J’Habite or ‘I live’ represents the historic dwellings that scatter the French coastline of Bretagne and Normandie. Many of the relics are constructed using the local pink granite, which makes up much of the region's geology. The beauty of these architectural structures is their simplistic form, the use of materials, and the ease in which the ‘human element’ blends seamlessly into the natural environment. They almost seem to grow out of the ground that their foundations sit. I concentrated my efforts on finding buildings positioned on the shoreline through significant research. Some are built into the rock for protection against the harsh Atlantic elements; others built overlooking the coastline panoramic as the first line of defense. Some are precariously constructed places of worship where pilgrims would gather.
When capturing these beautiful locations, I was eager to understand more about their history. Many were built between the 12th and 19th Centuries and have certainly stood the test of time due to their construction. For example, one cottage I photographed is called ‘La Maison du Gouffre’ or house between the rocks. Strategically located between two large rocks, with her back facing the sea to protect her from the intense storms. The tiny home was built in 1861 and is now occupied by the original owner's granddaughter. Another called ‘Ti Napoleon’ was built in the mid-18th Century as protection against artillery fire.
Documenting these narratives through photography feels ever more important. As the sea levels continue to rise, the loss of global coastlines continues. Are these historic dwellings at risk? Will there be a change in my lifetime? I live to find out.