Raymond Meeks / George Weld: The Inhabitants
Raymond Meeks, poem by George Weld
Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès & Mack, 2023
As the sixth Immersion laureate, a French–American Photographic Commission established by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, Raymond Meeks took up residence in northern France during the summer of 2022. Around Calais in the north, and in the Pays Basque near the Spanish frontier, the American photographer followed the traces left by refugees looking to cross man-made borders.The work created over the course of this residency will be exhibited in New York and Paris, and accompanied by this artist’s book combining Meeks’ photographs with an extended poem by George Weld.
Deeply attached to places, the memories that they hold and the people who inhabit them, Raymond Meeks (b.Ohio 1963), immersed himself in France and set out to meet the people who make their way through the country in search of a better life. On the banks of the Bidassoa River, which for several kilometres separates France from Spain, and in the area surrounding Calais, the American photographer captured traces of the migrants whose paths he crossed and the landscapes that they had traversed.
Raymond Meeks refers to these places of passage as “lines of desire”. In black-and-white and in colour, the series “The Inhabitants” immerses the public in these spaces that are sometimes anodyne, sometimes monumental, often hostile, between vast horizons and views bisected by wire fences.