Fotomonday: Preuves d’amour by Camille Gharbi

With “Fotomonday“, each week we showcase the work of women photographers from around the world.

This series questions domestic violence and our response to it, through its most extreme expression: conjugal homicides. 

In France, one woman dies every 3 days under the assault of her partner or ex. Those «tragedies of separation» or so-called «crimes of passion» punctuate too often the short news columns of the local press. They tell us about similar stories: this man, who shot his wife because she wanted to leave him, or this other man, who stabbed his partner as he thought she was cheating on him. They happen so regularly that they seem to be perceived as tragic but banal events, as if domestic violence was a phenomenon against which there’s not much to do.

However, some particularly dreadful details sometimes manage to raise awareness on the violence of those crimes. Like the story of Marcelle, a 90 years old retired woman who was battered to death with a cooking pan by her husband in their suburbian home, on the 2nd of March 2017. Or the story of Thalie, a 36 years old management consultant who died on the 19 of August 2017, beaten up to death with a mixer tap by her partner, as they were doing construction works in their house. The horror summons indignation and suddently the violence of the act appears into its full dimension.

This is precisely the angle I have choosen to tackle this subject. I have decided to focus my photographic work on those homely objects which are turned into lethal weapons. The sight of those familiar objects does not reflect the violent stories they are related to. This contrast creates a distance that gives time for reflection. Murders of women by their partners or ex are not isolated facts happening once in a while among some specific contexts or social categories. The analysis of the 250 cases -at least- of women who were killed in such conditions in France in 2016 / 2017 shows that it is actually a phenomenon which happens in every socio-cultural categories, among couples of every age and profession. They always take place in situations of conjugal crisis, separation, or jealous control of a man on a woman that he considers as its own. 

Murder as a proof of love ?

Camille Gharbi is a French photographer based in Paris. Her work has been exhibited in international festivals as Festival Circulation(s) in Paris (2019) and Lense Culture Emerging Talent Award (2019). Her project “Preuves d’amour” received the Fidal Youth Bursary in 2019.

She accepts commissions for architectural photography, documentary and portraits and she is available for worldwide bookings.

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All images and text © Camille Gharbi