Archives de la catégorie for ‘Miscellaneous’

What’s inside an artist’s brain?…

This 1minute video shows the intricate mechanisms involved in the progression of creation’s in the brain of an artist.

Last June, I had a brain scan because of frequent headaches.

Looking at my brain, I wondered if the artists were different from others …

Take a look on youtube:


Artists have structurally different brains compared with non-artists, a study has found.

Participants’ brain scans revealed that artists had increased neural matter in areas relating to fine motor movements and visual imagery.

The research, published in NeuroImage, suggests that an artist’s talent could be innate.

But training and environmental upbringing also play crucial roles in their ability, the authors report.

As in many areas of science, the exact interplay of nature and nurture remains unclear.

Lead author Rebecca Chamberlain from KU Leuven, Belgium, said she was interested in finding out how artists saw the world differently.

“The people who are better at drawing really seem to have more developed structures in regions of the brain that control for fine motor performance and what we call procedural memory,” she explained.

In their small study, researchers peered into the brains of 21 art students and compared them to 23 non-artists using a scanning method called voxel-based morphometry.

These detailed scans revealed that the artist group had significantly more grey matter in an area of the brain called the precuneus in the parietal lobe.

“This region is involved in a range of functions but potentially in things that could be linked to creativity, like visual imagery – being able to manipulate visual images in your brain, combine them and deconstruct them,” Dr Chamberlain told the BBC’s Inside Science programme.

Participants also completed drawing tasks and the team looked at the relationship between their performance in this task and their grey and white matter.


A changing brain

Those better at drawing had increased grey and white matter in the cerebellum and also in the supplementary motor area – both areas that are involved with fine motor control and performance of routine actions.

Grey matter is largely composed of nerve cells, while white matter is responsible for communication between the grey matter regions.

But it is still not clear what this increase of neural matter might mean. From looking at related studies of other creative people, such as musicians, it suggests that these individuals have enhanced processing in these areas, Dr Chamberlain added.

“It falls into line with evidence that focus of expertise really does change the brain. The brain is incredibly flexible in response to training and there are huge individual differences that we are only beginning to tap into.”

Another author of the paper, Chris McManus from University College London, said it was difficult to distinguish what aspect of artistic talent was innate or learnt.

“We would need to do further studies where we look at teenagers and see how they develop in their drawing as they grow older – but I think [this study] has given us a handle on how we could begin to look at this.”

Commenting on the small sample size, Prof McManus said: “Since the results were statistically significant then clearly there was the power to find something, which almost by definition means it was large enough.

“And also of interest is that other people have also had hints at effects in similar locations. Obviously in an ideal world we’d like 1000 subjects, but that isn’t realistic. It’s always a compromise between cost, practicality and interest.”


No ‘right’ side

Ellen Winner of Boston College, US, who was not involved with the study, commented that it was very interesting research.

She said it should help “put to rest the facile claims that artists use ‘the right side of their brain’ given that increased grey and white matter were found in the art group in both left and right structures of the brain”.

“Only a prospective study could get at the question of innate structural brain differences that predispose people to become visual artists, and this kind of study has not been done as it would be very difficult and very expensive to carry out.”


In Openeye Photo Magazine…

I’m very proud to be in the N°8 of OPENEYE Magazine, page 72 to 84…

Thanks to Philippe Litzler, editor-in-chief, for your rave article about my work on the IRA in Belfast, and Pierre Evrard, Director of publication…


#photographie #IRA #Belfast #openeye #photo


Moving to the Netherlands…

This is not the first time I’ve been abroad, and I’ve lived in a few countries already, but it’s still a new adventure that is a little scary and exciting at the same time.

It is in the Netherlands that I have just settled, with wife and children, and even if I know this kingdom rather well, I am struck by the calm and the cleanliness which reign there.

A country that soothes, at least in Gelderland, the largest province of the Netherlands, bordering Germany, and now my “new home” …
The creative inspiration is there, the desire for new challenges too.

The African lion faces the threat of extinction by the year 2050

I’ve seen many lions in Kenya & Tanzania, 20 years ago but things change…

The Brave_lion_gregory_herpe  the usurper  The Crown Prince

The African lion faces the threat of extinction by the year 2050, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director Dan Ashe warned today.

The sobering news came as part of the agency’s announcement that it has officially proposed that African lions receive much-needed protection under the Endangered Species Act.

The decision to list the big cats as threatened—one level below endangered—would allow the U.S. government to provide some level of training and assistance for on-the-ground conservation efforts and restrict the sale of lion parts or hunting trophies into the country or across state lines.

