Life & Culture

Yann Faucher’s New Book Captures Male Friendship on the Beaches of Dorset

Yann Faucher’s first publication, Dancing Ledge, takes inspiration from amateur wartime photography

You may recognise Yann Faucher’s work from Instagram – the photographer is known (and followed) for his soft, sensitive and oftentimes sensual portrayals of young men. And, while the photographer is now based in London, he was born in northwest France, which is where he got the idea for his latest project and first-ever book, Dancing Ledge.

The idea for the publication began with a trip to Normandy that Faucher made with his mother, father and brother last year. While it wasn’t his first time to the region – he grew up in the neighbouring province of Brittany – on this trip, he visited a museum that forever altered his perception of the area.

“We went to a museum which was about the stories of young soldiers who died,” he says. “When you think about it, that was a long time ago, because it was the 75th anniversary [of the Normandy landings] last year. I think everyone should go, just to experience it, because basically all the beaches are like cemeteries where young men died.”

Faucher spent some time contemplating this: the countless young men who lost their lives fighting on those beaches in World War II – many of whom were just 18, 19, 20 years old. The process left Faucher with a great sense of sadness, but also the idea for a project.

“I decided I would try to gather some young guys – I remember five different people who were having fun at the beach, and the location was very nice – and shooting a story with them,” he says. “Trying to make something nice.”

Shooting the project at Dancing Ledge, which is part of Jurassic Coast in Dorset, the resulting images do indeed capture a sense of fun, and also one of friendship. Styled by Adam Winder, the models – Charles Green, Ben Howarth and Reece Ormiston-Green – are photographed on and around the beach, in a way that is reminiscent of amateur wartime photography.

“We were amazed [that] there was already a friendship between them, without [them] knowing each other,” says Faucher. “That’s what I was trying to show.”

Flicking through the pages of Dancing Ledge, an idea of a lost youth, a robbed youth, comes forth; a freedom that the young men who died on those beaches never got to experience – something only a photographer of Faucher’s sensitivity could achieve.

A highly personal project, the photographer decided to print Dancing Ledge in a very limited edition of 200. Available to buy from London-based independent art publisher The Club of Men Editions, it’s a beautiful and thoughtful publication which puts a sweet spin on a particularly bitter moment of European history.

Dancing Ledge is out now via The Club of Men Editions.