A homecoming story

Every summer, when I was a child, my parents and I used to go and visit some of my relatives living in what was then Yugoslavia.
We all met as a family: parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins, at the end of a track in a village of a few dozen souls where we respectfully cultivated an Earth that offered us in return what we needed. Born and raised in France, I was the only grandchild who did not speak the language. So I had to find other ways to try to understand and interact: bits of language, observations, deductions, and above all all the imagination that a ten year old can show.


One morning in August 1990, the people in the village looked deeply worried. The roads and railroads had just been cut, and tree trunks had been deliberately thrown onto the tracks nearby. The tension was palpable and we had to run away the same day. This episode would later become known as the Log Revolt. Then the war came. Houses were destroyed, villages razed, but fortunately we did not have to mourn family losses.

Over the years of conflict, I have grown distant from this part of my family, and my memories have become as fragmented as these territories have become. Facts gave way to emotions and a kind of fascination with these rural ways of life, no doubt idealized by a childhood vision.


According to psychologists, our memories are markers of our identity. It is the sum of the situations of actions, reactions, emotions and feelings that we have encountered, that makes us who we are and that allows us to project ourselves into the future. However, we would not have control over these processes and it would be possible to modify a memory and reinterpret it by introducing new emotions. More than ten years later, I decided to go back and find images to superimpose on these memories. Certainly a way for me to make up for lost time, to better understand these cultures, their stories, my own and to get closer to a part of my identity blurred by time and distance.


Terres Fertiles retraces my visual itinerary through the Balkans and the Caucasus, in search of childhood memories.

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