The total population of lions in Africa is currently estimated at about 34,000 animals, down by at least 50 percent from three decades ago.

Those numbers, however, tell only part of the story. As Ashe pointed out during a press conference today, about 70 percent of the remaining lions—24,000 cats—live in just 10 “stronghold” regions in southern and eastern Africa.

Lions in other regions, such as West Africa, have been almost completely wiped out.

FWS identified three main threats currently facing lions: habitat loss, loss of their prey base to the bushmeat trade, and human-lion conflict. All three threats are inexorably linked.

The human population of sub-Saharan Africa is expected to double by the year 2050, which will result in more conversion of habitat to agriculture, more hunting of the wild ungulates the lions depend upon for prey, and more instances of hungry lions attacking livestock and then being killed in retaliation.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), retaliatory or preemptive attacks against lions are the worst threats the species faces. The IUCN lists African lions as a whole as vulnerable to extinction.

Lions do face another major threat: sport hunting. The proposal to protect lions comes in response to a 2011 petition from five conservation groups, who revealed that hunting occurs in 16 of the 20 countries in which lions remain and that the number of lion trophies imported back into the U.S. by American hunters doubled between 1999 and 2008.

The official FWS position, however, iterated today by Ashe, is that sports hunting does not contribute to lions being endangered, especially when revenues from these hunts support lion conservation efforts. This is consistent with other hunting-as-conservation positions taken by FWS, including last year’s decision to allow a hunter to import a black rhino trophy into the U.S. for the first time in 33 years.

Still, Jeff Flocken, North American regional director at the International Fund for Animal Welfare—one of the groups backing the original petition—calls the FWS announcement “very significant.”

Although Endangered Species Act protection would not block American hunters from traveling to Africa to hunt lions, the proposal does establish a new permitting process that would require any hunters importing lion trophies back to the U.S. to apply for and receive a permit first.

These permits, Ashe said, would only be granted if the lion were taken from a scientifically proven hunting program that actually helps lion populations and if the number of lions taken by hunters is sustainable.

Flocken says the new permit process could “quickly and easily” help to minimize the threat that hunters pose to African lions by identifying trophies that come from areas where lions are more at risk—or from “canned hunts,” in which captive-raised lions are shot in controlled situations. “The permit system will allow the U.S. government to monitor and evaluate the trophies that are coming in,” Flocken says.

Ashe called today’s announcement an opportunity for awareness about the challenges that wildlife faces worldwide as human population dramatically increases. He added that this was a chance for optimism:

“We can be successful here,” he said. “We can change the course of events. The U.S. has great experience in wildlife management and hopefully we’ll be able to bring that to bear in working with our African partners.”

The proposal to list lions as threatened will be published in the Federal Register on October 29, after which the public will have 90 days to submit comments.


source: John R Platt & Scientific American


Live on french radio

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of participating, as every week, in the show “Et si on en parlait”, hosted by Patrick Mas on France Bleu Roussillon, exceptionally live from the Fair Expo.

I was surrounded by three other talented columnists, André Bonet, President of the CML (Mediterranean Center of Literature), Frédérique Barriol-Montes, winery owner of Domaine la Casenove, and Jacky Loos, owner of the excellent restaurant Host & Vinum in Canet in Roussillon.

Some good moments, as always!

To see it again on my channel Youtube (register, it’s free!):


Jenny A Wenhammar, leader of Femen Sweden poses for me & sends her message to Putin & Erdogan, on youtube…

Sie Ist Idaho

Femen : feminists fight Erdogan and Putin

Femen leader in Sweden, Jenny A Wenhammar, wanted to meet me so that I realize, for her and her movement, the photo intended to deliver two strong messages related to the news:


- The first, intended for Vladimir Putin, on the occasion of the presidential election in Russia,  March 18, 2018. She wishes through this photo denounce the absence of democracy in Russia, the lack of rights of women, and discrimination against LGTBs.


- The second, addressed to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Turkey, condemning their attempted genocide against the Kurdish people in Afrin.


So she made the trip and we made this picture, with the only request to pose with “my clouds” and my style.


Femen became internationally famous by organizing actions, mostly topless with slogans written on the body, this in order to defend the rights of women, to engage in favor of democracy, and to fight against corruption or again against the influence of religions in society.


