This article originally appeared on VICE France
Balaruc-Les-Bains is a seaside spa town in the south of France, roughly 20 miles from Montpellier. Each year, swarms of retired working and middle class people visit for a couple of weeks to get their treatments, cure rheumatisms, and enjoy the sun. They take their treatment in the morning and go to the beach, play pétanque, or have a drink in one of the bars on the promenade in the afternoon. Every Sunday, there's a tea dance in the early evening.
Most buildings in Balaruc-Les-Bains seem to be made of cardboard, but the visitors don't mind. They're not rich people, but they've worked hard for decades and they're now making the most of their retirement.
This series was inspired by a different project I recently did in black and white. I followed my grandfather around for two years, who suffered from Alzheimer's and was living in a care facility. I documented his relationship with my grandmother until his death. That was an emotional project, so with this one, I wanted to take the opposite approach. I decided to work with colors, outside, under the sun, showing another side of old age. The side that, despite some health concerns, is very happy and enjoys life to the fullest. Old age isn't just about physical and mental decline, and that's what I needed to be reminded of.
Yann Castanier is a French photographer and member of the Hans Lucas studio. Follow him on his website.