ARE WE EUROPE
ARE WE EUROPE
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the Ephemeral Generation | Paris

THE EPHEMERAL GENERATION | PARIS

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by Antonia Sehlstedt
& Elin Isabelle Törnblom

I captured the series “The Ephemeral Generation” as part of a workshop with the theme Youth & Night with the photographer Patrick Zachmann. As Elin and I live within the same house in close proximity, but rarely go out together, it felt natural to follow her for a night and explore a side of her I was less familiar with. Together, we explored the theme, and the idea of depicting our current “Ephemeral Generation” came to be. 

How has your city changed since you’ve started photographing it?

We think the beauty of Paris is that it is ever-changing. Against a back-drop of an architecture of history, the city changes for every person that enters and leaves it, taking a piece of Paris with them, or bringing something new to its multicultural quilt. The iconic pictures featuring renowned landmarks, which we are bombarded with on a daily-basis, shape our understanding of the city, and form part of its identity. Living up to this prescribed identity can often be our fall, making it a decadent surrealism. To counteract a feeling of constantly chasing perfection, ephemeral moments of change can be caught by looking at different perspectives.

Do you guys think the city as a concept is changing?

Had you asked Jean Jacques Rousseau this question in the mid-1700s, we doubt he would have told you that in 300 years, individuals would be bound to their phones, avoiding Sunday Mass, and moving through Paris using a network of largely underground public transportation. Yet here we are, doing exactly these things. We think its safe to say that the concept is about as fluid as a fully-functioning, interruption-free, (Metro) Line 4. Though the concept of the city is changing, Paris continues to do its job: connecting individuals, offering opportunities, and filling the world with art and culture.

What does living in a (European) city mean to you?

Access and freedom. These are the first words that come to mind. WE see opportunity in front of us, and stagnation behind. Cities to us represent movements; of culture, information, and the human mind.

What inspires you in your city?

When we think of Paris, we think of the City of Love, where romance, culture, and prospects are boundless. We are overwhelmed by choice, spreading ourselves too thin, wanting to be in a multiplicity of places at once. Living vicariously through fleeting moments. At the same time, we live in a city that is grounded in the past, surrounded by monuments that embody some of the founding features of modern-day society, such as the coming of being of the Republic. Yet, here we are, an ephemeral generation, that does not see the beauty or history that surrounds it, chasing satisfaction in the temporary. Thus, our inspiration for this city lies in the love-hate relationship that has flourished in the paradox of its vivid, momentary, nightlife, in contrast to its historical and everlasting past.

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Antonia Sehlstedt (1991) is a documentary photographer and
Elin Isabelle Törnblom (1993) is her close friend. They are both from Sweden.