(Veuillez trouver la version Française en bas)
Final week target: €15,000.
Massive thank you to everyone who has backed or shared the project so far. The new budget will make it possible to increase the print run to 800 and allow me to spend more on design, paper stock and print quality. Every new order brings me closer to making the best possible version of the book I have in mind.
Fifty High Seasons is the culmination of seven years of work. Below you will find some background to the project, details about the photobook and an interview with Christiane Monarchi from last year.
In 1963 President de Gaulle initiated a new urban planning project, known as 'La Mission Racine'. The plan was set up to develop a stretch of French coastline between Montpelier and Perpignan into a series of coastal resorts. Ahead of its time, leading modernist architects were hired for each town to construct unique and unusual spaces adapted to the local environment. It aimed to turn the area into a holiday destination centred around leisure and recreation while offering a new source of income locally.
La Mission Racine included an 18% quota of social housing to allow more French citizens to take advantage of their ‘congé payé' (paid holidays). There was a determination to provide an alternative to the expensive Cote d'Azur without the excesses of similar developments further south in Spain.
I found myself in the area for the first time in 2005 and I was struck by how different it looked to the picturesque villages often associated with the south of France. From 2010 to 2016, I made regular trips to the seven towns involved, documenting how the area looks today, 50 years on. Although some of the original promise has faded and the infrastructure is beginning to show its age, the central values, particularly the idea of offering affordable summer holidays for the masses, remain key to how the area is managed today. In addition to that, Fifty High Seasons is also about the strong personal connection I've formed with the place over the years. Since 2005 I have been spending most of my holidays here; I too am part of the history of this landscape.
From early on, I have seen Fifty High Seasons as a book project. Over the last few months I have been figuring out its layout, design and sequencing with a working mock-up.
The final version will include some rare archival imagery of the early years of the plan as well as photos that I have never shown before. This campaign aims to raise funds to cover the production costs(design, printing, packaging) and the costs of shipping the book. After shooting and researching the work for seven years, the project is 90% complete. The last 10% involves the publishing and distribution of the photobook which requires a considerable amount of money up front. In order to manage this process over the summer, I want to sell a large percentage of the books in advance.
The book will run to 116 pages and include over 50 colour photographs. The dimensions will be 31.0 cm x 34.5 cm It will be a softcover with exposed Swiss binding.
As the campaign progresses over the month, I will post more details about the book. The cost of production is currently estimated at around €12,000, incuding Kickstarter and Payment processing fees. Anything over €10,000 will allow me to increase the print run and reach a wider audience.
Press and Awards.
Fifty High Seasons won the Gallery of Photography’s Solas Ireland award in 2015. The project was also part of Circulations Festival in Paris in March 2016. Images from Fifty High Seasons were selected for the Renaissance finalists show in 2014 and 2015 as well as the last two Royal Hibernian Academy’s summer shows. Fifty High Season has been featured in the following online and offline publications:
The British Journal of Photography
The Huffington Post
This is Paper
Ain’t Bad Magazine
On the right, you will find a series of reward levels. Please let me know if you have any questions about any of these.
Premier livre de photographies de Shane Lynam s’intéressant aux lieux de villégiature incongrus et inhabituels dans le Languedoc, en France méridionale.
A propos de ce projet
Fifty High Seasons est l’aboutissement de sept années de travail. Vous trouverez ici des précisions sur le contexte de ce projet, ainsi que des informations sur la livre
En 1963, le Président de Gaulle lança un nouveau projet urbain, dénommé la « Mission Racine ». L’idée était de créer un bandeau de sites touristiques et hôteliers le long de la côte entre Montpelier et Perpignan. En avance sur son temps, il fit appel à des architectes modernistes de renom pour chacun de ces lieux, dans le but d’édifier des espaces uniques et originaux, adaptés à l’environnement local. Il souhaitait transformer cette région en une nouvelle destination touristique centrée sur les loisirs permettant au passage le développement économique de la région.
La Mission Racine incluait un quota de 18% de logements sociaux afin de permettre à un plus grand nombre de citoyens de bénéficier de leurs congés payés. C’était une décision politique d’aménagement du territoire, afin d’offrir une alternative à la Côte d’Azur inabordable pour beaucoup, tout en évitant les excès de projets équivalents sur le littoral espagnol.
J’ai découvert ces nouveaux lieux en 2005 et je fus frappé par le contraste qu’ils offraient comparés aux villages pittoresques du sud de la France, tels qu’on se les imagine. De 2010 à 2016 j’ai effectué plusieurs voyages vers les sept villes nouvelles en question, photographiant les lieux tels qu’ils se présentent 50 ans après leur création. Bien que l’idée originale soit un peu fanée et que l’infrastructure ne parvient pas à cacher son âge, l’idée maîtresse, à savoir celle d’offrir des vacances d’été abordables à un public plus populaire, reste au cœur de la gestion des lieux actuels. En outre, Fifty High Seasons dévoile la forte relation personnelle qui me lie à ses lieux depuis 2005. J’y passe la plupart de mes vacances, je fais désormais partie du paysage moi-même.
