Photography project "Comme On Peut", co-produced with the photographer Sylvain Demange.


The purpose of this project is to document the lasting memory of a 1915' First World War battle and its current impact on the population of a French village, 100 years after the battle took place.


In 1915, 50.000 soldiers, French and German, died within a few months on a very tiny hill in successive attempts to take control of a overlooking hill which was heavily defended by the German forces. This battle is also famous as some of the most prominent writers of the time fought on that place (Ernst Jünger, Maurice Genevoix), while others were killed or disappeared (Alain Fournier, Louis Pergaud).


The project is based on interviews and on-site archeology work together with memory actors in charge of protecting the memory of those who died and fought on the place. Most of those "memory protectors" are involved on a voluntary basis and do finance their work on their own time and means . The work also documents landscapes and battlefield remaining artifacts.


The production of the project took place between 2011 and 2017. It was then selected as part of the national events organized to commemorate the centenary of the First World War in France. A large exhibition took place in France’s Verdun Memorial in 2017, and a photography book was produced to support the exhibition. 

​Jean Louis managed to locate the mass grave of French famous writer Alain Fournier and his comrades in the Saint-Rémy-la-Calonne woods. Alain Fournier got famous with his first book " Le Grand Meaulnes"
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Jean Louis managed to locate the mass grave of French famous writer Alain Fournier and his comrades in the Saint-Rémy woods. Alain Fournier, who died in September 1914 as an officer, got famous with his first book "Le Grand Meaulnes".

April 2015.

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Jean Louis managed to locate the mass grave of French famous writer Alain Fournier and his comrades in the Saint-Rémy woods. Alain Fournier, who died in September 1914 as an officer, got famous with his first book "Le Grand Meaulnes".

April 2015.

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Les Eparges national necropolis.

December 2012.

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Les Eparges national necropolis.

December 2012.

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Mrs Thierry, living memory of the village.

November 2013.

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Mrs Thierry, living memory of the village.

November 2013.

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The working desk of Maurice Genevoix, former French academy perpetual secretary and winer of prestigious literature Goncourt price in 1925. Maurice Genevoix' book "Ceux de 14" is considered as the best testimony of the war
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The working desk of Maurice Genevoix, former French academy perpetual secretary and winer of prestigious literature Goncourt price in 1925.

Maurice Genevoix' book "Ceux de 14" is considered as the best testimony of the First World War in France. His remains will enter the French Panthéon in November 2020.

Saint-Denis-de-l'Hôtel, September 2013.

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The working desk of Maurice Genevoix, former French academy perpetual secretary and winer of prestigious literature Goncourt price in 1925.

Maurice Genevoix' book "Ceux de 14" is considered as the best testimony of the First World War in France. His remains will enter the French Panthéon in November 2020.

Saint-Denis-de-l'Hôtel, September 2013.

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Traditional Whit Monday commemoration in Les Eparges. May 2013.​
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Traditional Whit Monday commemoration in Les Eparges.

May 2013.

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Traditional Whit Monday commemoration in Les Eparges.

May 2013.

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Longeau river valley, down Les Eparges hill. December 2012.​
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Longeau river valley, down Les Eparges hill.

December 2012.

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Longeau river valley, down Les Eparges hill.

December 2012.

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Mrs Hummel is the owner of the farm where Maurice Genevoix and his comrades used to rest in 1915.

April 2015.

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Mrs Hummel is the owner of the farm where Maurice Genevoix and his comrades used to rest in 1915.

April 2015.

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Ferme d'Amblonville, cantonment location of Maurice Genevoix in 1915.

April 2015.

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Ferme d'Amblonville, cantonment location of Maurice Genevoix in 1915.

April 2015.

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​75mm unexploded French shell in the Saint-Rémy-la-Calonne woods
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75mm unexploded French shell in the Saint-Rémy-la-Calonne woods.

November 2012.

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75mm unexploded French shell in the Saint-Rémy-la-Calonne woods.

November 2012.

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German artillery commanding station in the Saint-Rémy-la-Calonne woods
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German artillery commanding station in the Saint-Rémy-la-Calonne woods.

February 2013.

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German artillery commanding station in the Saint-Rémy-la-Calonne woods.

February 2013.

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Shell hole on top of Les Eparges ridge
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Shell hole on top of Les Eparges ridge.

February 2013.

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Shell hole on top of Les Eparges ridge.

February 2013.

