Thomas Bouquin

Thomas Bouquin is a French-born photographer currently living in Montreal. He holds a BFA in photography from Concordia University where he received The Gabor Szilasi Prize in Studio Arts. His work has been presented in New York, London, Paris, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Arles, Montreal and Richmond, and featured in various publications both printed and online. Thomas is also a co-founder of the Photobook Club Of Montreal, and working as a freelance photographer and photo researcher.

Le Roc d’Ercé

Le Roc d’Ercé is the photographic evocation of an immigration history, both collective
and personal, between the village of Ercé (France) and New York, since the late
nineteenth century. This project brings distant times and places together, to highlight
how the memory of one remains in the imagination of the other.

Ercé was the historic capital of the Pyrenean bear leaders. These men were gathering
cubs in the mountains that they trained to make street performances. Dozens of them
immigrated to New York accompanied by their animals, hoping to make fortune with
their shows. In the valley, they were called the Americans.

Early twentieth century, echoes of these Americans’ successes led to a new wave of
emigration. Many people from Ercé decided to exile in New York to work in French
restaurants that were becoming more and more numerous.

Among them was my great-great-grandmother. She left her valley, family and children to
work as a maid in New York during a couple of years to pay back the farm they had just
bought. A few years later, she eventually returned to Ercé and the farm still belongs to
the family.

In the heart of Manhattan, immigrants from Ercé used to meet at a rock every Sunday to
help each other and share news from their village.

They called it le Roc d’Ercé.

To view more of Thomas’ work please visit his website.