The unsensored picture:

Femen - feminists fight Erdogan and Putin


You will find below the official statement of Femen accompanying this picture:



On the 18th of March 2018 Putin sacrificed the Kurdish people in Afrin for his superpower wet dream, on the date of the 4th anniversary of his sneaky annexation of Crimea 2014 in Ukraine. On the 18th of March 2018, Putin arranged elections without a choice, and turned his blind eye to his fake democracy apprentice Erdogan in Turkey who early in the morning of this so called Russian election day, conveniently annexed Afrin in Rojava in northern Syria.


Let’s make it clear that Putin and Erdogan are eager to build their nationalist fascism based on fighting feminist values.

They fight by installing double fear, but Femen does not fear them. Femenists fight back!


Putin and Erdogan are evil twin brothers in their use of fascism to silence advocates of democracy and freedom of expression, extended

to all members of society.


They fight human rights through harassment, imprisonment and murder of free-thinking people. Hailing fear, and fearing opposition.

They extended fear to society through cultivation of conservative nationalism and religious pride, claiming that western values will

undermine Russia and Turkey.


And what frightens them the most is equality and LGBTQ-rights. Despots always fear feminism, throughout history.

On the 18th of March 1940 Hitler met his evil twin brother Mussolini in the Brenner Pass, and history does repeats itself over and over again

when psychopath authoritarian men recognize how they can use each other to expand their territory, grabbing whatever they want.


On the other side we have the opposite values; of feminism and care for living beings’ rights. Keep it clear that these are two systems at war.

The Kurdish freedom fighters with it’s brave women and men from YPJ and YPG together ending the Islamic Caliphate in the region, believe in the values of secularity and women’s rights, establishing inclusive direct democracy and a gender revolution, where ethnic minorities and the gay community are welcomed. The revolution of Rojava united socialism, feminism and even environmentalism.


When Erdogan cracked down at the uprise in Gezi Park 2013 it should have been clear to the world what was to come, from bad to worse.

Now after the coup Turkey’s regime locks up more journalists than any other government on Earth, and as Erdogan expands his sunni caliphate the relationship between Turkey and jihadism is undeniable.

The repeated Kurdish genocides, recently committed by ISIS, are continued by Erdogan, condoned by Putin.

Putin has betrayed the Kurds, and so has the world, as has the world neglected Russia waging a horrendous air campaign in Syria on behalf of Assad’s forces, since 2015. And Erdogan has thrived from his payed position stopping refugees from fleeing into Europe.

Both Putin and Erdogan gain power by a wavering West, and for Putin a Turkish conflict with NATO is a plus.


So when Turkey two months ago launched an air and ground offensive called “Olive Branch” against Kurdish controlled Afrin, even if US troops

have fought with the Kurds against ISIS, Putin withdrew the Russian air umbrella protecting Afrin, giving an obvious approval.

Putin condoned ethnical cleansing on the day of his electoral fake victory where voters were forced to choose him for six more years of dictatorship.

This destabilizes the relations with Assad and Rouhani, but is apparently preferred by Putin in order to harm stability in the European Union

and transatlantic relationships.

Here Putin and Erdogan stand hand in hand – happy twin homophobes united in preventing any drift westward.

For they are as horny for power as they are scared of feminism.



Storm in Catalonia

Canet en Roussillon, 1st March 2018

With the cold wave that hit France and Europe in general, the Catalan coast showed a poetic anger, at the beginning of the week

In The Pariser…The french New Yorker!

A nice article from journalist and photographer Karine Sicard-Bouvatier, on the blog "The Pariser",

the digital version of the eponymous magazine launched by two excellent journalists : Ulysse Gosset and Laetitia Monsacre.

I'm proud that my name is mentioned in this article.


FOTOFEVER 2017 : done!

It was a nice fair in the prestigious setting of the Carrousel du Louvre.
Fotofever 2017 is done and it was a lot of very good professional meetings.

The Castang Art Project gallery presented my animal work in Africa, from Kenya to Ethiopia, through Tanzania, Namibia, Cameroon, Congo, 
from November 10th to 12th.

I invite you to contact Roger Castang, director of the gallery, to buy these works:
With Cécile Schall, Fotofever director

Roger Castang, director of the Castang Art Project gallery



With my friend Olivier Pérouze, cartoon screenwriter

FOTOFEVER 2017 international photo fair

I’m very busy for the end of the year!

I will be represented by the gallery Castang Art Project at FOTOFEVER, Carrousel du Louvre, Paris.

FOTOFEVER is a prestigious international photo fair directed by Cécile Schall.

From the 10th to the 12th of November, we are waiting for you.

I will be physically present on Sunday 12, if you would like to meet me and buy directly one of the photographs that I will propose.

