Skip to Content

Featured Story

Based in Barcelona

CAPITAL

  • alt-text-here
    Two members of Marseille's Council await the arrival of the Prime Minister of France who comes to attend an act to provide medals of honor to several police officers in order to thank their struggle and commitment against crime. Marseille, department of Bouches-du-Rhône and region of Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France on December 28, 2013.
  • alt-text-here
    Several boys in a hot spot for drug dealing close to the Faculty of the city. The drug market has emerged in Marseille as one of the mainstays of the local economy. The drug business prevalently employ youth and adolescents. Easy money and the opportunity to climb into the hierarchical organization of drug dealers, is enough to guarantee their “silence” in case of detention. Marseille, department of Bouches-du-Rhône and region of Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France on May 3, 2014.
  • alt-text-here
    A group of children in the northern district or Quartier Nord of Marseille having fun with some pieces of an stolen car. Marseille, department of Bouches-du-Rhône and region of Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France on February 17, 2014.
  • alt-text-here
    Several men train in a boxing gym in the neighborhood of La Savine, one of the most inaccessible and isolated neighborhoods in the northern district or Quartier Nord of Marseille. The boxing hall was built to provide shelter to the young inhabitants of La Savine.
  • alt-text-here
    A group of boys hang out in the streets of their neighborhood, Felix Pyat, in the northern district or Quartier Nord of Marseille. Marseille, department of Bouches-du-Rhône and region of Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France on July 3, 2014.
  • alt-text-here
    Several police officers in the Marseille's Prefecture listen the speech of the Prime Minister Manuel Valls who provide medals of honor to several officers to thank their struggle and commitment against crime in the city.
  • alt-text-here
    Due to the economic decline of the city, many industries have closed their doors. Today only a few continue their activity: ArcelorMittal, the last steel industry of the region, is one of them. Fos-Sur-Mer, Marseille, department of Bouches-du-Rhône and region of Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France on February 8, 2014.
  • alt-text-here
    A docker works in a container ship in the port of marseille. Marseille, department of Bouches-du-Rhône and region of Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France on January 8, 2014.
  • alt-text-here
    Union meeting of dockers in the harbor of Marseille. The activity of Marseilles’s dockers, who have always had a strong position in the economy and in the policy of the city, is nowadays threatened by the economic changes planned by the city council. Marseille, department of Bouches-du-Rhône and region of Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France on January 7, 2014.
  • alt-text-here
    Two sailors look out from the rear of a container ship that enters into the port of Marseille by night. Marseille, department of Bouches-du-RhÙne and region of Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France on February 8, 2014.
  • alt-text-here
    Jerome and his father, Aïm, at their home after Jerome has being mugged and beaten by some boys in the neighborhood of Felix Pyat, in the northern district or Quartier Nord, while he was buying hashish. Jerome has to take care of his father after he lost a leg in a work accident. They live on social welfare and live in a rented apartment for days with only one room and a kitchen. Marseille, department of Bouches-du-Rhône and region of Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France on June 5, 2014.
  • alt-text-here
  • alt-text-here
    The passion for the Olympic Marseille Soccer Club, put together in the Velodrome Stadium, people of different ages, origins and religions. Marseille, department of Bouches-du-Rhône and region of Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France on January 17, 2014.
  • alt-text-here
    A women looks out through the window of her home close to Curiol street in the downtown of Marseille. One of three people lives under the poverty line in Marseille Marseille, department of Bouches-du-Rhône and region of Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France on February 14, 2014.
  • alt-text-here
    A little girl kisses the Virgin Mary in the Cathedral of Marseille. Marseille, department of Bouches-du-Rhône and region of Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France on August 15, 2013.
  • alt-text-here
  • alt-text-here
    Jerome, enable to find a stable employment, lives on state handouts and doing small errands for the prostitutes working in the area. He also gives some protection to them. Marseille, department of Bouches-du-Rhône and region of Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France on February 27, 2014.
  • alt-text-here
    Aerial view of the neighborhood of La Joliette which was partly demolished to become a district office. Both the French state as the European Union have made a huge investment to remodel the city trying to change the economic situation that is plaguing the city of Marseille.
  • alt-text-here
    A child plays with a bonfire in the neighborhood of Felix Pyat in the northern districts or Quartier Nord. Marseille, department of Bouches-du-Rhône and region of Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France on June 14, 2014.
  • alt-text-here
    Dalyia, waits for her husband in her parents' house in the neighborhood of Frais Vallon in the northern district or quarter Nord of Marseille. The couple, after marrying through the Muslim ritual, decided to have a civil wedding in order to give civil effect to their marriage. Marseille, department of Bouches-du-Rhône and region of Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France on June 7, 2014.
  • alt-text-here
    A lamb in a balcony of an apartment in the neighborhood of Felix Pyat seconds before it is to be slaughtered by the muslim ritual on the holiday day of the lamb, Eid al-Adha. Marseille, department of Bouches-du-Rhône and region of Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France on June 20, 2015.
  • alt-text-here
    A young “shoufer” in the northern district or Quartier Nord of Marseille. "Shoufer" is a word derived from the verb "shouf" which in Arabic means "to look." If the police enter in the neighborhood, he must shout to enable the drug dealers to hide. Marseille, department of Bouches-du-Rhône and region of Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France on June 19, 2014.
  • alt-text-here
    A group of man await another group in the streets of Felix Pyat in the northern district or Quartier Nord of Marseille. Marseille, department of Bouches-du-Rhône and region of Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France on July 15, 2014.
  • alt-text-here
    Three guys from Felix Pyat neighborhood taking some drinks and talking about their business in the only bar that exists in this neighborhood. Marseille, department of Bouches-du-Rhône and region of Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France on July 14, 2014.
  • alt-text-here
    A young “shoufer” in the northern district or Quartier Nord. "Shoufer" is a word derived from the verb "shouf" which in Arabic means "to look” If the police enter in the neighborhood, he must shout to enable the drug dealers to hide. Samir,16 years old, works seven hours a day for six days a week and receives a fixed salary. On the floor, he keeps the tupperware with the food that his mother prepares for him every night. Marseille, department of Bouches-du-Rhône and region of Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France on July 14, 2014.
Capital

