Camille Mazier —I will be as strong as a Moai
After I lost my father, the yearning to walk in his footsteps for one last journey with him was vital. Finding a tangible experience to overcome his disappearance I went to Vanuatu in the South Pacific, where he had been a teacher 40 years prior.
Using his stories and photographs I was able to trace many of his former students learning about the way in which he fully integrated into their community. I formed an immediate strong bond with the people. This borderless, universal and timeless experience between father, daughter and community result in powerful human stories. I combine his archives alongside my photographs throughout.
Understanding that his wish to have his ashes scattered into the Yasur volcano in Tanna would be difficult, my father had asked us to lay the ashes in our garden in France. After his passing we planted a ginkgo tree — known for its incredible longevity — above his ashes. In bringing the yellow leaves from this tree to Vanuatu, my act of transference from the physical matter to the leaves of the ginkgo tree allowed me to realize my fathers last wish. I ‘poured’ the ginkgo leaves into the Yasur volcano. This symbolic ritual acted as a bond to my father and the land nourishing our souls in life and death.
When I crossed the Pacific Ocean in search of accountability for the loss of my father, I had confronted the Moai on Easter Island. These large impressive statues filled with mystery both ominous and impassive became a rite of passage to me. Their eye sockets were empty yet I was filled with their gaze and the presence of millennia past. I was reminded of the reassuring words my father sent to me, ‘I will be as strong as a Moai’. The journey continues…
Born in Soissons, Camille Mazier studied photography at the Parisian schools: Gobelins, Renoir and Brassaï. Since 2008 she has lived and worked in Paris. Her work reflects her sensitivity through her interest in Nature and Humanity. Her approach is situated at the intersection between contemporary documentary and the “mental landscape”. In her lasts series, she looked at the emotional experiences of her personal history, focussing on universal stories that invite us to confront our own lives and our own emotions.
Camille Mazier is represetented by L A Noble Gallery (London).