les hommes Verts

They carry their brooms as a king might carry his sceptre. Les hommes verts (‘the green men’) are the road sweepers of the 7th and 14th arrondissements of Paris. Charles Fréger met them, thanks to a grant from the city of Paris, and decided to photograph them, through the seasons, as men of power, holding their symbol of strength in their hand and striking poses worthy almost of a dandy. There they are on their territory: the streets, with their pavements and their tarmac, and the public parks. Fréger has departed from the terrain of youth and apprenticeship to look at a different age group, one where time has slowly left its mark on their faces. Some of them had been road sweepers for thirty years. The uniform lies entirely in its colour, that very characteristic green. And yet, their presence is so familiar that these green men are often invisible to the hurrying passer-by. They are always there, though, with their eyes on the ground, quietly cleaning up after everybody.