Chloé Meunier wrote in to share her interesting project about the Afro-Carribean community in London. The work is the product of 3 years of photographing people and events in the community. It’s still a bit raw, but offers fascinating insight into how these people fit into life in the UK. I asked her to explain the project a little, and this is what she had to say below. English isn’t her native language, but the ideas are interesting:
“This reportage is the result of three years spent in London, among African and Caribbean communities, in places such as churches or street parades, but also in other places. Those people were kind enough to share a moment of their life. Nothing was really planned. The result is a portrait Africans and Caribbean natives in the English landscape.
“The fact of mixing them in a reportage could belittle them. Why should I group Afro-Carribean people who may not feel linked together as strongly as some other communities? I suppose this could European heritage from colonialism that mutated to Euro-centrism. In this particular case, I was trying to understand the results of a ‘living together’ between different cultures different backgrounds.
“Everyone mixes cultures in some way. It is an individual process and each person has their own way. What we do, what we don’t do to individualize ourselves… this shows that it is an individual’s relation to his or her environment or its perception. Anyone can see his or her own culture transcendence in relation to other people, and then they will link together.
“More generally, I felt that each person can develop answer or retorts, regarding his or her relation to the environment, but the unhooking bound to the individual time such as the sickness, send us back to our unity which is the peculiarity of the existing.
“So this project is about perception more than concept. I never thought to link the pictures I was taking to one another at the time I was taking them. I was just concentrating on each portrait of people or group or situation, and also on my own question regarding how to represent who or what was in front of me, that is the person and his or her relation to the world and life. At the same time I thought about how society and history can affect or influence each person and my own perception of what was happening in front of me.
“I also talked with the people in my pictures, trying to know a bit more about them. I didn’t do this in order to tell a story afterward, but just to learn about them. I have also been careful not to theorize on what I’ve seen and photographed, and I hope I haven’t done that here.”
Some of these pictures have been published or exhibited, including at the Hackney Central Museum in London and in Fototazo. Be sure to check out Chloé’s website for more pictures and other projects. Also, check out her collective Essenci’Elles, which focuses on photographing the feminine world. There’s some great work there, too.