Masters swimmers, watching the beach, at their first aid station Nice, France.
 © Laurence Kourcia/Hans Lucas

French Riviera

Laurence Kourcia

Summer 2018 — France

About this series

I looked at the beaches of my childhood, the French Riviera and its summer fury, the oiled and tattooed bodies, the fervour of the moments dedicated to splashing, jumping, wading. The body hidden all winter reveals itself, breathes, expresses itself, emancipates itself. We meet each other, we observe each other, we spy on each other. Photographing the beach means suddenly sharing the intimacy of a society, its summer rituals, its behaviours, its gestures repeated a thousand times. What we want to show what we want to hide appears in the bright sunlight. The beach then becomes an observation area that everyone can appropriate. Each person creates his own perimeter of vital space that he arranges to his taste, that he invests with his culture, his habits, his obsessions.

From Beaulieu sur mer to Cannes la Croisette, names bearing a collective imagination evoking both the jet set and mass tourism, cross paths and mix all layers of society. Here, during the months of August and July, everyone shares a few square centimetres of sand or pebbles. Even if invisible borders separate the aligned deckchairs from the private beaches, from the disorderly and colourful territory of the public beaches, children and adults indulge in the same joys, the same excesses. The pink buoy became the most coveted property of the moment. During a summer, bodies and minds become loose and sparkling.

Swimming at the end of the day on the beach of Nice, France.
 © Laurence Kourcia/Hans Lucas
Two young men walk with a decided step on the English promenade, Nice, France.
 © Laurence Kourcia/Hans Lucas
Teenage girls on the public beach Bijoux Plage in Cannes, France.
 © Laurence Kourcia/Hans Lucas
Tourists on the rocks of the beach of Passable in Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, France. © Laurence Kourcia/Hans Lucas
Young teenage girls jumping into the sea, on the beach of Passable in Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, France.
 © Laurence Kourcia/Hans Lucas
Scene of life on the public beach of Nice, France.
 © Laurence Kourcia/Hans Lucas
Women in flowered dresses getting ready to take a sea bath on the beach of Nice, France. © Laurence Kourcia/Hans Lucas

Photographer: Laurence Kourcia
Nationality: French
Based in: Paris/Nice, France
Website: +
Instagram: @laurencekourcia

After studying cinema, Laurence Kourcia started taking pictures through portraits and mainly took pictures of actors and performers. In 1989, the revolutions spread to the eastern countries, she then accompanied Pharmacien sans Frontière to Romania and made her first report. On her return, she participated in a photojournalism internship and her report on “Jour du mariage dans les Communautés en France” opened the doors of the prestigious RAPHO Press Agency to her and gave her her first publication in the magazine “Actuel”. She then turned to personal work, where she dealt with social issues in an intimate way. She explores questions of identity, origin, difference and produces reports on the Jewish Community (in France, Israel and the Maghreb), Adolescence, Fat People, Farmers, Autism… She also collaborates regularly with the national and international press magazines (Télérama, Libé, Géo, le Pèlerin, Fig Mag, l’Express, Nouvel Obs, Der Spiegel etc.) and responds to corporate orders (Ministry of Agriculture, Altédia agency…). She regularly participates in group exhibitions, her work “Origine Séfarade” is exhibited at the Biarritz photo festival and her subject on “Les Petits Toréros” screened at the Rencontres d’Arles.

In 2008, she decided to embark on a new adventure and co-founded the Jour et Nuit gallery, a web gallery of contemporary photography. In 2012, she developed the training space of Courses and Photo Workshops to transmit her passion to all image lovers. Today, she happily takes back her cameras, which she used to like to find regularly in her “Travel Notebooks”, and although her favourite subject remains the Human, it is perhaps more poetic than social photography that she is now moving towards. She joined the Hans Lucas Studio in 2017.