Karnak worker's

The series “Karnak Workers”, created in 2019, aims to shine a light on an underrepresented group of workers. With the kind agreement of the CFEETK (Franco-Egyptian Centre for the Study of the Karnak Temples), I was able to photograph 128 of the workers employed in the Karnak complex.
The photographs were taken between 2019 and 2020, on a voluntary basis.
This large-scale body of portrait work pursues several objectives:
- Presenting a category of workers and employees rarely showcased by photographic work,
- Building a bridge between archeology and people, directing the public’s gaze towards those who keep historical monuments alive through their work and their expertise,
- Creating a social and intergenerational link, a dialogue through the medium of photography,
- Providing a portrait of the workers both as an archive of this one-year period, and as a snapshot of daily life at the Karnak temples.
The choice of a blue background and artificial light seemed like a matter of course from the beginning of the series. First of all, it brings consistency to this large ensemble. But this choice also stemmed from an intention not to differentiate among the range of trades coexisting within the CFEETK.
Finally, this technique brings attention to our fellow human rather than the grandiose background of Karnak.
Thus, human beings are brought to the foreground and their personality can shine through.
Beyond the photographic aspect, I wanted to emphasize the human aspect. No particular requests were made for the poses, outside of the suggestions and creative force of each individual. I wanted to capture and showcase what was gifted to me naturally, instinctively, while trying not to alter the emotion.
Bringing the employees of the temple, in their work clothes, into a studio setting which is usually reserved for professional models was a gamble I had to make in order to achieve this series of portraits.
Each worker was gifted a print copy of their portrait.