I titled this picture « Le banc des Anglais » (The Englishmen’s bench), as it was captured in Nice, on the Promenade des Anglais (Walkway of the English), one of the longest and most beautiful coast promenade in France. At that time, France was getting ready for lockdown once again because of the pandemic. There were a few cloudy and misty days when people looked like they were taking the most out of fresh air before a confined November.
I love to shoot portraits, people and their expressions. And although I couldn’t be more aware that sanitary measures are essential, I was starting to get depressed that all my photographs looked like a pandemic story because of the masks people were wearing.
On this dark afternoon, I finally found an interesting angle to put these two old men on the frame. They had a lively discussion in front of the Mediterranean sea, while their dogs were enjoying their time on the reddish wet ground. The very contrasted light had this dramatic effect on the greenish sea, and I wanted to capture this nostalgic vibe that late fall afternoons have.
Three days after I shot this picture, a terrorist attack took place a few hundreds of meters away from this very place. To me, this dramatic event echoed with the terrible 2016 attack that happened right on the Promenade des Anglais. This whole context put an additional perspective to this image. The two old men on their bench, nourishing their conversation and long time friendship with the profound perspective of this unique panorama. A calm and joyful break in these disquiet times.