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The Unsung Queens of Country Life

Photographer Alexis Vettoretti traveled to the French countryside to meet women whose life was shaped by the past.

“The last heirs of a way of life they did not choose, they are the bridge between two eras”, writes Alexis Vettoretti about the women he photographed for the project Paysannes, “Peasants”. The oldest among them were born at the beginning of the last century. They pose in their kitchens, modest environments where they spent a life of duties. The project, shot in large format, highlights the individuality of women who have mostly lived as wives and mothers within a patriarchal system.

A farm in the Ardennes, France.

Paulette, born in 1927. Ardèche, France.

Marcelle, born in 1919. Haute Garonne, France.

Facade of a farm in Ardèche, France.

Geneviève, born in 1916. Dordogne, France.

The photographer gathers their stories. Many of them moved to join the families of their husbands, others had no choice but to take over their own family businesses. Still, their perspectives are all different when they talk about their decisions. Genevieve, who was homeschooled and enjoys writing books, says “I didn’t choose to be a peasant, but I didn’t choose something else.”

Simone, born in 1920. Ardennes, France.

Thérèse, born in 1934. Ardèche, France.

A farm in the center of Brittany.

Nadia, born in 1946. Magny en Eure-et-Loire, France.

Gracieuse, born in 1930. Lot-et-Garonne, France.

Alexis Vettoretti’s series was awarded the special mention of the Camera Clara Prize. For more information about the project visit

his website.

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