Hôtel-Dieu de Paris is the worldwide oldest, still operating hospital, originally built in the 7th and 17th centuries. When I first visited the psychiatric department of Hôtel-Dieu, I found myself in an atmosphere reminding me more of a prison than a hospital, where mentally ill patients shall recover. The place attracted and repelled me at the same time and I went back again and again. No one ever asked me anything. Sometimes I found myself face to face with patients. But I had misgivings about photographing them – because it would have added distance. On the contrary, I have tried to put myself in their lifes, their feelings, and I started taking photographs very quietly. Over time, I felt more and more trapped by the architecture, the atmosphere, the quietness – any noise and any light beam counted. Fences and locked spaces, forming cages, were everywhere – some in real, some symbolic. I felt dominated by this architecture and atmosphere. Only the many windows seemed like escapes.
I went home every evening. But patients are trapped in this mysterious place, which seems challenging for patients - hope they see the many windows among the cages and fences.