I can’t be there the first two days, held by the opening of my exhibition in Zurich, November 11, at the Art & Business Gallery.

I will also make a dedication of my last photo book, at 17:00.

I’m very happy to meet you soon at the Carrousel du Louvre!


On the press
New Exhibition in Castang Art Project Gallery

It’s a huge plaisir to welcome you at the Castang Art Project Gallery, in Perpignan, France, for my new exhibition.

For a long time I had the wish to work together with Roger Castang, a great professionnal who had the excellent idea to propose to me this rendez-vous during the International Photojournalism Festival  Visa pour l’Image, from 31th of August till 17th of September 2017.

This is an unique occasion to discover a selection of photographs taken in Asia, Africa, and Europe, during different photoreportage.

expo castang069

This will also be an encounter with the talentfull sculptor Alexandre Nicolas, whose exceptional work of synthetic crystal inclusions will marry wonderfully with my photographic prints on aluminium plates.


I hope to welcome you all.



From Tuesday to Saturday from 10:30 am to 1:00 pm and from 3:00 pm to 7:30 pm, and on Sundays 3 and 10 September from 3:00 pm to 7:30 pm.

39 rue Rabelais – 66000 Perpignan

+33 (0)6 27 77 12 79


Bas Kosters designs an unique “I PROTECT TIGERS” shirt …

On the Amsterdam Fashion Week an unique item will be introduced: an “I protect tigers” shirt designed by the dutch artist Bas Kosters (in which creative team my step-daugther Amber Huijskes takes part of; the beautiful blonde at the end of the video with Bas; I’m proud of her!)  with a limited serie from 3900 pieces.

This is the number of tigers still living in the wild…


Amber & Bas Kosters

Bas Kosters & Amber Huijskes (click on the picture to see the video)

The first t-shirt will be shown on the 13 of july during the Amsardam Fashion Week.

From the 13th of july at 9pm, t-shirts ara available online on:


They are only 3900 tigers in the wild.

To save this iconic animal from disparation, the WNF started worldwide a rescue plan to double this number.

So support this rescue plan of WNF and give the tigers a future! Go to and watch what you can do to help!

In “Le Petit Journal”…

Thanks to the french newspaper “Le petit journal” for that very laudatory article…

French press

Thank you Thierry Grillet for his kind word about my exhibition and my work on L’Indépendant, french newspaper)!



Photo exhibition by Grégory Herpe

from march 18th to may 31th

Collections François Desnoyer

Rue Emile Zola, St-Cyprien (village)

Tel: +33 (0)4 68 21 06 96


Exhibition at the Museum of St-Cyprien, France

I’m proud to invite you to my new exhibition: “L’Odyssée”, from 18 March to 31 May at the Museum of St-Cyprien, France.

5 rooms and more than 90 prints, to travel with me on 3 continents and 20 countries, from the great animals of Africa to Catalonia, from the minimalist landscapes of Scotland and the Netherlands to the children of Cambodia, IRA in Belfast, Street Art in Northern Europe …

A great catalog is published for the occasion in which you will find my photos as well as texts on my work written by personalities of the arts, media, and politics … Thanks to them:

Yoyo Maeght – Exhibition curator at the Pompidou Center & Royal Academy of London; Editor, gallery owner

Tina Kieffer – Founding President of french NGO Toutes à l’école

Olivier Dassault – french Deputy & photographer

Myriam Seurat – Journalist on french TV France 2 & Arte

Petra Lossen – Director of Petra Lossen Fine Art Gallery, Zurich

Sylvia Gobbel – International Top Model & Helmut Newton’s muse, Vienna

Fabrice Gaignault – Editor-in-chief of Marie-Claire magazine & writer

Laurent Bouhnik – Director, screenwriter, producer

Nathalie Garçon – Fashion designer

Isabella Russ – Managing Editor of Terra Mater, Austria

Peap Tarr – Street Artist, Phnom Pehn

Elsa Lunghini – Singer, Actress & Photographer

René Manzor – Director & Screenwriter

Ylva-Maria Thompson – Artist & tv host, Sweden

Sam Zniber – Vice President & Strategic Consultant, Radio Intelligence World, USA

Hervé Lancelin – Dir. Of the Galerie Lancelin, Luxembourg, & Luxembourg Art Price

Paul Godfrey – Leader of the Morcheeba, England

Véronique de Villèle – TV host & Writer

Ariana Kah – Actress

And Wayne Anthony – Editor-in-Chief of the London Street Art & Design Magazine, London

Thanks also to Thierry Del Poso, Mayor of St-Cyprien for his invitation in his museum, and to Stéphanie Misme, exhibition curator, for his professionalism.

