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Ghost Stories

by Federico Clavarino

The Frioul archipelago is located off the Gulf of Marseille, and is made up of the Ratonneau, Pomègues, If and Tiboulen islands. Frioul is an archipelago not only in space but also in time: these islands have been the scene of apparently unconnected events that form a mysterious constellation. In 1516, King Francis I ordered the construction of a fortress on the island of If that would be used as a prison in the 17th century. The most famous prisoner it housed was Edmond Dantès, the main character in  The Count of Monte Cristo  by Alexandre Dumas. In one of his dungeons you can still see the hole he made in the wall to try to escape. On January 24, 1516, the first rhinoceros seen in Europe was landed in Ratonneau. They were sending it to Pope Leo X, and Francis I, king of France, rushed there to admire it. En route to Rome, the ship was caught in a violent storm and sank. Albrecht Dürer would later make an engraving from a drawing sent to him. On July 31, 1944, Lufftwaffe pilot Horst Rippert shot down a Lightning P38, which fell into the waters of the archipelago along with its unfortunate pilot, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Decades later, a fisherman fishing near Pomègues found in his net a bracelet with the pilot’s name engraved inside. Ghost Stories  is a photographic series that weaves together all these events that occurred in the same space but in different times.

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