Soothing, just like tea!

7 June 2024
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The purpose of this blog is to tell you all about Camellia sinensis, not about the monuments, however impressive, that a tea researcher might encounter on their travels. And yet, as I stood in front of the Golden Temple in Amritsar, in the silence and stillness, entranced by the lights, the gold and the shimmering evening light, I felt a deep sense of fulfillment. I was completely at peace, despite the crowds. Serenity. Time stood still. I felt transported. Opportunity, happiness – a gift. These were my thoughts as I felt compelled to stop and take in my surroundings. I sat down and contemplated the reflections on the water. It seemed to me that this liquid element, this precious material, this gold, corresponded to what I feel when I drink a cup of tea. Something rare, unique and delicate. A call to peace, tranquility and harmony. When I drink tea, I close my eyes, and what I see is beautiful, radiant and soothing, just like the Golden Temple.

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Trees that speak to us

26 April 2024
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At a time when we don’t have a clear view of what’s going on in Darjeeling, where the plantations have been suffering for many years from a crisis that we would like to see end, I am travelling through other tea-growing areas of northern India. “Nature is a temple where living pillars let sometimes emerge confused words,” wrote Charles Baudelaire. And here, in the Kangra Valley, who wouldn’t feel its presence? Look how these trees watch us with a familiar gaze! I don’t know if you can hear them. They speak to me.

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A photo reveals

12 April 2024
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Sometimes a photo poses a question. When the shutter is released, the photographer – on the other side of the lens, camera in hand – may not be aware of anything. They are absorbed in their subject, waiting for the right light, adjusting the framing, shutter speed and depth of field. It’s only when they see the photo on a computer screen that things are revealed. Here, for example, I can see the absence of trees. I didn’t notice at the time. How is that possible? And how is it possible to deforest in this way, to farm so intensively on such low hills?

But what I’m really struck by here is the mystery of photography, which sometimes works in two stages. First, it’s a response to appealing shapes and colours. Then there’s something deeper, which reveals itself afterwards.

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Wild and tamed nature

29 March 2024
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This photo is a beautiful sight, in my humble opinion. Tea bushes grow amid dense vegetation. A rugged, sloping landscape, numerous trees of different species… There’s a harmony between the cultivated plants and wild nature. It’s easy to imagine the wealth of flora and fauna to be found in such a diverse environment. For the amateur photographer in me, there’s pretty much only one colour – at first glance. On closer inspection, what a multitude, what variety! What better way to celebrate spring than with this abundance of greens?

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Tea researching is a profession

9 February 2024
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I’m not the only tea researcher in the world today. Léo also travels in search of rare teas. We’ve been working together for over five years. We taste all the samples that come in, we nurture close relationships with the farmers and try to promote them and help them when they need it. We train as many colleagues as possible to help them build up their knowledge of tea. That involves yet more sampling, and telling the stories of all our travels and what we’ve tasted along the way. There are only two tea researchers in France for now, but there’s no doubt that it’s a profession with a future, given the current enthusiasm in France for quality tea.

How does one become a tea researcher? The answer is coming soon…

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A better life

2 February 2024
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All over the world, men and women work the land. When you’re right there with them, you realise just how hard their work is. Spending time with them makes you aware of how they live. It reconnects you with what’s important. Above all, it makes you want to talk about them, to highlight what they do, what they harvest, what they know. In short, to support them. Here, for example, we’re working with people to help them produce teas that are more flavourful and interesting. These teas will earn them more money. This will help them to live better lives, to raise their children more easily and to benefit from better healthcare. They will be able to look ahead with more confidence and thus protect the future of this good way of working the land.

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Preparing for tea

19 January 2024
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Brewing tea isn’t the same as preparing for tea. While I brew my tea, I prepare myself for it. I slow down and take time to breathe. I let go of any worries and feel lighter. I focus my attention on a favourite object, a positive emotion or a beautiful view, like this one. A view of a garden. While my tea brews, and as I sip it, standing upright yet relaxed, it soothes me.

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Tea calms us

12 January 2024
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Sometimes I think about what tea does for me. Why does it make me feel so good? Today, I’ve been looking through my photos to inspire my thoughts. I came across this one, taken on the banks of the Ganges. When I look at it, I feel the same sense of calm that I get when I drink my favourite beverage. This photo has helped me to define how I benefit from tea. It calms me. When I make myself a cup of tea and hold it in my hands, I relax. I close my eyes, concentrate and feel free. I detach myself from things, break the invisible bonds that constrain me. Like this silhouette, this man-bird embracing the sky, free from gravity. Tea is an invitation to be calm.

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Men at work

29 December 2023
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These days, it’s often women who pick tea on the plantations established by the British in India, Sri Lanka and various East African countries. But our British friends are long gone. And while the practices they introduced live on in many tea-growing regions, the fact remains that when left to their own devices, like here, between the Ganges and the Brahmaputra, the growers divide up the tasks as they see fit. It’s good to see men in the fields, and it’s good not to hear the same old rubbish about women’s hands being more delicate, more agile. What nonsense! Even the people I’m photographing think it’s a joke. Let’s end 2023 on a high note, and I’ll see you back here next year!

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A lifetime

10 November 2023
A lifetime

I will spend my life photographing the people who work with tea. Observing them, loving them, walking beside them, sitting next to them. Paying close attention to their every move. Waiting for the right light. Saying a few words in their language, if I can. Finding things to share. Or just staying silent and taking in all the air I can into my lungs, then even more, and feeling that air circulate around my body.

I will spend my life photographing people looking at me, people blushing or laughing. People who want more, who rush over to see the screen of my camera when I’ve taken a photo. And others who are more distant. I walked behind this woman carrying a full basket for a long time, trying to capture her attention, but she turned her back on me and walked away.

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