And thank you for sharing the info…


Awarded in Barcelona

Today, I was in the catalan capital to receive an award.

Thanks to Jordi Jové & Ramon Casalé Soler for awarded me the golden medal of the XVIIIth International Fair of Barcelona 2017,

for my photowork on Barcelona…

My Fashion collection in collaboration with Vida Fashion Shop

Check out my new collection in collaboration with Vida Fashion Shop.
You will find a special collection of my pictures printed on lovely scarfs, t-shirts and bags.
A must have for 2017!
Share if you like, please, to all your friends!

September 10th & 11th 2016, les Ateliers du Graff & the city of Puteaux, France, organized the 6th festival of street art.

A big succes where the diversity of the used techniques offered to the visitors a nice show.

It is dynamics Arnaud Eveille (alias Anje) who was the big boss of this unique event.

Bravo Arnaud and thank you for letting me the photoreportage of the festival.

On the menu, anamorphic murals, vegetal graffiti, kinetic & pixel art, the photograffée, and jip-hop, with Kamel Archach’s exceptional presence (alias B.BOY BOSS K), 4 times choreography world champion & 6 times batle world champion with the famous VAGABONDS CREW…Big reference…

The artists:

Anje, Flow, Zag & Sia, Emoy, Smoe, Zosh, SNSA, Adked, Lop6, Ydoz, Biate, Collectif photograffée, Djalouz, Caligr, Pesca, Doudou Style, San One, Dino, MO2…

Exhibition in la Villa Duflot

In the prestigious Villa Duflot, in Perpignan I invite you to my exhibition, whose opening will be friday, September 16, 2016 , at 18:00.
With Amélie & Emmanuel Stern, ownersof Villa Duflot, and art collectors, we have chosen a series of photographs from my book " Catalogne" on both sides of the border ,
from Barcelona to Perpignan, Ebro Delta or Lerida's design.


I 'm glad to see you there!


Opening september 16th, at 18h00
Exhibition : september 16th to october 31th 2016

Rond Point Albert Donnezan , 66000 Perpignan, France

+33 4 68 56 67 67




expo foyer


I am very proud to invite you to the opening of the group photo exhibition that I have coached for almost a year within the Unapei66.

Unapei 66 a parenting movement born in 1959, is an association of Parents and Friends, who welcomes and accompanies throughout live People with Mental and/ or Psychic Disability , in its establishments or in the mainstream.

People familiar with intellectual disabilities: Down syndrome, autism, mental, multiple disabilities …


I have proposed to accompany them around a photographic project for a year.

Driven, engaged, and extremely talented for arts, my new friends worked very well !

Thursday, July 7, at 18:30, you can see their work. Starting from paintings seen at the Musée Fabre in Montpellier. Before and behind the objective, they have given their whole heart and we expect many of you at the Library St Esteve, France.

I promise you, you will not see disabled people but_ fully fledged artists …

invitation Unapei.indd


Barcelona …

It’s always a great happiness to be in the Catalan capital.

Barcelona, rich and multiple, elusive, surprising. With my friend, the painter Philippe Wodianyk, we decided to take a little height.

Far from the Ramblas, vulgar and touristic; an idiots trap where we scroll like fools in front of filthy restaurants, street vendors and cheesy living statues …

Far from the Ramblas , the Gothic & Raval neighborhoods , the Diagonal Avenue and its luxury boutiques, there is another Barcelona in the hills, which gives the city a welcome air and respiration.

Montjuic Hill (Latin Mons Jovis, the Mount of the Jews), overlooking the old harbor, is an oasis of greenery and culture.

We are amazed about the botanical garden, the castle, the Catalonia National Art Museum and the Magic Fountains and we enter the mythical Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium which hosted the Summer Olympics in 1992. Built in 1929 for the universal exhibition and it was enlarged in 1989 by the Japanese architect Arata Isozaki.


with my friend, french painter Philippe Wodianyk, at the Olympic Stadium.


Many exploits were made here: Carl Lewis won his eighth Olympic gold medal, while Linford Christie became at 32, the oldest champion over 100m, and then the unforgettable symbol given by the Ethiopian Derartu Tulu, the first female black African Olympic champion and the white South African Elana Meyer, runner on 10.000m … Tulu exceeds Meyer to only one lap to go and then she attends her rival prior to fall into her arms. They perform their lap of honor together wrapped in tangled flags of both countries. Iconic is that a big and strong black woman has been united with a white South African woman while South Africa barely retrieves the Olympics after banishment due to apartheid.

