Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Stefania Rousselle's Portrait of Marcel Etcheverry

After covering a series of bleak assignments – terrorist attacks in Paris, the rise of the European extreme right, sex slavery in Spain – the French-American photojournalist and videographer Stefania Rousselle was mired in pessimism and despair. “My heart was broken,” she said. “I didn’t believe in love anymore.”
In 2017, to find joy once more, she decided to go on a roadtrip across France, asking random strangers to share their most defining and life-changing love stories with her.
“I named my cabin ‘The Villa of the Ones Deprived of Love’ because I was the least favorite child in my family. It used to be that in farmers’ families, there were maybe six children. They would send the one they loved the least out into the mountains to herd sheep. And that was my case. They had very obvious preferences – especially Mom. But moms do what they can.
“How do you survive that? First, you have a terrible adolescence. It was endless. I was in pain. I was shy. It was not a place for teenagers. I would come back to the village once a week, get some bread and go back to the mountain with my donkey. I would miss everything: the balls, all the activities.
“But then you adapt. And I was happy. I have dedicated my whole life to the sheep. And I don’t regret it at all.
“I am not mad at my parents.
“I have a daughter. She is 22. Until she turned 14, it was wonderful. Then, for some reason I can’t explain, she rejected me. We haven’t spoken in 10 years. I am really disappointed.
“I don’t like humans. They are twisted. When I see what they are capable of, I am ashamed. I would have rather been a dog. That is why I work with animals. And I love waking up every morning.
“I am with Katia now. She is from Paris. She is a good person. I met her when she was 17 and I was 25. She was my employee. She loved me, but it wasn’t reciprocal. I was with someone else at the time. And we spent 30 years without seeing each other. But we met again and we got married 10 years ago. I never got married with the others. Why? Because they didn’t ask. She just had an operation, so she is in Paris, resting. Do I love her? I don’t know. Love is a weird word. I care about Katia. That must be love. She cares about me too – a bit too much.
“She is the one I should have kept when I was young, because we could have done things together. But I was too stupid at 25. We could have had babies together. I am about to retire but there is no one to replace me. If I had had kids with Katia, one of them could have taken over and I could have retired.
“I am going to have to sell my flock. I haven’t found anyone to replace me.”

No comments:

Post a Comment