Gardians have played a vital role in Camargue culture for generations, but their way of life is becoming harder and harder to sustain. (Video still from "Les Gardians: Stewards of the Camargue" by Bob Krist)
Like their American counterparts, the cowboys, France’s gardians cut a dashing figure and loom large in the culture of southern France. Part of a brotherhood formed in the early 16th century, the gardians are the caretakers of the herds of beautiful gray horses and black bulls that roam the largely unfenced Camargue region.
But there are financial and cultural pressures squeezing the men and women who make this their life’s work, and today there are fewer than 40 or so professional gardians left in the Camargue. I spent some time with the gardians and their handsome charges last spring, and filed this video report:
Les Gardians: Stewards of the Camargue from Bob Krist on Vimeo.
Bob Krist, contributing editor at National Geographic Traveler, is an award-winning freelance photographer who works regularly on assignment for magazines such as Traveler, Smithsonian, and Islands.