From the height, again, to have a lunch on the roof terrace of the arenas, Mudejar and neo Byzantine style.
The city predominantly anti-corrida Barcelona renovated and transformed its arena in a mall , with a landscaped roof offering a 360 ° panoramic view over the capital. There, several restaurants offer local, Japanese, Mediterranean cuisine … Breathtaking views and a great breath of fresh air …


Philippe (who will expose December 8th at the Maison de la Région in Perpignan and then in Paris, the beginning of 2017 at the Galerie de la Voute, in the XII arrondissement. I recommend you discover his magnificent work on http: //www.wodianyk .com) and I then visit the Tibidabo, from a height of 512m, the peak is the tallest of Barcelona’s Collserola (Tibidabo name comes from the Vulgate, a Latin translation of the Bible. it is found in the context where the devil speaks to Jesus).

A big surprise at the top was to discover a quaint place out of time in this universe: the Basilica of the Sacred Heart (Sagrat Cor) and one of the world’s oldest amusement parks, opened in 1901. Within the center a strong forest area of 10 million trees, the park offers a stunning city and Mediterranean view.



Christ, outstretched arms, recalls the Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro, overlooks the Basilica and the big wheel.

The spectacle is unusual, almost anachronistic. To crown it all, we are surrounded by Nepalese celebrations; doubtless 2 or 300. Indeed, it is Nepal Memorial Day, and many special activities were organized to raise awareness to the Barcelonan for the needs of Nepalese after the earthquake of 2015 …


I would strongly advise you to follow the beaten track and leave the center of Barcelona to discover this magical place!

And then, with a little courage, you will be rewarded by climbing on the big wheel and watching this almost surreal view of a city that is full of beauty …



Back from Cambodia, where I had the great pleasure of photographing the schools established by journalist Tina Kieffer, I received the pleasant surprise by email that I am awarded at MIFA Moscow (Moscow International Foto Awards), a very beautiful international award.

The Moscow jury awarded me with a price and the Honorable Mention in the category People-Culture, for my photographic work about the Gypsies of Perpignan.

DSC_3664 DSC_4177



The monsoon has arrived … Anyway, the first signs.

The rains continues to fall since early this morning and despite this heavy rain, the day has been photographically disrupted.

I have spend the morning at the high school where students had tests in English, mathematics, and French.

I think that the overall level in English of the major students is excellent.


It is necessary to say that at Happy Chandara, the children start learning English from the first year, somewhere around 5 or 6 years!

I’m wondering why do we not do the same in France …

These children  become educated women and will be able to take part in tomorrow’s economic life and reconstruction of a country where men dominate.

This is not inevitable and Tina Kieffer has understood this very well by establishing this school and offering the opportunity to these disadvantaged children.

In the start of the school year (2015-2016) , there were 1160 pupils to follow this quality education. We just have learned with a smile, that more than one hundred of new children will incorporate next schoolyear and will also comeback here.


Rain falls again … its nap time for the smallest. They lie against each other on woven mats.



A bright spot … Time to play a little … and then the day passes so quickly in Happy Chandara that the bell ringing already …


And under torrents of rain, school is finished …




It is July 1906, and during his stay in Paris for a special performance at the Theatre du Pré Catelan in the Bois de Boulogne, Auguste Rodin is overwhelmed by the movements of a yet unknown dance: the Cambodian dance.

Emotionally blown away, he started a series of drawings. But the dancers are expected at Marseille!

Rodin cannot stop them from leaving, but he needs to know their movements completely. He leaves everything on the spot, and accompanies them to Marseille, without even taking time to take neither paper nor equipment.

The range of studies of movements and feminine draping, he then will accomplish, is now considered as one of the very best of his career. Within a week, he executes 150 drawings before the Royal Ballet of Cambodia embarks for Cambodia. He is fascinated by the aesthetic grace of their hands and arms. Later he watercolors these sketches with a near-perfect harmony.

Rodin will attach special importance to this series and exhibits in the most prestigious locations, demonstrating that the brilliant sculptor is also an impressive draftsman.

Today, the dances ‘Apsaras’ experience a increasingly intense popularity.

The Khmer are offering the dances to the spirits so that misfortunes of all kinds will be chased away, and that it brings peace back, or heavy rain. Sometimes they dance to have fun and forget the weariness of a hard life.

This morning at Happy Chandara, students of all ages were taking their Cambodian dance classes.


