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The Nuns

In 2012, Françoise Huguier once again meddled with what at first seemed none of her business : nuns in Bogota, Cali and Popoyan, the three main cities in Colombia. This was a strange idea, a dubious plan even, given the country’s situation, dominated by cocaine production and trafficking, its infamous drug cartels, urban violence, and the guerilla warfare between soldiers, FARC guerilleros (the self-proclaimed « people’s army ») and the paramilitary death squads of the extreme right.

In penetrating Colombian convents, Françoise Huguier has devised a reportage that in its own way speaks volumes about the current state of Colombia. Women there who have withdrawn from the world trought their calling are world unto themselves – a Catholic world above all.

What we see also is their more or less conscious reflex, sometimes, even with a touch of make-up, of posing like the Sulpician icons perfected and popularized at the end of the 19th century. Seen in this light, one nun is Bernadette Soubirous of Bogota, and another a Saint Theresa of Cali. This book by Françoise Huguier resembles a missal of which only the pious images have even kept as bookmark, gently guiding us to an in-between world where the fascinated photographer merrily wanders, full of recollections.

Gérard Lefort

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