Each year, France is one of the countries which attract the most visitors and for good reasons. Cities like Paris and Lyon for instance have lots of cultural and architectural wonders. Great countryside with charming villages, lots of places by the sea on the mediterranean side or on the Oceanside..
Among those many regions, Brittany is one of the most popular and is especially a point of tourist convergence in the summer months.
As many of you I am sure, there are MANY places in the north hemisphere I would avoid in the summer months. Such places are so crowded in July and August that I would rather go earlier (June) or later (september). In those months the weather is still warm and pleasing and this off-peak seasons also means lesser crowds and cheaper lodging options. However there is ONE advantage of going during the busiest season in such places. You get a chance to attend many local events organized to attract visitors. Those events vary greatly in terms of size, notoriety and interest but suffice to say that there are usually enough variety to satisfy the most demanding travelers.
This is the reason why I decided to go to Morbihan (which is an area of South Brittany) to visit a outdoor photo festival in La Gacillie and the festival of twins, triplets and more organized in Pleucadeuc each year on August 15th.
August 15th is a holiday in France and many small towns organize special local events around that date. This day has been celebrated in the village of Pleucadeuc going back all the way to the 50’s but it is only in 1994 that Alain LAUNAY (now the mayor of the town) came with the idea of organizing a festival for twins, triplets , quadruplets and above.. After all LAUNAY was the father of two twin daughters himself. This year marked the 22nd edition of this successful festival which gathers thousands of visitors including well over 1,000 twins, triplets and the like.
What may be the most amazing thing is that despite the growing success of the event over the years, the event manages to keep its initial unpretentious candid spirit (“bon enfant” as the French would say) while still managing to cope with the increasing turnover. This is achieved through precise organization and the willingness of hundreds of volunteers ready for the big day. It was my first time covering the event and that I can attest that the atmosphere was very friendly and allows for good complicity with these “models for a day” consisting of twins and triplets of all age brackets, as shown here :
Naturally during such events a challenge for the discerning photographer is to try to find a way to avoid busy backgrounds and create interesting images which go beyond the “cute factor”. One way to do this is to arrive early and try to locate some possible spots as well as identifying ideas that could function with which twins. The key to the success in this is to try to give some directions while keeping some spontaneity, especially when photographing the younger twins. In my case I believe it is made easier by using small less intimidating equipment. All images made in this article were made with either my Olympus EM5II or my Ricoh GRII.
with older subjects, it is possible to go for more posed expressions and create a different mood:
There are several games and activities organized through the day and the day ends with all twins and triplets gathered for a group picture and releasing balloons in the sky. When the day is over of course, you should not forget that there are a lot of of these twins (and their parents) who are going to wait for some of those images.
If you happen to be visiting south of Brittany next August, you might want to add this event to your list of things to see.