Scarlett Coten is an independent French photographer who dedicates herself essentially to personal, long term projects. The Arab countries are at the heart of her photographic practice, which explores the themes of identity and intimacy.
One of her wonderful projects is Still Alive, a plunge into the little known Egypt of the Bedouins. From spring 2000 to the summer of 2002, Coten shared the day-to-day life of the men and women who live in the Sinai desert, between the Gulfs of Aqaba and Suez, from Rafah to the shores of the Red Sea.
Coten describes her experience: “I photograph my hosts, those that ask me to, those that pose. These are my guiding line. Gestures and laughter replace the spoken word. Time seems different, the people too.
It’s a hot summer. From one area of shade to another, we reach for each breath of air, each lift of the breeze. I no longer know which day it is; we live in the present.“
In an interview with Culturist, Coten says how she fell in love with “the cheerful and curious people, who consent to pose for me, and do so with delight.” She explains how she’s greeted with still alive! at every meeting.
These photographs are the illustration of the humour, enthusiasm, vibrance, diversity and modernity of a people little-known to the world beyond their desert. They are forgotten, destitute but – still alive! And they find so much pleasure in that – in being alive.
To find out more about this lovely project and see more of Coten’s wonderful photography, visit her official website.
//all photos © Scarlett Coten//