He is on almost every cruise, where he captures the sublime, suspended, timeless moments that passengers experience on board and on land. Elie Vannier is a videographer aboard PONANT cruises.

Visiting a Papuan tribe

He has filmed many incredible and intense moments. Cruises promise heightened emotions and exceptional encounters. On board, with famous guests or marine mammals that approach the ship. On land, with indigenous communities or when nature reveals its stunning beauty.

But the moment Elie remembers above all others took place on the island of New Guinea during a cruise aboard Le Lapérouse. Elie works intuitively. As usual, he let himself be led by instinct, all the more important as he didn’t know the region. When Stéphane, the PONANT expedition leader, told him that the Papuan tribe was holding a welcome ceremony for them the next day, Elie was delighted. Better still, he was lucky enough to go to the village before the passengers arrived for location scouting.


In the Men’s House

“Bam”: that’s how Elie describes arriving at the village via the Sungai Blumen river. Made up of houses and streets, the village is on stilts, made of wood so dark that you would think it painted black, contrasting with the brightly coloured roofs… As someone who works with images, the view was almost too beautiful for Elie. Elie and the scouting team were invited to the preparatory meeting for the welcome ceremony. A first for the PONANT teams. An ancestral ritual was performed behind closed doors in the Men’s House. Elie understood how important this chance to attend really was, enjoying (and filming!) every moment.

Even though he didn’t understand its full meaning, he felt like he was watching a fascinating ancient ballet. And then, with the arrival of the passengers, the welcome ceremony and the explanations of the naturalist guide, everything became clear for Elie!

Photo credits: © Studio PONANT / Charlotte Ortholary

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