Dès le début j’ai conçu Fifty High Seasons comme un projet livre. Au cours de ces derniers mois, j’ai conçu son design, son apparence, l’agencement de ses pages à partir d’une version de travail.
La version finale inclura des images d’archives rares, datant des toutes premières années, ainsi que des photos que je n’ai encore jamais exposées. Cette campagne vise à lever des fonds pour couvrir les coûts de production et d’envoi de cet ouvrage. Après avoir photographié et développé mon projet pendant sept années, il est achevé à 90%. Les 10% qui restent consistent en la publication et la distribution de l’album qui nécessitent un investissement considérable. Afin d’y parvenir au cours de cet été, j’espère vendre une importante quantité d’albums en prévente.
Le livre comporte 120 pages et 50 photos couleur. Ses dimensions sont de 31 cm de large sur 34,5 de hauteur. La couverture est souple, avec reliure suisse apparente.
Au fur et à mesure que la levée de fonds progressera au fil des mois, je communiquerai davantage de détails sur l’album. Les coûts de production sont estimés à 12,000 €, incluant l’envoi, l’emballage, la conception graphique, Kickstarter et les frais administratifs Au-delà de 10,000 €, cela permettra d’augmenter le tirage et d’atteindre une audience plus large.
Presse et distinctions
Fifty High Seasons a gagné le prix Gallery of Photography’s Solas Ireland en 2015. Le projet fut également sélectionné au Festival Circulations à Paris en mars 2016. Des photos de Fifty High Seasons ont été choisies pour l‘exposition Renaissance en 2014 et 2015, ainsi qu’aux deux dernières expositions d’été de Royal Hibernian Academy. Fifty High Seasons a été mentionné dans les publications suivantes :
The Guardian Der Spiegel The British Journal of Photography Selektor Magazine Libération Lensculture This is Paper Booooooom Ain’t Bad The Huffington Post ID Magazine Paper Journal Photomonitor JOIA Magazine R
A droite vous trouverez une série de niveaux de récompenses. Merci de me faire savoir si vous avez la moindre question à leur sujet.
Risques et défis
Les risques sont très limités dès lors que l’objectif de levée de fonds sera atteint : retards possibles de l’impression pendant l’été, mais de très courte durée.
Shane Lynam interviewed by Christian Monarchi for Photomonitor in February 2016.
Christiane Monarchi: These recent images you’ve made for your Fifty High Seasons series, do they continue the investigation into the same place along the French coast you’ve explored over the past five years? What initially drew you to the area and invited you to begin this project?
Shane Lynam: I first visited the area in 2003 after my family bought an apartment in one of the towns. I remember thinking how little it resembled the stereotypical ‘picture postcard’ French coastal village. I took a few photos during those early trips, but not in a purposeful way. In 2005 I spent a week there by myself, after a break up. I remember cycling up and down the coast exploring the various villages.
It was not until my photography became more focused and I started working on my first project – Contours – that I began to think about making work there. The first significant photo that I took was of the ‘terrain vague’ between two of the towns. There’s a car park that doubles up as a caravan site area for the fairground workers in the summer. The pink and yellow tones of the tarmac and pylons lit by the soft hazy light struck a chord with me. This photo, along with a few that I took of the waterpark, was the starting point for the project.
From there I became interested in the area between the beach and the holiday villages, a buffer zone between the formality of everyday dressed living and the ‘anything goes’ informality of beach culture. These shots act as portraits and allow me to say something about the people there while avoiding the artificial aspect of a posed portrait. I began to research the history of the area, which led me to ‘La Mission Racine’ – a grand project initiated by President de Gaulle to tame and develop the wild and notoriously windy strip of coastline between Montpellier and Perpignan. It aimed to create a tourist destination centered around leisure, while offering an alternative source of income for the region. This spurred me on to visit and gradually shoot the other seven towns that were built as part of the project.
The recent images were shot over two trips during the summer of 2015. The first visit was in July at the height of the season and the second in September while things were winding down. The edit has gone through several transitions since I started working on it in 2011. By last summer I felt that I had the outline of the project photographed; with the recent images, I am trying to fill in the details and focus on certain aspects that have come to the fore. For example, I wanted to include more images of the residential accommodation, particularly the ‘pavillon’ housing facing the lagoon behind the villages. During my second visit I took a lot of family photos inside their apartment and around the area. I realised I’d been ignoring this autobiographical element. The truth is that after twelve years of regular visits, I too am part of this landscape and it would be difficult to ignore this. It’s unclear at this stage if any of these photos will fit into the final edit, although my parents do feature in one of the new images.
