British photographer shares the frame in multicultural French suburb

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Issuance:

Photographer Lip Hopkins steps into a series of portrait frames in the working-class town of Corbeil-Essonne, wearing locals’ clothes and uniforms and encouraging them to share the cultural limelight for change. I did.

Hopkins is one of the 12 photographers on display at the annual grassroots “L’Oeil Urbain” festival in the working class of the multicultural town of Corbeil-Essonne, 30 km south of Paris. is.

In this tenth edition, entitled “Odyssey 2022” (Odyssey), he of the festival’s “commitment” by meeting the public at work and leisure places to emphasize community and sense of belonging. I chose to explain the theme.

Hopkins mixed with police officers, soccer players, priests, and pensioners for 15 days, literally “walking a mile,” as the saying goes.

Each of the 80 images tells a story, and each one “plays” the actual role, like a movie scene. The photos will be displayed on signboards and bus shelters that are larger than the actual ones in the town.

The photo of Hopkins is displayed on the signboard of the city of Corbeil-Essonne. © Rip Hopkins / L’Oeil Urbain Festival Photo: Lionel Anton

Hopkins says dressing up was part of the fun, but it also played an important role in approaching the subject as a photographer.

“When I put on their clothes, I take off all my stuff … they will be able to see me not pose any kind of threat,” he told RFI. rice field.

“There is a French expression” mis-à-nu ” [meaning] Go to the essentials and expose yourself in a vulnerable position. It really helps connect with the people you are taking pictures of, you make connections with them and you become part of their group and their community throughout this process. “

Lip Hopkins in the changing room are not always easy to find. And that's part of the fun.
Lip Hopkins in the changing room are not always easy to find. And that’s part of the fun. © Lip Hopkins / Agence VU’

Legitimate feelings

Hopkins’ approach had another motive. Making the experience more comprehensive, especially in towns where many are not accustomed to this kind of cultural experience.

“The reason I’m in each of these pictures is that Corbeil-Essonne has a lot of people from North Africa, Turkey, Central and Sub-Saharan Africa and doesn’t have this culture. When I go to the museum, they really feel illegal, “he explains.

“When they go in front of museums and art centers, they tell themselves,” Oh, it’s for people who have some form of visual education, so they aren’t allowed to enter there. ” “

There, by playing games with them and immersing themselves in their environment, he broke some barriers, which brought about interesting and rewarding interactions.

Hopkins looks like a chameleon in each scene. Where is Wally? Children’s books, passers-by are encouraged to find him. It can be difficult to recognize him, and in the end, everyone laughs.

Hopkins used photographs to interact with the locals on this highly comprehensive project.
Hopkins used photographs to interact with the locals on this highly comprehensive project. © Lip Hopkins / Agence VU’

“The common denominator is all as if people felt they existed through the fact that they were in these pictures and signs, as if they didn’t think they actually existed before. Was saying “j’existema intenant”. “He said, adding that many came to thank him.

Originally from the UK, Lip Hopkins is based in Brussels and is represented by the French agency VU’. He has published many books.

His work is on display as part of the L’Oeil Urbain Photography Festival until May 22, 2022.

The festival brings together talent from all over the world. William Klein, Anne Relic, John Trotter and Jim Harbaugh will also be featured in this year’s edition.

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