In 1869, Alphonse Daudet published Letters From My Windmill. Among the collection of short stories of the book, you can find L’Arlésienne (the woman from Arles), story that later became a theater play. All along the play, the Arlésienne is the main character of the plot, however, she never appears on stage.
Since then, in French, the saying « L’Arlésienne » is used to refer to a character with is crucial to a story, and who is mentioned repeatedly, but who never appears.
This image displays the patter of the « Arlésienne », with all the ambiguity between presence and absence. The background is made of short landscapes from Arles, and the center piece is a page from a book talking about adventure, escapes, and faraway places. The silhouette cut from the book page portrays a presence built from absence, an empty space that also gives substance to a story.
Elsa Leydier was born in 1988 in France. After studying languages, she entered the École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie in Arles in 2012 and graduated in 2015. In her photographic work, she aims to interrogate images that are used to define iconic places and territories, that she tries to show from other points of view, through the prism of alternative and lesser stories. Her work has been shown in several shows like in Les Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie (Arles, France), in Le Réverbère Gallery (Lyon, France), Chez Agnès b. and Les Filles du Calvaire Gallery (Paris, France), among others.
She currently lives and works between Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Lyon (France).