For Le Grand Silence, photographer Clementine Schneidermann explores her relationship with her brother Nicolas, who at seventeen years of age left school in Paris for a life as a shepherd in the southeastern corner of France. For the past few years, Schneidermann has documented her brother’s transition from late adolescence into young adulthood within the context of his faraway journeys.
In the early years of his life away from home, Nicolas remained isolated, but over the years, he has slowly reconnected with his parents. He lives out of caravans and various shelters, tending to his sheep throughout the Alpes and mainly in Grasse. He wakes up early and finishes his work around eight o’clock at night. His life is quiet, offering him an escape from the clamor of city life.
Schneidermann visits Nicolas twice or thrice annually and keeps in contact with him over email and texting. In her dreamy, sunlit images, Nicolas is at once familiar and mysterious, intimately related to the artist yet possessed of an ineffable sense of mystery, with his imagination and dedication enveloping the hilly landscape that he has come to call home.
All images © Clementine Schneidermann