2019 – Ongoing — Paris, France
About this series
It’s nightfall and I’m driving on a four lane freeway near Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport, outside of Paris. It’s raining and I’m surrounded by giant trucks. What is it like to be a truck driver, to spend one’s life on the road, inside a massive 3.5 tonne machine? Drivers cover more than 100,000 kilometres every year. They often start their day at 4am and drive for 12 hours, day or night, sleeping in a tiny cabin. They earn about 1,480 euros per month. They don’t see their kids grow up.
I spent time in freeway rest areas and parking lots, photographing drivers in their 4m2 cabins. Cri-cri la Flèche and Biscotte tell me they drive barefoot, sitting cross-legged, watching TV while driving. They organise barbecues at night between the trucks, take off their shoes before climbing into their cabins, which are always spotless. They wash in seedy showers and sleep in the carpool lanes when the parking lots are full. Meeting these men triggered childhood memories: I watched them as a kid at my grandparents’ gas station. When you grow up with the smell of gasoline, it never leaves you. I wanted to see what had become of these humble men. Solitary men, former soldiers, men who changed their lives, passionate men mostly. There are 430,000 French truck drivers and 800 000 drivers in total, including foreign trucks, circulating in France every day.
Stéphanie Lacombe was born 1976 in Figeac, France. She graduated from L’Ecole Nationale supérieure des Arts décoratifs (ENSAD). Her photography work is exhibited in France, Argentina, Finland and Hong Kong, and has been published in many magazines and newspapers ( la Revue XXI, Le Monde and L’Obs).
She shares her experience as a woman photographer in many workshops organised by private and public institutions: la Fondation Cartier, les Ateliers du Carrousel, le Pôle Photographique Diaphane.
She received the Niepce Prize (2009), she is the recipient of the Fondation Lagardère Award ( 2006), she also received Le Grand prix de la Photographie Documentaire et Sociale de Sarcelles (2008). In 2001, Sebastiao Salgado presented her with The Agfa Special Prize.
Stéphanie Lacombe lives and works in Paris.