Photography – www.elisabethblanchet.com –
Photographing people in their everyday life is what I enjoy most. For the last twenty-five years, I have been working on the following long-term documentary projects:
Ceausescu’s Orphans, 25 years on – Diptyques of portraits of children I took in the 90s in Romanian orphanages with portraits of them 25 years later – this project was exhibited several times, in Romania, France and as a solo show at the Institut Culturel Roumain, in Paris in 2012. My work has also partly inspired the documentary by Ursula Wernly, L’Enfant du Diable. –
Gypsies and Travellers in the UK, – a long-term ongoing project (started in 2001) documenting life on Irish Travellers and Romani Gypsies’ sites all over the UK. This project was exhibited at Autograph ABP (London, 2012) and at the Hereford Photography Month (England, 2014). It was also awarded the Prix Virginia Jury’s Choice award in 2016-
Prefabs, – Fascinated and intrigued by the attachment developped by post-war prefabs’ residents to their lovely home, I have been photographing, filming them and recording their memories since 2001. My work has developed into a few solo shows (Photofusion, London, 2013, l’Oeil Urbain, Corbeil-Essonnes, France, 2014) and the creation of a museum, The Prefab Museum, dedicated to prefabs, in 2014, of which I am the co-director.
In 2015, I started another fascinating long-term project, documenting the birth of the new micro-nation, Liberland, at the border of Croatia and Serbia.
As a photographer, I already have a twenty years career behind me, working for many different magazines, papers and publications. The most relevant ones being Time Out London, Time Out Guides, Frommers’, Google, Zagat, The Times Magazine, The Guardian, The Independent, Marie-Claire France and Australia, Causette, l’Agefi, Capital, l’Expansion, Wedemain, Le Soir, Le Vif…
I have also worked for a few charities: Live Music Now, Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity, Handicap International and Ambitious About Autism. For the latter, I have developped projects and workshops with autistic children so they can work on their own photography and film projects. Teaching autistic children was a fascinating experience: the results were amazing and gave us an opportunity to enter their personal worlds, and to them an opportunity to communicate.
Yes, I am a teacher too. Well, I used to, after I studied maths at university and got my CAPES (equivalent to the British PGCE) and became a maths teacher for a few years in the mid-90s before switching to full-time photography and writing…
I love writing… about everything really (with a little preference for prefabs though!). I even became one of Britain experts on post-war prefabs, wrote Prefab Homes for Bloomsbury publishers and I am currently another bible on prefabs for Historic England.
I can write in both French (mother tongue) and English (I lived fifteen years in London, and many long months in Australia ages ago).
In French, I have written dozens of guides about expatriation, living abroad, writing a winning CV in English (published by l’Etudiant, l’Express, Eyrolles). I am also the co-author of Londres à petits prix, published by Lonely Planet.
For the last three years, I have developed a career as a travel writer for Lonely Planet France, Expedia, LM Magazine and several French Travel blogs.
In English, I write about travels, places to discover for Atlas Obscura in the USA and apart from prefabs, I also regularly write about Gypsies & Travellers for Travellers’ Times.
Now mainly based in Marseille, I travel a lot, mainly in the Balkans, in Scandinavia, the UK, Europe, the USA and I write about, and photograph and film the places I go to.
Experimenting with images
Images have always fascinated me since a very young age. I have had a lot of fun creating collages, experimenting with films. A passion which hasn’t left me and which I have turned into fine art projects like the Beach series (overexposed beach images) or From The Ashes and Nostalgia (overlaid images of archive images). Moving images also captivate me. Through my experiments (Palaces For The People, The Sad End Of The Excalibur Estate, Liberland…), I try to find the right balance between documentary and fiction.
I have also been awarded a few prizes for my work (London Acumen First Price for the Prefabs, Photovoice Award for Ceausescu’s Orphans, Prix Virginia Jury’s Choice for the Gypsies and Travellers), but the most important to me, the “über-achievement” is to have made once in my life the Daily Mail’s headlines as one of Britain Dullest Women, and to finally be a calendar girl for 2017, in the Dull Men’s Club calendar!