CM: One feels a sense of benign abandonment, looking at some of the newest images, of nature taking back the parking lots and waterparks after fifty years, shuttered buildings passed by tourists en route to the beach. One also feels a stagnation of economic prospects, with lack of trade in the shuttered shop and apartment windows, unfinished breezeblock cottages. Or is it a long nap? What does the area feel like economically in its high season?
SL: Having lived in France on and off for over eight years I feel that I have some degree of understanding of French society. The holidaymakers that come to this region during July and August have always struck me as representing a good cross section of the French population. These resorts were originally designed to ensure French families could take full advantage of their paid holidays – a symbolically important part of French culture – without having to travel on south towards Spain or Italy. Fifty years later, one feels that the towns continue to meet the demands of holidaymakers and recently there has been a push to modernise the area. However, there’s also a sense that the infrastructure is beginning to show its age. This is probably part of a more general trend in France; when one moves away from the big cities, there’s a sense that some of the urban planning innovation – which France was known for in the 60s and 70s – is beginning to look a little tired and in need of investment.
The summer is characterised by a series of festivals and events that are set up on the wastelands outside the villages. In 2013, the first annual Electrobeach festival took place in the area. Billed as the largest dance event in Europe, it has brought in plenty of revenue for local businesses. For one weekend a year, the predominantly elderly population is outnumbered by youngsters looking to party. I try to be present for the music festival every year as this is when the town is at its busiest. These short-term attractions reinforce the temporary feeling throughout the area. A sense that nature could reclaim the land at any minute.
CM: In your latest images I notice a less central focus on man-made monstrosities such as shockingly pastel roller coasters and plastic coconut trees from past years, to favour the flash of a brightly striped wall, a terracotta-red summer cottage in siesta, and my personal favourite, the shed expertly painted to look like a floating island, to merge ‘unseen’ into the landscape. These bits have not faded at all, in fact they also look timeless. Does it feel like 2015 there?
SL: The brightly striped wall and the floating island mural were painted over the winter and represent recent attempts to cover over the cracks. The advantage of shooting a place for a substantial period of time is that, although I started by documenting the effects of 50 years of tourism on the area, I am also seeing changes that have taken place since I began the project. When I started out I was particularly drawn to the retired rollercoasters and stark wastelands outside the town, however as I read more about its history I realised that I wanted to show other aspects related to the infrastructure and the local population. The change in focus might also be an indication of how my own style of photography has evolved in recent years.
CM: You’ve mentioned that one of the towns sees its population spike to 80,000 in peak time from 4,000 off-peak. In your images, a few people are busy finding the best sun across a dune, on a disjointed roof terrace or idling in a bleached out alleyway. But it feels local, not ‘package tourist’ on parade. There is no sign of Peter Dench’s Magaluf?
SL: Although the scale of the tourism is unlike anything that might be found in Ireland for example, it’s nowhere near the level of the infamous Spanish resorts. Development was less commercial here and focused around leisure activities. Ever since the conception of ‘La Mission Racine’, there’s been an emphasis on respecting the local environment by, for example, protecting pockets of green on the outskirts of the towns. Although there’s a significant German and Belgian presence, the majority of the residents and the tourists are either young French families or retirees. The family atmosphere puts off the younger population, except during the weekend of ‘Electrobeach’. Although the villages have lost some of their shine, there’s an undeniable charm to them. I am trying to paint a balanced picture, which captures both of these elements, and show what makes the place so particular.
CM: In your most recent images from September, I am basking in the eternal afternoon, relaxing amidst the welcome emptiness of patios and touristic side streets, and the occasional overgrown lot offers up enigmatic constructions and brightly coloured tubing that hint at a possible past-future of this place. The tourists have gone home, perhaps now it’s only the locals. But time looks to be at a standstill, in quite a magical hour. Is this project finished for you now?
SL: The visitors to the towns during the high season are divided between the young French families, who holiday in July and August, and the residence owners who take their holidays in June and September. The place feels very different during these two periods.
Once September kicks in, there’s an exodus of families heading north to get their children back in time for the new school term. The locals and older holidaymakers remain. The beaches are quieter and the pace is much slower. As a thirty-something I feel out of place at times, like an adult might feel at an underage disco.
I can’t really say if the project is finished. I feel like I have plenty of material and that this will give me options when I get to the editing stage. However, I suspect that I’ll still be shooting there as long as I continue to visit, whether I publish a book or not.
The reasons for making work are never clear cut and often a combination of circumstances. Since I first started coming here, I’ve had a compulsion to photograph the surfaces of the surroundings that I’ve never really experienced anywhere else. This initial superficial pull led me to dig deeper and build a narrative around the history of the area. As I move forward looking for new ideas that I’d like to explore, I am beginning to realise how important this initial draw is in terms of eventually going on to make a larger body of work.
Risks and challenges
Very few risks once the project is funded other than the possibility that there will be minor delays with printing over the summer.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (35 days)