Olivier Sanchez: Guest photographer 2023
Born in Calvi, Corsica, in 1962, Olivier Sanchez is an experienced News photographer.
Son of a photographer, he worked for the most famous French press agencies like AFP, Sipa, Gamma. But he started his carreer in the local newspaper ‘Corse-Matin’ and has always kept a local anchor.
For many years he traveled the world to cover the biggest events before specializing in ‘celebrities photography’.
In 2010, Olivier Sanchez created his own agency : Crystal Pictures. Based in Corsica, this little agency distributes its production throughout the world.
Alongside his work as photojournalist, he has always been interested in the traditions of his native island and especially in religious life. For decades he has immortalized the life of the Corsican brotherhoods, mainly the two brotherhoods of Calvi. It illustrates an important part of local life, of the social bond that it maintains and he contributes to the duty of memory because beyond the traditions it is the men and women who bring them to life that he immortalizes.
This work on brotherhoods was the subject of a first exhibition which is only a preview of a second exhibition of around 80 photos which will take place during the summer of 2024 and which will be accompanied by a book of almost 300 pages.
Brotherhood life in Corsica
In Corsica, a small island in the Mediterranean with 300,000 inhabitants, religion is everywhere and the different brotherhoods of the island symbolize it. The culmination of religiosity is expressed during Holy Week (A Simana Santa), where the Brotherhoods of Corsica lead Offices and Processions from Palm Sunday (E Palme) symbolizing the entry of Christ into Jerusalem until Easter Sunday (A Risurrezione di u Cristu).
During this Holy Week, there is an important character who joins the Good Friday Procession: the Penitent, a person whose identity is only known by the priest of the Parish, who wears humble clothes with a hood to whether his identity is secret, the latter wears a cross and is barefoot with certain chains attached.The Penitent represents the Passion that Christ suffered until the place of his Crucifixion at Golgotha, in Corsica the Penitent does act of Faith, Penance and Humility. He represents all the evils of a society which through one or more people are trying to redeem themselves in the eyes of God.
This work, which began many years ago in the privacy of the brotherhoods, and has required thousands of hours of work of trust because it is impossible to enter the very heart of the brotherhood without being invited.
The confession of a penitent who explains his penance to be forgiven walks the entire city and carries a heavy cross barefoot, for several hours, he falls, gets up again and must finish his journey.
Experiencing these intimate moments, with the Tenebrae (‘office of darkness’) are of breathtaking force and the songs which accompany the journey transport you into an atmosphere that will take your breath away.
It is a strong moment in religion in Corsica.