Our Grandparents’ Playhouses

Nicolas Henry is a filmmaker, photographer and artist. Usually based in Paris/Marseilles, he is currently working on a major photographic series – Les Cabanes de nos Grands Parents. This has seen him traverse the world from Marrakech to Moscow, meeting and engaging with all sorts of grandparents.

Pangamic Ame Haji

Henry travels to the home of each of his subjects (he says a friendship is sealed when you visit a home) and invites them to make a hut or play-space with their personal belongings. Inspired by their childhoods, the resulting huts are intimate glimpses into their strikingly rich and diverse lives.

Nicolas Henry

If you can read French (or use a translation tool) you should visit Henry’s site and read why each space is a a reflection of their imagination. I always appreciate it when older people have the chance to share their stories, their loves, their dreams.


Delightfully, Henry had the good fortune to meet and photograph my wonderful grandmother in New Zealand. As I understand it they met while she was volunteering at the local visitors centre of her seaside village.


Here she is in her much beloved but wild sub-tropical garden – click for a larger view.  The picture above Betty’s head is one of her crocheted woolen blankets and a portrait of her as a young girl. Note the teaspoon collection in the back! I love this photograph so much.