IPHONEOGRAPHY: chantiers navals


Les Chantiers Navals in La Ciotat are a testimony to the great ship building tradition of an industry that has now seen better days. It was created in 19th century in the Southern region of Provence in France and at its height employed up to six thousand skilled workers. They produced huge cargo boats for an international market, which then brought people and goods from one corner of the world to another. 

From the end of the 19th century, La Ciotat has been one of the most important shipbuilding sites on the Mediterranean Sea. Many merchant vessels were built including tankers, bulk carriers, passenger ships and eventually gas transporters and container ships. 1940 marked the foundation of the La Ciotat Shipyard: Les Chantiers Navals of La Ciotat, where huge vessels were built and the infrastructure developed. The first ship built entirely of welded plate rather than rivets, was built in La Ciotat, and the yard was a pioneer in modular ship construction. In 1970 a super-tanker of 240,000 tons was launched. 

Today Les Chantiers Navals of La Ciotat are an incredible testimony not only of the process of industrialization in France - and the modern decay due to more competitive production prices offered by other countries - but of the ability of locals to re-invent a new future for the place, converting it into one of the biggest shipyards for the production and restoration of mega yachts. 

This series was realized in May 2015 while I was an artist-in-residence at The Camargo Foundation in Cassis.  

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