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Five years ago, French photographer Stéphane Lavoué discovered a special landscape in the United States, called Northeast Kingdom. It is located along the border to Canada in the northeast corner of the U.S. state of Vermont, comprising Essex, Orleans and Caledonia counties, and is inhabited by only around 65,000 people. Lavoués new series about “NEK“ is a personal tribute. This little area is characterized by the wild ruggedness of the landscape, as well as by its residents, who are the focus of the series. LFI invites you on a special journey!

More photos can be seen in the current issue of LFI.

When Stéphane Lavoué and his family first came to the Northeast Kingdom, he immediately felt that he reached a very special place. One of the first inhabitants he met was Bill, with whom the whole series began. The first picture was a portrait of Bill, who is over 80 years old, and who lived many years with Eastern African tribes making films for national parks in Tanzania. His house is full of mementoes, stuffed animals on the walls and pictures. In addition to having this kind of museum, he is a poet and a writer. “An old African explorer back in his own Kingdom and reading poetry: I had really come to a pretty uncommon place!“ Lavoué says, remembering his first impressions of the unusual region.
During his time in the Northeast Kingdom, Stéphane Lavoué had the good fortune to meet many people, and the opportunity to photograph them in their homes as well as at their workplaces. This portrait was taken at a local custom-meat butchery: “I took a picture of this beautiful young teenager in the middle of the meat cuts. I thought, I was in the middle of an odd fairy tale.“
Clara´s house
This photograph was taken in a small house in Westburke. Clara is an 85 year old who has been living in this house all her life. She has a large collection of Teddy bears, which are stored in a cabinet together with the rifles of her long-deceased husband.
Lake Willoughby
A perfect view of Lake Willoughby, near the town of Westmore in Orleans County in the north east section of Vermont. Willoughby is a glacial lake over 320 feet (98m) deep in places: “It’s very narrow with high cliffs on the sides. You can see it from Canada. People call it the «Willoughby Pass». I always felt like it was the pass to enter the Kingdom.“ The lake is also known for its clarity and chilly temperatures. Because of its depth, it freezes later than other lakes in the Northeast Kingdom.
Sheriff Trevor Colby
Stéphane Lavoué met the sheriff during his trip in the Northeast Kingdom. “I met him at Saint Johnsburry court house, where he was taking some prisoner, and I was invited to visit the 19th century jail. Guildhall is a very quiet town on the eastern border of the Kingdom, closed to New Hampshire. He deals mostly with speeding drivers and drug addicts.” In former times the sheriff worked as a hospital director in Alaska, but then he decided to come back to his homeland, his roots, and was elected as a sheriff in Guidhall, Vermont.

Stéphane Lavoué

Stéphane Lavoué was born in Mulhouse, France in 1976. He has a engineering degree in timber industries and lived for two years in Brazilian Amazonia. In 2001 he returned to France and decided to quit the timber industry to start working as a photographer.He has photographed all over the world and is well known for his exceptional portraits.

The Northeast Kingdom project will be shown in May and June in Sète (France) at the Images Singulières Photo Festival, and at the new Leica Gallery in Paris from June to August 2015.

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