It’s amazing how rigorously they relax their fingers, and their feet.


Eyes are serious, deep, and one can see in their eyes this tradition is not to joke with.


The emotion is palpable, and I understand Rodin, admiring and speechless before these graceful bodies distending with a rare harmony.

A short ride into the village of Prek Thmey; just in time to see two laughing rascals, totally naked, taking a shower.

They are launching water towards me with a pan, exploding into laughter every time they touch Well …



School is out for today …their target!


Last night we went to Phnom Penh with Tina Kieffer, Sophie Bourde, Danielle, and two gynecologists of the NGO “Actions Santé Femmes” Noelle and Chantal.

With the students being away for the weekend with their families, we visit the capital.

I find myself in a very nice hotel, Villa Langka, the staff, the French manager and receptionists are very welcoming, helpful, and friendly. And the setting is so lovely (and inexpensive!).

We all meet in town for dinner and I tried a soup with red ants … How I can explain … what has been done is not more to do, I would say, and I will not risk it again!

That night, singing of frogs around the pool, which lulls me … it sounds unpleasant, said like that, and yet, their bass voice could be compared to some kind of “Barry White toad”…


This morning, we ventured on the local markets … terribly dense, the Psah Toul Tom Pong or Russian market (which takes its name from the influx of Russian tourists in the 80′s), is a particularly difficult place for the sensitive souls.

In fact, the section of butchers and fishmongers raised my heart … In more than 40 °, meat quarters, disemboweled in chickens and fish are suspended or presented on stalls covered with flies, in a suffocating atmosphere. The smell is just unbearable…



In the afternoon, I went to the Olympic Stadium in which the Olympic Games never has been hosted, nevertheless it remains interesting. The stadium has 60,000 seats, and the site also has a sports hall, swimming pool and an Olympic diving. It was in this stage that General de Gaulle uttered the famous speech of Phnom Penh on September 1st 1966. It is also in this stage that Khmer Rouge executed the officials from the previous regime. All around, a bit haphazardly, sometimes people play petanque, sometimes volleyball, basketball, tennis.

The diving is particularly striking: young teenagers are jumping from 10 meters high, seeming to fly through the air amidst the towers and the buildings that surrounds them…


I went off to meet Buddhist monks of Mahanikaya living in a housing estate at the center of the city. Around their temples, they live in small dilapidated two-story buildings, at their balconies drying “KESAS” (their orange dress). I take time to speak with a few. They ask me questions, interested, while doing carpentry and household.


Tonight, after a busy day is again Barry White who croaks to me, helping me falling asleep …

Early this morning, we attended at the raising of the flags, all students were present to make a plan for the anniversary film with Tina Kieffer for the existence of 10 years of ‘Toutes à l’ecole”, directed by the dynamic Sophie Bourde .

Some plans where made with a drone, and attacked by pigeons; but we avoided the drama!

Tina and I then took the opportunity, to do some portraits with the children.

The kids look at Tina with eyes full of love, instinctively, they know how she fought for them for so many years.




Then I went to take pictures in college. In French class and the exercise of today was about writing a postcard to the godparents.

I noticed that they were doing this wholeheartedly.

Happy Chandara, has also a great collaboration with the L’Oréal Foundation. Therefore, they are also forming hair stylists and beauticians here. However Tina Kieffer wishes to give these young girls the best, so they also receive specialized instruction in management and English.

I attend elsewhere in strenuous exercises in the form of a role play, where students take the roles of a client and a hair stylist. I am impressed to see how well they already have a very sophisticated English vocabulary in this field. I take pictures and then pass in the adjoining class in which a guy gets clipped a cool Boys Band fringe. The teacher is very attentive to her students and you can feel invested. The others do hair styling, make-up, varnish nails, all with L’Oreal products, of course.

At Happy Chandara, diner time is always a cheerful time of sharing and exchange. We all eat together; the tall seated amidst the small. The opportunity to have fun, and a lot!

There are a lot of volunteers here, this week, two gynecologists came to visit especially to educate the young girls.

I watch with amusement two children among the youngest having fun. One of them, with a plastic stéthoscope in hand, auscultates the other. A new generation…


I can see a strong symbol of healthy ambition from Tina for her small apprentices. To form strong women, to arm them professional with responsibilities, blooming in their lives.

And then I leave again to cycle on these unpaved roads with dirt and on which it is difficult to breathe when trucks are making dirty opaque clouds, asphyxiation your lungs, when they cross.

Encounters that are etched forever in my memory.



