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Thomas Jorion
Thomas Jorion
Thomas Jorion

Thomas Jorion

Country: France
Birth: 1976

Thomas Jorion (b. 1976, lives in Paris) photographs urban ruins and condemned buildings, spaces that no longer serve the purposes for which they were built. His work explores the built environment in a state of entropy, inviting viewers to reflect on the relationship between the material and the temporal.

My work is based on our perception of time, how it passes and especially its lack of linearity. Some places seem frozen as time passes by. While our society is developing and changing very rapidly, these places are submitted to a distorted passing of time. They seem to be lifeless or in a waking state, although in reality they have their own link with time. I travel the world with one idea in mind, to find and show timeless islands. I choose to enter closed and abandoned places formerly alive, and often places of leisure or prestige to capture and share them. My fascination for the esthetic of abandoned places is the extension of an older tradition. The Romantics enjoyed strolling amidst the ruins of long lost civilizations. Centuries earlier, painters such as François de Nomé (1592 – 1623), Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778) and Hubert Robert (1733 – 1808) dedicated part of their work to these forgotten places. Somehow my photos are part of this process. The existence of timeless islands stems from a variety of contemporary phenomena. Though each of these islands has a particular origin depending on its location, all eventually evoke the disappearance of men. In Japan, the line between leisure and consumption is often blurry. Leisure activities that are deemed old-fashioned are disposed of – similar to those handkerchiefs, the “nuigishi,” given out for free on the streets by pretty young ladies. An example of this occurence (occurrence – deux R) is the three-storied, 108-lane bowling alley in a Tokyo suburb. Being out of use for some time, it soon is to be demolished. The expansion of new forms of leisure activities has also led to a booming hotel industry. Better and cheaper flight connections and the growing mobility of global citizens made the world a village, with every destination easy to reach. The province of Izu, which used to be a popular summer destination for the Japanese, is now competing with international destinations as in China or Korea. Hotel complexes or amusement parks now open for business or shut their gates according to short-lived trends in the tourism industry. In America the consequences of the economic crisis have been more disastrous than anyone could hardly have imagined. In the vast landscape of the United States, the possibility to build on new land is considered limitless. The habit of constructing new buildings instead of renovating old ones has proven rather catastrophic for the country. The dramatic consequences can be seen in cities such as Detroit MI, where the “white flag” phenomenon has made matters even worse. Other cities, such as Memphis, TN, or Bridgeport, CT have followed suit. Those cities’ entire cultural and social identities have decayed into ruin. The first places to have become useless for society were theaters, movie theaters, sport centers, schools and churches. Health care institutions, public housing, and judicial systems suffered, too… The failure of American Utopias, photographed by Joel Sternfeld in the late 70s, was already heralding deeper phenomena observed today. On the old continent, the reasons are multiple and the consequences are often the same. Struck by a major structural transformation from industrial to post-modern societies many countries had to turn away from their heavy industry. Gigantic textile factories in Northern Italy have completely disappeared, even sumptuous villas of industrialists were forsaken and left to decay. Twenty years after the reunification this development can also be seen in Germany, where factories became completely unsuitable for the global economy and whole regions became deserted due to migration. There is no denying that these abandoned places now cover all continents and in the name of the profit motive tends to amplify this phenomenon. As for my photographic practice, I wish to conserve the rawness of the places that I observe. This represents a challenge. The frame must be arranged in accordance with the layout of the space and the available light. For me, this reinforces the immaculate and timeless aspect of the place. My use of a large format camera allows me to make sharp and detailed images that contain a variety of focal points, textures, and depths. Capturing the richness of such pictures takes much time, which in turn reduces the number of photographs I can take. The choice of color film is important because it anchors the place within the present moment and allows for a faithful rendering of things seen. This eliminates the austere quality of certain spaces. For example, in the Piedmont theater, the blue, yellow, and brown are muted and soft colors, but they correspond well together to reveal a new beauty.

