Deeply attached to places, the memories that they hold and the people who inhabit them, Raymond Meeks (b. 1963, Columbus, Ohio, USA), immersed himself in France and set out to meet the people who make their way through the country in search of a better life. On the banks of the Bidassoa River, which for several kilometres separates France from Spain, and in the area surrounding Calais, the American photographer captured traces of the migrants whose paths he crossed and the landscapes that they had traversed. Raymond Meeks refers to these places of passage as “lines of desire”. In black-and-white and in colour, the series “The Inhabitants” immerses the public in these spaces that are sometimes anodyne, sometimes monumental, often hostile, between vast horizons and views bisected by wire fences.
This series extends Raymond Meeks’s artistic approach, which centres on the ways in which human beings inhabit their world, and leads the photographer to examine what links himself to others. His daily existence, his family and his surrounding environment offer him endless material, which he treats with great sensitivity. Raymond Meeks stands out for the keen awareness with which he observes his immediate environment. His work forms part of the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York, and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris. He is also critically recognised for the care he applies to his artist’s books, which are often self-published.
As the sixth laureate of the Immersion programme, Raymond Meeks was accompanied throughout his residency in France by David Campany, the Managing Director of Programs at the International Center of Photography in New York, and the mentor of this edition of Immersion. In 2021, the ICP became the American partner of the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès for the programme, along with the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson in France. In 2023, Raymond Meeks’s work was presented at the ICP alongside the projects of Vasantha Yogananthan (the 2019 laureate) and Gregory Halpern (2018 laureate). In 2024, Raymond Meeks will present his work in a solo exhibition in France at the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, and a bilingual publication will be devoted to the series.