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​French unexploded rifle grenade in Bois Loclont
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French unexploded rifle grenade in Bois Loclont.

February 2013.

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French unexploded rifle grenade in Bois Loclont.

February 2013.

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Mr Plancher in front of a trenches local map dated 1915.

As his grand-father was during the war, himself is a former mayor of the village.

December 2012.

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Mr Plancher in front of a trenches local map dated 1915.

As his grand-father was during the war, himself is a former mayor of the village.

December 2012.

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​German observation post overlooking a mine crater on Les Eparges ridge
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German observation post overlooking a mine crater on Les Eparges ridge.

December 2012.

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German observation post overlooking a mine crater on Les Eparges ridge.

December 2012.

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German trench on top of Les Eparges ridge
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German trench on top of Les Eparges ridge.

January 2012.

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German trench on top of Les Eparges ridge.

January 2012.

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​On the elevations of the Montgirmont hill, at the exact location where the French artillery was shelling the famous Les Eparges ridge in February 1915
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On the elevations of the Montgirmont hill, at the exact location where the French artillery was shelling the famous Les Eparges ridge in February 1915.

July 2013.

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On the elevations of the Montgirmont hill, at the exact location where the French artillery was shelling the famous Les Eparges ridge in February 1915.

July 2013.

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Colonel Pierson, on his private land of Montgirmont hills.

Mr Pierson is also a former director of Verdun's Memorial Museum. He is now mayor of Les Eparges.

July 2013.

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Colonel Pierson, on his private land of Montgirmont hills.

Mr Pierson is also a former director of Verdun's Memorial Museum. He is now mayor of Les Eparges.

July 2013.

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German military hospital ruins in Herbeuville
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German military hospital ruins in Herbeuville.

July 2013.

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German military hospital ruins in Herbeuville.

July 2013.

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​French tombstone with a strange epitaph, Saint-Rémy-la-Calonne woods
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French tombstone with a strange epitaph, Saint-Rémy-la-Calonne woods.

May 2013.

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French tombstone with a strange epitaph, Saint-Rémy-la-Calonne woods.

May 2013.

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Mine crater on top of Les Eparges' ridge.

December 2012.

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Mine crater on top of Les Eparges' ridge.

December 2012.

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Comme on Peut Exhibition in Verdun.

October 2017.

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Comme on Peut Exhibition in Verdun.

October 2017.

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Comme on Peut Exhibition in Verdun.

October 2017.

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Comme on Peut Exhibition in Verdun.

October 2017.

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Comme on Peut Exhibition in Verdun.

October 2017.

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Comme on Peut Exhibition in Verdun.

October 2017.

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Comme on Peut Exhibition in Verdun.

October 2017.

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Comme on Peut Exhibition in Verdun.

October 2017.

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Comme on Peut Exhibition in Verdun.

October 2017.

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Comme on Peut Exhibition in Verdun.

October 2017.

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Comme on Peut Exhibition in Verdun.

October 2017.

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Comme on Peut Exhibition in Verdun.

October 2017.

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Comme on Peut Exhibition in Verdun.

October 2017.

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Comme on Peut Exhibition in Verdun.

October 2017.

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150mm disarmed unexploded shell in front of a farm entry door. 2017

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150mm disarmed unexploded shell in front of a farm entry door. 2017

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Commemoration at Les Eparges battlefield. 2015

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Commemoration at Les Eparges battlefield. 2015

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François, Sylvain, Christian, Albert and the Dylan(s). 2017

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François, Sylvain, Christian, Albert and the Dylan(s). 2017

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François' godmother bedroom, as she has just passed away. 2015

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François' godmother bedroom, as she has just passed away. 2015

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François, in front of a buried German tombstone which, together with his friends, they renovated and put back at its original location in the forest. 2014

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François, in front of a buried German tombstone which, together with his friends, they renovated and put back at its original location in the forest. 2014

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François' godmother bedroom, as she has just passed away. 2015

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François' godmother bedroom, as she has just passed away. 2015

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François' godmother kitchen. 2015

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François' godmother kitchen. 2015

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Sylvain Demange, photographer, co-author of the "Comme On Peut" project. 2015

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Sylvain Demange, photographer, co-author of the "Comme On Peut" project. 2015

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François' godmother kitchen. 2015

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François' godmother kitchen. 2015

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François, driving Sylvain and I through the battlefield area. 2014

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François, driving Sylvain and I through the battlefield area. 2014

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