Source: www.thomasjorion.com

 

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Charles Henry Harbutt (July 29, 1935 – June 30, 2015) was an American photographer, a former president of Magnum, and full-time Associate Professor of Photography at Parsons School of Design in New York. Harbutt was born in Camden, New Jersey, and raised in Teaneck, New Jersey, and learned much of his photography skills from the township's amateur camera club. He attended Regis High School in New York City where he took photographs for the school newspaper. He later graduated from Marquette University. Harbutt's work is deeply rooted in the modern photojournalist tradition. For the first twenty years of his career he contributed to major magazines in the United States, Europe and Japan. His work was often intrinsically political, exhibiting social and economic contingencies. In 1959, while working as a writer and photographer for the Catholic magazine Jubilee, he was invited by members of the Castro underground to document the Cuban Revolution on the strength of three photographs he had published in Modern Photography. An editor at Jubilee while Harbutt was working there, Robert Lax, used photographs taken by Harbutt for the front and back cover of his first book of poetry, The Circus of the Sun. Harbutt joined Magnum Photos and was elected president of the organization twice, first in 1979. He left the group in 1981, citing its increasingly commercial ambitions and the desire to pursue more personal work. He taught photography workshops, exhibited in solo and group shows around the world, and joined the faculty of the Parsons School of Design at New School University as a full-time professor, in addition to serving as guest artist at MIT, Art Institute of Chicago, and the Rhode Island School of Design. Harbutt was a founding member of Archive Pictures Inc., an international documentary photographers' cooperative, and a member of the American Society of Magazine Photographers. His work was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the National Museum of American History, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the U.S. Library of Congress, George Eastman House, the Art Institute of Chicago, the International Center of Photography, the Center for Creative Photography, and at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the Beaubourg, and the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris. In 1997, his negatives, master prints, and archives were acquired for the collection of the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona. He mounted a large exhibition of his work at the Centro de la Imagen in Mexico City in December 2000 and received the medal of the City of Perpignan at a retrospective of his work there in 2004. He died in Monteagle, Tennessee, on June 30, 2015, at the age of 79. He had emphysema.Source: Wikipedia Charles Harbutt’s early fascination with magic and the elusive line between perception and reality steered him toward journalism and its documentary role, first as a writer. But he altered his course in 1959, when he was 23, after being invited by Cuban rebels to document the Castro revolution. Immersing himself in Havana’s convulsive and euphoric newfound freedom, he recalled, “I soon understood that I could get closer to the feel of things by taking pictures.” Mr. Harbutt went on to become an accomplished photojournalist for major magazines and the renowned agency Magnum Photos. “He and Burk Uzzle took photojournalism and pushed it in a direction away from literalism or classicism,” Jeff Jacobson, a former colleague, told The New York Times, referring to a contemporary whose pictures of the Woodstock music festival in 1969 gained wide attention, “away from certainly the European paradigm of Cartier-Bresson, and away from the narrative paradigm of Gene Smith to something very, very different, very involved with metaphor.” But Charles Harbutt became disillusioned with his craft, questioning the veracity of the events he was covering, particularly after witnessing undercover government agents provoke violence at a rally in New Haven in 1970 in support of jailed Black Panthers. “The kinds of stories I chose to do, I later realized, were mostly about American myths,” he wrote in his last book, Departures and Arrivals (2012). “I photographed small towns, immigrants, the barrio in New York, and then the enormous changes that came with the ’60s. I tried to be a witness as well as show my feelings about all of this. But maybe I had a sell-by time — expiration date — for being a witness,” he continued. “In the early ’70s, I started questioning this reportage for myself. A host of manipulators had so corrupted and warped public events, I could no longer trust the authenticity of what I was seeing. I realized that I was more interested in pajamas on a bed one Brooklyn morning, or a Dublin woman hauling groceries to her house, than I was in the machinations of politics and history ‘writ large.’ ” Mr. Harbutt experimented with surreal composition and juxtaposition of quotidian forms in a style he described as personal documentary and facetiously branded “superbanalisms.” Among his most famous black-and-white photographs was one of a blind boy, seemingly trying to transcend his sightlessness by reaching for a ribbon of light on a wall. In another, a bride in a flowing white gown poses pensively below exposed pipes and empty tables in a large basement before her wedding reception. Charles Harbutt’s own favorite, called “Mr. X-Ray Man,” was shot through a car window on the Rue du Départ near the Montparnasse train station in Paris, where fragments of the cityscape and even of the photographer himself can be seen reflected in the glass. What made it special was that it was unexpected, he explained in Arrivals and Departures. “What I like best,” he wrote, “is that however the picture is made, it’s a surprise to me when I see the photo come up in the developer.”Source: The New York Times
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