French designerCamille Walala took on a major challenge, which was to transform one of London’s busiest streets into a completely pedestrianised area.
We are talking about Oxford street which, with its over three hundred stores, is one of the most famous and active shopping streets in the world. During the lockdown, she rode around London on her bike struck by the silence of the streets.
So together with the artistic director Julia Jomaa she decided to give life to this utopian project, where she imagined “the city of tomorrow”.
The images, produced in collaboration with OmniVisual, transform the busy area into a pedestrian area, accompanied by trees, plants and fountains, and painted with bright colors and stripes.
A radical change inspired by the agora of ancient Greece, which would be good for the city, but not only for its inhabitants, a place where people can meet, rest and socialize.
A mix of colors, geometric shapes, raised planters and installations for one of the busiest streets, a projection of what London could be like one day.
It was the ’50s when in order to address the housing crisis, the arrival in large urban centers of foreign immigrants and not only and respond to new needs for comfort, the so-called “Grands Ensembles” were born around Paris. These are large housing centers characterized by a modernist design that from their construction to date have gone through several phases.
At the beginning, their monumentality brought with it a dream, a symbol of recovery from the war and an unstoppable modernization. Over time, however, all the flaws of these places became evident – the distance from the city centers, the few connections, the lack of places dedicated to public life – and gradually they became semi-fatiguing places, evidence of a future that never happened.
A few years ago, French photographerLaurent Kronental was, to say the least, fascinated by the “Grands Ensembles” around Paris, so much so that he dedicated an entire project to them. “Souvenir d’un Futur” is the result of 4 years of exploration among these living centers, from “Les Damiers” in Courbevoie to “Les Tours Aillaud” in Nanterre, from the PavéNeuf and the Espaced’Abraxas in Noisy-le-Grand to the Cité Curial-Cambrai in the 19th arrondissement.
But the melancholy title reveals something else.
In fact, the lens of his 4×5 camera, in addition to capturing the forms of the architecture, also focuses on the faces of those who live there and who, like them, have in a certain sense been abandoned: the elderly.
The link between environment and man could not be stronger and clearer: the buildings that once represented the future are now living a period of degradation, forgotten by society and, sometimes, waiting to be demolished to make room for something new. With bitterness in our mouths, we can only admit that this is exactly what happens to most elderly people, forced to live in a society that is increasingly focused on young people and that often leaves behind, forgets its oldest representatives.
In “Souvenir d’un Futur” this feeling of abandonment and oblivion is underlined by several technical and stylistic choices: Laurent Kronental decided to shoot early in the morning, with empty streets and no people around to give a greater feeling of desolation; he used a 4×5 camera that gave him the possibility to use the tilt-shift technique, perfect for photographing buildings and capturing all the monumentality of architecture; he deliberately excluded young people – although they too live in the “Grands Ensembles” – to leave room for the real protagonists of these places.
And so, through the shots of Laurent Kronental we follow the signs of time on the facades of these evanescent buildings, but also on the faces of the people, in their gazes, sad and proud at the same time, also symbols of a generation that was young and perhaps continues to be so.
Henrik Purienne is a documentary photographer from a small town in South Africa. After moving to Cape Town, he discovers Kloofhill, a complex of apartments with which he falls in love and quickly becomes obsessed with it thanks to the furniture that stimulates harmony and a connection between his mind and the surrounding environment. Purienne suffers from a disease called AIS or Aesthetic Irritability Syndrome that requires him to meticulously treat his relationship between the order of space and the mental order. For this reason, he needs to be in stimulating environments to be able to perform at best.
Jeux de Peau is his latest book, published on November 9th by the IDEA publishing house. The entire project was produced inside the house where he currently lives in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles. This environment was able to provide him with the right inspiration to take shots that deal with a theme very dear to him: the power that design has, how it can transform our life experience and how photography is able to capture exemplary moments especially not only from a concrete/material point of view but also from a metaphorical/spiritual one. The idea behind all his work has its roots in the complex of Kloofhill who helped him to develop the part of his creativity. This is an environment that Purienne defines as “defined” but that at the same time manages to convey a sense of freedom thanks to natural phenomena such as the sunlight that filters through the trees on the inner walls and the clouds of light that on sunny days almost go to rest on the mountains. What emerges from his shots in the book is his ability to capture life, subjects, and objects within his environment and inner space – understood as a metaphor. In addition, thanks to his photographs he is able to document real things that enhance the power of art and the intangibility of emotions.
According to Henrik Purienne, the magic of design and photography lies in the strong ability to give a state of mind a more introspective and reflective nuance until it is internalized and made its own, as if it were a sort of philosophical thought. Jeux de Peau is subtitled ‘Physical space as mental space‘. The book comes in a specially made cardboard box and can be purchased online.
Make-up, creativity, a conceptual view of things and a unique personal style, these are the four key ingredients in the self-portraits of Nassia Stouraiti, a young, self-taught photographer from Greece.
Nassia is 22 years old, she studied law and communication at the National Kapodistrian University of Athens and has always been passionate about photography. In her shots she is the protagonist of the scene, using herself as a blank canvas, immortalising her face like a painting and enriching it with different make-up and colours.
Her aesthetic vision of the world takes inspiration from cinema and from great European directors such as Federico Fellini, Ingmar Bergman, Pedro Almodóvar and Paolo Sorrentino. Although she works and experiments extensively with photography, Nassia Stouraiti dreams of working with the seventh art. So, just like these great directors, she too, in her own way, seems to want to dig deep into her inner self and analyse existential concepts with photography. Her shots carry a profound message about identification, the image of women, the relationship with others, dreams and reality.
After all, her art is conceptual and should therefore be looked at, appreciated and interpreted personally.
Soft Tissue, a project born from the collaboration between photographer Prue Stent and artist Honey Long, explores female sensuality through the eyes of those who ignore stereotypes.
In fact, always fascinated by the meaning of gender identity, the creative duo wanted to focus the lens on body portions generally not considered sensual. Skin, hair, veins and defects become the protagonists of shot between the grotesque and the dreamlike.
Everything is focused on the detail that disturbs, on textures and details that almost resemble the beauty of unexplored landscapes.
The aim of the project is to encourage the viewer not to become a slave of a single point of view, rather than to create their own associating different ideas with shapes that have now become descriptive.