WANDERING INTO ABANDONED BUILDINGS | PARIS
1) What inspires you in your city?
Diversity inspires me: social, cultural, artistic, architectural diversity… And the way in which the city and its diversities evolve and communicate with each other. I mostly enjoy taking photos of architecture in the La Défense neighborhood, which is quite futuristic. For instance, there is an abandoned building nearing the end of it. I can take photos of the Parisian wealth with its classy monuments and touristy neighborhoods one day, and the next day concentrate on the poverty that is visible on each street corner - without really confronting it. I try to seize these moments of life and show how I perceive my city. From the top of a building, for instance, or through the confrontations with hard parts of daily life. Paris has different aspects, and that’s what I love. This city fits my personality really well. I like the changes, the movement, and seeing new things. I am someone who quickly grows tired of things, but this city - she - surprises me every day.
2) What does living in a European city mean to you?
That which characterizes living in a European city is simply its diversity, the great richness. We are fortunate enough to be able to live here in relative peace, which unfortunately is not the case everywhere. I also enjoy the easy and immediate access to culture and art. I am lucky to live in a city where culture occupies the center-stage thanks to its many museums, exhibitions, concerts and shows. I try to enjoy this to the fullest. Every city has its own character, which takes shape through its population, architecture and cultural events. And more, of course.
3) Do you think the city (as a concept) is changing?
Of course. Change could even be its most defining feature. I came across the work of Alex Soloviev who made a series of short videos focusing on a European city each time. In his video about Paris, he says, "Paris is the only city that changes every time you visit it" and I sort of agree with him. On the other hand, I still can’t really say for sure because I don’t think I have yet visited enough cities to make a fair comparison. But as a Parisian, it has always been my feeling. I know my city well - its good addresses, its nooks and crannies. I always manage to walk into an alley, a gallery, a park, or a building under construction that I did not yet know. A building can be destroyed overnight and give way to another. I enjoy going for a walk in the yards. But I also like to go into old abandoned structures that often rub shoulders with renewal construction projects. These are all the factors that lead me to believe that the city will continuously change.
4) How has your city changed since you’ve started photographing it?
This is a very good question because, in fact, I no longer see Paris the same way since I started to photograph it. I am always on the lookout for a building under construction, an interesting perspective or an atypical face. I find myself looking up in search of a rooftop to get a nice view. The city sometimes plays tricks on me; I often get hit by bikes because I look everywhere except right ahead. Before, I didn't pay a lot of attention to all the details that make a city - to the symmetry that forms the white stripes of the pedestrian crossings, to the shadows on the walls and the interplay of lights when there is sun ... to name just two examples.
I think that the moment you no longer see the world in the same way is the moment you become a photographer. I feel that my eye is constantly working. I have learned to look, observe, and to see. Photography has allowed me to rediscover my city, and even more so the world around me.