Gilles Raynaldy’s second photobook, Welcome my Friend, retraces an experience he had in the territory of the “Jungle of Calais” over the nine months preceding the evacuation of the refugees in October 2016. About eighty analogue photographs (both colour and black and white), along with excerpts from his journal, constitute a sedimentary memory. The book unfolds like a movie, following the rhythm of his wandering and the passage of the seasons: little by little, the photographs become impregnated with a place that we discover through the actions, gestures, and looks of the people who lived there and with the environment that is revealed around them. The writer Marielle Macé sheds light on the photographer’s approach, his non-intrusive presence, his attention to spaces, encounters, ways of inhabiting, gestures of hospitality. The anthropologist Michel Agier recalls the urban forms and social uses that were invented in the Jungle, whose lessons remain relevant today.
Gilles Raynaldy’s photographic work focuses on social topics, gestures, architecture, and urbanistic planning, with an empirical and empathic method. His first book, Jean-Jaurès (Purpose éditions, 2015), dedicated to a school in the suburbs of Paris, was nominated for several international awards.