“If you ever go to Marseille, watch out
… it’s Baghdad there!”
— Zed (Paris, 2012)

This was a phrase often repeated by Zed, one of the protagonists of the story on the Paris suburbs I worked on over the past few years.
He was presumably referring to the excess of violence that characterizes the city.

Although the comparison is exaggerated, the reality is that Marseille has experienced a long and profound economic and social crisis since the decline of its port activity, experiencing high crime rates, earning the unenviable record of being one of the poorest cities in France and with unemployment continually rising.

But Marseille is a city with enormous potential: it opens out onto the Mediterranean and it has the character of a cosmopolitan city with a young, multicultural population. 
This potential and the desire of the ruling class to give the city a new image, earned it the title of European Capital of Culture 2013. 
The message emitted by the political organizations was clear: The year 2014 is crucial for Marseille. This is its opportunity to rid itself of the stigma of violence and crime that has hung over it, to move on from the social violence that pervades its streets and the obvious economic inequality.

Under the label of “cultural capital”, earned after a financial investment of over 600 million euros, Marseille has experienced a huge urban transformation, with the main focus being the rehabilitation of the most emblematic areas and the creation of new cultural facilities in the old port.

Today, with the cranes gone and the construction finished, the inhabitants of Marseille wake up with a bittersweet sensation, aware of how, despite initial promises, financial resources have been used to beautify chosen areas and collectives, leaving the disadvantaged neighborhoods totally excluded and accentuating the economic and socio-cultural contrasts.

privacy terms conditions - copyright © 2017 - VII photo agency, llc. all rights reserved the VII logo is a registered trademark, registered in the u.s. patent and trademark offices design by De.MO.org