Françoise Huguier 

Payouta, Presqu'île de Iamal 

Payouta, Presqu'île de Iamal

About the artist

In Africa, Russia, Cambodia, Françoise Huguier has photographed godforsaken, often forgotten places and people, but the images she has brought back are anything but remote. Quite the contrary: they trigger immediate empathy, a feeling of envelopment, as if all of a sudden we were there in the tent with a Nenets woman, or in the caravan, watching the teapot steaming; it’s a sensual immersion into distant colours, textures, smells, lights. From her travels, she brings back images and words, which she then lays down in books. From Africa, she returned with Sur les traces de l'Afrique fantôme, a book published in 1990, then Secrètes in 1996, retracing her immersion into the intimate lives of Burkinabe and Malian women. In between, she travelled to the Siberian cold and in 1993, published En route pour Behring, a travel log of her long journey for which she won a World Press Photo award. Both of her images here are drawn from this work. The 2000s were marked by her travels across Russia - she spent several years in St. Petersburg to bring back an in-depth reportage about communal apartments (Kommounalki) - and Cambodia, retracing her childhood (J'avais huit ans).
Françoise Huguier's work sticks closely to lives, stories and bodies; it is both ample and generous.


In what circumstances did you take “the road to Behring”?
The idea came after completing Sur les traces de l’Afrique Fantôme, for which I travelled across the Sahel region. I wanted to find new treeless landscapes in the far north of Siberia, beyond the Arctic Circle. I went on a six-month trip to compile a photographic journal, for which I obtained a Villa Médicis hors-les-murs grant.

What was the most striking encounter on this voyage?
A gold digger on Bolshevik Island, 800 kilometres from the North Pole.

Your images walk the fine line between documentary and intimate memory. Do you practice photography as you would keep a diary or journal?

Yes, especially with En route pour Behring, which is a real travel journal. I spend time with people before photographing them: I actually live with them, which is why one can feel so close to them.

You have published a book with each of your projects, often in the form of a travel log. How does this complement or add to your work?
Whenever I make a book, I write a text that is just as important as the image. The text forms a counterpoint to the photography; it’s not a mere description.

In your book En route pour Behring, the French journalist Gérard Lefort wrote: “Françoise Huguier does not know where she is headed, but she’s going there with great determination". Your photography is intimately linked to travels, to faraway frontiers. What do you like about this form of nomadism? Do you need it?
This “nomadic lifestyle” stems from my curiosity about the world, my compulsive craving to discover other places.

Limited edition, numbered and signed. 

Selected shows and awards

Pince-moi, je rêve, Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, 2014
DON’T MOVE, Middle Class in the HDB, (Housing Development Board), Photography Month, Singapore, 2010
Sur les trace de l’Afrique Fantôme, MUVIM, Valence, 2009
Kommunalka, Rencontres Internationales de Photographie, Arles, 2008
À l'Extrême, Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, 1998
Afrique et Asie, Rencontres Internationales de Photographie, Arles, 1986

Kommunalka, Anna Politkovskaïa Jury Award for the best long feature documentary film, 31th International Festival of Women Films, Créteil, France, 2009
World Press Photo Award, 1993
Rencontres Internationales de Photographie Award, Arles, 1987
KODAK Award, 1986

Selected publications

Kommunalki, Actes Sud, 2008
Text and photographs: Françoise Huguier. Foreword: Michel Parfenov, Magali Jauffret
J’avais huit ans, Actes Sud, 2005
Text and photographs: Françoise Huguier 
Sublimes, Actes Sud, 1999
Text and photographs: Françoise Huguier. Foreword: Gérard Lefort
Secrètes, Actes Sud, 1996
Text and photographs: Françoise Huguier. Foreword: Claire Denis
En route pour Behring, Éditions Maeght, 1993
Text and photographs: Françoise Huguier. Foreword: Gérard Lefort

(Portrait: Cyril Zannettacci)


& order

Françoise Huguier 
Payouta, Presqu'île de Iamal


Technical information

Digital Lambda c-print on satin paper- limited edition, numbered and signed certificate.


26,5 x 40 cm, Edition of 100 350.00 €

By the same artist

Françoise Huguier

By the same curator