Francois-Marie Banier and Martin d'Orgeval – Voyage a Mabou
Every year for decades, Robert Frank and June Leaf drove from New York City to their weather-beaten cottage in the village of Mabou, Nova Scotia, for a few months―a beautiful isolated place to live and work in peace and quiet. Gerhard Steidl liked to visit them there to discuss new books, and on two occasions photographers François-Marie Banier and Martin d’Orgeval accompanied him; Voyage à Mabou is the diary-like record of their encounters.
D’Orgeval’s color photos show the sweep of the bay the house overlooks, verdant in summer, snow-decked in winter, as well as the old cast-iron stove which Walker Evans famously photographed in Frank’s Mabou kitchen in 1971 and now sits rusting on the grass outside. Banier’s candid black-and-white photos and text reveal the adventure and everyday charm of the visit―the struggle through the snow storm, Frank stoking the fire, Leaf’s cluttered studio, the postman dropping in for a chat, leafing through book dummies, and finally, Frank gazing out at the sea, alone: “the old man and the sea, with eternity before him.”