Michel Mercadier, the photographic soul of Carladez

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After a busy Parisian life in the world of professional photography and image, Michel Mercadier settled with his wife in the village of Mayrinhac. And so he rediscovered his family roots in this land of Carladez, which he loved so much and became, in a way, his photographic soul.

On this gray December morning, a thick fog that could be cut with a Laguiole knife surrounds Carladez. The snow that fell on the sides of the roads and trails the day before sets the stage for these last days of autumn, which are already very wintry. When this Carladez, which he had researched in his youth, came with his parents on vacation to the family home of Albinhac, Michel Mercadier settled permanently there for several years with his wife Dominique.

The couple bought and renovated a house there, at the entrance to the village of Mayrinhac de Taussac, very close to Lacroix-Barres, “in their own juice”. An old farmhouse that was once, and especially during the war years, a village bistro, License II, where it retains an ancient wooden telephone and an old enamel plaque. When you push the door of the toilets, you have the incredible and somewhat surreal feeling of finding yourself in a Paris metro station. This decor, imagined and prepared by Michel for a slightly nostalgic memory of his life in the capital, guarantees an illusion.

A photographer for the army after graphic art school

Although he took his family roots from this land of Carladez (his paternal grandmother was born in the village of Sarrans, swallowed by the dam), Michel Mercadier was born and lived in Paris, where he spent all his profession and family until retirement age. . And he discovered photography at Estienne School of Graphic Arts, where he studied for four years. This photography, which never left him and patted him on the shoulder throughout his professional career, was devoted to various professions, from shooting to printing, from photogravure to working in a studio. After 1973, Michel, a young soldier, was a photographer in the army.

First experience in direct contact with the field. Among his fine camera collection, Michel kept his first body, a Yashica 6X6, which he had owned for 53 years. There is also the prestigious Leica M4, its “jewel”, the rugged Nikon F, or even a rare bellows camera used by soldiers in the trenches during the 14-18 war.

New photo book about Carladez

In 2000, Michel Mercadier published his first photo book, which became a “classic” for the country’s population, in this Carladez, in this region that Mur-de-Barrez loved so much and became his own. in a way, the spirit of photography. Through more than 120 pages, we discover landscapes, portraits, animals, scenes of peasant and village life, including these charming bistros, often with the curtain down.

More than two decades later, and now that he can use his retirement days for full photographic enjoyment, Michel Mercadier is preparing a new book on these Barrezian lands in a similar format, scheduled for release in 2023. “My Carladez is where I come down and find magical or simply beautiful places, impossible lights or figures that tell us a story… It’s a clever alchemy made by people here, they’re real, they’re authentic, they’re plants, seasons, nature to know the secrets of…”

Lately, the sexagenarian regularly wears the new camouflage uniform to engage in photo hunting. “Here, we have animals everywhere,” exults Michel, very happy to take advantage of this generous nature.

Pictures from here and there

Photos Michelle brought back hundreds and hundreds of people from her many trips abroad, New York, Bali, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, New Zealand, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sri- Lanka, India…

He shared some of these pictures during several exhibitions. As he shares his experience and photographic approach with the members of the photo club of the Recreation and Culture association of Mur-de-Barrez, which he cares about. “The days are too short,” laughs the dynamic retiree – since 2016 – who is also a municipal councilor in Taussac.

It’s common knowledge and Michelle won’t tell you otherwise, you don’t count when you love… You don’t anymore.

Michel Mercadier, photographer, Mayrinhac de Taussac. 06 40 56 10 10. Contact photomnium@gmail.com.

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