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 The Prefab Museum founder.
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 30 years after: Diptychs of portraits of children I took in the 90s in Romanian orphanages with portraits of them 30 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: 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), at the Hereford Photography Month (England, 2014) and at Latcho Divano, Gypsy cultures festival in Marseille in 2017. It was also awarded the Prix Virginia Jury’s Choice award in 2016 and shortlisted at Athens Photo Festival in 2017. In 2017, I got a grant from the CNAP (Centre National des Arts Plastiques) in Paris to pursue my documenting work with Irish Travellers in the USA.
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 was the co-director till February 2018. I am now continuing my work on prefabs in France.
Liberland: In 2015, I started with journalist and photographer Agnès Villette another fascinating long-term project, documenting the birth of the new micro-nation, Liberland, at the border of Croatia and Serbia.
We Need To Talk About The Border: With author and photographer Laurent Gontier, we embarked on a new project in July 2018 about the Irish border and the Brexit consequences on it. We got the SCAM (Société Civile des Artistes Multimédia) Brouillon d'Un Rêve prestigious grant in June 2018 to start our project.
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 have just co-signed another bible on prefabs for Historic England, Prefabs: A Social and Architectural History.
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 four years, I have developed a career as a travel writer for Lonely Planet France, Expedia, LM Magazine and several French Travel blogs and agencies. And that's what makes me live!
In English, I write about travel destinations for The Telegraph and Time Out, and apart from prefabs, I also regularly write about Gypsies & Travellers for Travellers’ Times.
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!