I think back of the woman in the photo I made, her hair treated, who knows by whom, a friend or her sister, outdoors.

Look at her face, how she must have suffered, but can you see the tenderness she has in her eyes, the sweetness in her smile?


I see many of these faces, Cambodia. We often speak of “inner beauty”; I believe, myself, that this beauty is seen on the outside, drawn in the wrinkles of their faces, weathered by many hardships, but not that one of love…

This morning, Mimi (in real “mom” to everyone in Happy Chandara, her heart on her sleeve) and I went to visit the family of two little girls from school, living in an astonishing poverty.

The father sells Jasmin in Phnom Penh, but denounced by competitors, he and his wife to spend three weeks in jail; with no money to buy their freedom from the police….

Imagine … Three weeks in a prison in Cambodia for selling jasmine on the streets, only to provide for his family in the greatest need …

They have four daughters (the two largest are at boarding school), the grandmother lives with them, sick, in a single small cabin of wave plates and bamboo on stilts above the stagnant water …

And these people greet you with a smile that you rises your soul…


It was also an opportunity to see early in the morning flag-raising, and 1000 girls in uniform lend themselves devour their school books.


They are moving, these children, and I think at my daughter, Agatha, who would hear well with some of these little girls filled with playfulness and malice in their eyes.

The only problem is my Agatha would certainly not like the local breakfast: rice and sardines … Our children, in Europe, do not know how they all have …

I see these young students playing basketball under the banana trees, learning sewing and embroidery, mathematics and Khmer. I cross others, larger, on the stairs, preparing for an English test. We exchange a few words and they show me how well they have learned their lessons. Congratulations girls, congratulations you’re self-sacrificing teachers, and congratulations to Tina, Mimi, Danielle, Denis, all employees and trainees from “Toutes à l’école – All to School” for the great job that I see, never ceasing to marvel…


These girls, thanks to the association, will not be doomed to the fields like their mother, and their grandmothers before them, but they will become tomorrow’s doctors, architects, teachers, lawyers. Maybe like my partner, SocieteA, legal advisers, who would undoubtedly be moved to see Happy Chandara, I am sure, as both are beautiful people (again thank you Celine Hernandez & Sebastian Mafray!).


This afternoon, Denis lent me his mountain bike. How did he even imagine that I could drive on this rickety frame?

Along the dirt road bumpy by the millions of trucks, 4×4, motorcycles who engage on an annual basis, people are living. They are living as best they can that is, of not much, but enough.

Some sell gasoline in old glass liter bottles of Coca-Cola, others sell sodas and beers, of which freshness is questionable. I see barbershops made of bits and pieces, and women seeding jasmine … I meet old men exhausted by the weight of banana bunches (probably several hundred kilos) plodding on mopeds out of another century.


Entering a small path, attracted by loud music, I run into the preparations of a wedding. Temples, which stand proudly towards the baking sun burning my elegant balding.


People greet me, and I go towards them, we are discussing they in Khmer myself in French or English, always with the same result: we did not understand a word … but we understand each other anyway!

I mean by that, that they welcome me and I’m interested in them, they smile at me and I smile back. I take pictures, which I show them on my Nikon screen. They love it, they laugh, and then, much like new friends, we separate by making hand signs…



First full day in Happy Chandara.

A morning-visit together with Tina Kieffer, at absolutely all the classrooms, from College, High School to Vocational Education.

All the teachers and all the students are now aware that I’m there, that I will pass as discreetly as possible, everywhere, frequently, making pictures.

I crossed only smiling faces…

This afternoon, I started to take photographs. The young school girls like taking pictures; they laugh, make jokes.

I attended at drawing class, Khmer, mathematics, computing, traditional dance. They enjoy learning and it’s nice to see.

There are so many things to photograph here; “Toutes à l’école (All to School)” is a wonderful NGO that demands respect. Tina Kieffer has built all of this in only ten years. Well done, Tina!

Here, everything is made to provide the best for the young girls with the noble ambition, that later they become women with blooming professionally.


DSC_1253   those who go to school…


And then a thundering storm arrives. Cloudbursts, and then the sun comes back and smiles too.

In the late afternoon, I went to “lose” myself upon vague roads, muddy, in the lush countryside.

People live there, along the roads, in sheds made of wave plate and wood.


DSC_0991   those who do not go …

I have photographed the misery and dignity.

Because you have no idea of the conditions under which these people live.

Because you have no idea of the brightness of their smiles, despite everything, their sense of hospitality, their instinctive kindness …

Standing in the mud, I saw poor people, but yet laughing.