The 2021 edition of Vraiment ??? is dedicated to the theme of water: from streams to sea areas, from the essential H2O to the symbolism of liquid, whether we are talking about the exploitation caused by tourism, the lack or the overflow of water, water as a vital element, the sharing of resources or the crossing of sea areas to escape danger or to imagine a better life.
This year, Vraiment ??? is exhibiting a selection of Anita Conti’s images for this second edition entitled “Eaux Troubles, Eaux Vagabondes”.
Writer, photographer and first female oceanographer, this exceptional woman made her mark in the very male-dominated world of fishing. In 1935, she took part in various campaigns on the first French oceanographic ship and then, before the Second World War, on a trawler in the Barents Sea and in Spitsbergen for 100 days. Her missions allowed her to publish reports and articles illustrated by her photographs taken with her Rolleiflex camera; she did not fail to denounce the over-exploitation of the oceans. During the war, she obtained permission to embark as a Navy photographer on minesweepers in the English Channel and the North Sea, photographing mine clearance attempts. During the years of occupied France, Anita Conti helped to improve fishing conditions on the West African coast; in Senegal, she set up fish drying stations and created a shark fishery in Guinea. Anita Conti was accepted and respected by the fishermen and sailors of the Royale, whom she photographed like a reporter, with daring points of view (high and low-angle shots that let us experience deep-sea fishing from the inside). In 1952, she embarked for several months on the trawler Bois Rosé on a campaign on the banks of Newfoundland, off Canada. Her aura became legendary, and the sailors nicknamed her ‘La Dame de la Mer’ (‘The Lady of the sea’). To those who asked her if she was a tomboy, Anita Conti liked to answer: “No, I am a successful woman”.