Book spreads courtesy of MACK
A Perpetual Season by Grégoire Pujade-Lauraine, (MACK, 2014), BUY
The street has been a theatre for ordinary occurances since we built these structures around us. From the ordinary nature of daylight, the night takes on a whole new view as people pass by with incredibly coloured t-shirts. They have no idea how beautiful they make the city. Shape and structure have formed our paths of navigation, allowing us to transport ourselves around and to complete our daily tasks. Cars sit down in spaces and the paint on walls eventually crack. A man looks to the side of himself to see if a car is headed his way. Maybe he has just seen a friend.
Living quarters of the workers of the city are confined to areas conveniently placed amongst local ammenities. Small areas of living form our lives as the city breathes in and out and working hands help it continue the respiritory process. Hands press down on turning cogs as a cigarette is lit. Smoke comes out. Bodies lean down to snub the butt end of a cigarette. Work resumes. This occurance is universal.
Navigation is formed through shape and colour. Everyone knows the drill. This is something self-taught since we were children, coming together when our own lives form into independent existence.
Throughout this process an observer stalks the night and day placing moments into Grégoire Pujade-Lauraine’s eye line. Shaping the world as he sees it, there is a surreal nature to moments that are rarely worth remembering. We walk the same path to work, we avoid the same bump as we cycle and we perform the same tasks. Our vocation is like clock work.
The traditional view of street photography relied on the astounding happening in the ordinary, but rarely do we get to witness the quiet moments as they unfold. We are too busy with our own narratives to notice.
Printed upon the pages of Pujade-Lauraine’s A Perpetual Season are moments that are silent but drenched in narrative. It seeps into our mindsets as they slowly work their magic on potential viewers. Clothing blends into crème concrete walls as people effortlessly walk into the frame of the photographer’s sight. They are placed into a box and perform moments that are so perfect that they defy reality.
Red, blue, crème and grey all meet at different times of the day to form harmony amongst the collection of pictures. Colour always prevails.
Stylistically the structure of the photograph does not jump for our attention but we are powerless in viewing them, to experience them and more importantly to witness the moments unfolding. The city’s formulated lines become a backdrop to life as it continues its progression.
Nothing special has happened in this process but it all feels vital. It is the reason why our lights continue to shine, why our heating continues to keep us warm and how we feed ourselves each day. The city needs maintenance just like we do and our formalities throughout the day make this possible.
With an underlying layer of dirt, the sense of decay is hard to ignore. The bricks tire just like our bones do. As each foot pounds the surface of concrete, we slowly crumble and fade. The notion of death in the city is a natural cycle of the lands existence but more importantly our own. Without us, the environment is merely a collection of materials forming structure. We are the reason any of it is there.
Written by Alexander Norton / Published 23 March 2015