“It was when I moved to Arles that I discovered this region that I was previously completely unfamiliar with,” says Naïma Lecomte, who is finishing up her studies at the National School of Photography in Arles (ENSP). “I did this series in the Rhône delta, in the Port-Saint-Louis area; it’s between the pristine wetlands of the Camargue and the industrial area of Fos-sur-Mer. This is where the area with the sheds was developed.” Built in the 1920s by local workers, these precarious dwellings – that have no running water or electricity – enabled them to hunt and fish in order to supplement their often very low wages. Passed down from generation to generation, they now serve as a vacation resort in one of the most beautiful natural parks in France.
“What’s interesting is that each shed is different, depending on the owner and the usage,” explains the photographer, who’s fascinated by architecture and marginal habitats. Made of odds and ends, these constructions seem to float on the sparkling waters of the salt marshes that are typical of the region, vulnerable to rising water and bad weather but in direct contact with the wilderness. Their presence poses a problem today: some people claim that these sheds belong to the local heritage, while others believe they are a threat to the preservation of the park.
Without taking sides, the photographer prefers to take a tender look at these bohemian huts, which always seem on the verge of disappearing and which spark an enchanting imagination.
By Coline Olsina and Jean-Baptiste Gauvin
This portfolio was selected by Blind’s editorial staff following its call for participation.