The #Stéphanoisfiers project arose from an article that appeared in the French newspaper, Le Monde in December 2014. The article, running under the headline "Saint-Etienne, a town plagued by poverty", describes a "depressed" city of "dilapidated buildings" and a "feeling of gloom". In the hours and days that followed its publication, an indignant wind picked up: football fans unfurled banners in the football stadium, the mayor inscribed messages of unity on public billboards, outraged intellectuals from Saint-Etienne wrote tribunes in the pages of Le Monde. Then the inhabitants of the former industrial city, famous for arms and textile manufacture, started to post their best photos of the town on Twitter with the hashtag #stephanoisfiers (#saint-etienneproud).
Saint-Etienne rebelled, and won: a few days later, Le Monde published a mea culpa, retracing this story of collective indignation.
I’ve never seen a community react with such solidarity. That’s why I wanted to investigate the question: "who are these people so proud of their city"?
Photos (c) Ed Alcock / Agence Myop for La Comédie de Saint-Etienne 2016