When London based photographer Hemya Moran was invited to do an artist residency in Deauville, France, she began collecting images and creating a mental picture of the utopian seaside town. Having been told Deauville is a romantic place, she used googled images as a jumping off point, amassing pictures of holiday locations, women and couples, all enjoying wonderful vacations on beaches, swimming pools, and gardens. The found images created a pseudo-reality of what Deauville could be – a lovers paradise, where women go with the hopes of finding a French companion and an escape from their every day lives.
Once she arrived in Deauville, Moran approached strangers to reenact the images she collected. She staged portraits in the same locations and in similar scenarios of her found pictures. Couples sipping cocktails poolside, cuddling in hotel rooms, or reading on the beach. Even if they didn’t speak her language, the men and women she approached were enthusiastic about being photographed in these romantic settings. She soon realized “there is no love story that might have been,” the images she created are not the reality everyone experiences here. The resulting series, Love in Deauville is her answer to the conceptualized fantasy as portrayed through stock images.
All Images © Hemya Moran