Tag Archives: Rooftops

Archive of Modern Conflict @ Paris Photo 2012

A Cyanotype plant study. The world record parachute jump from 1932. Rooftops in St. Petersberg, Scott’s Terra Nova expedition. A West African king. Cumulus humiliis. An abstract composition. A Kominka dancer. An observatory. Another plant study. These are just a handful of the prints that were showcased in ‘Collected Shadows’ – a stunning exhibition from the Archive of Modern Conflict at this year’s Paris Photo.

Deftly assembled by curator Timothy Prus, the show was a gloriously eclectic jamboree that displayed all manner of photography’s styles, periods and ends. Spanning works from 1850 to the present day by both anonymous and name photographers including Gustave Le Gray, Robert Frank, Bertha Jaques, Josef Sudek and Willi Ruge, and arranged in sections according to themes of earth, fire, air, water and ether, ‘Collected Shadows’ was richly satisfying and undoubtedly the most talked about booth at the fair.

Below is a video interview (produced by The Art Newspaper), the first half of which features Prus discussing how the archive has grown and the ideas behind the installation. It’s a revealing, albeit brief, insight into the quirky mind of the collector known for his penchant for photographic oddities of the past. He is clearly as fascinated by the magic of photography as he is by the mysteries of life. After all, the collecting style is freighted with an acute awareness of the tendency for people to crow over the misery of others and the role images play within that.
The jewel in the crown of the exhibition was the new Bruce Gilden portraits, odd-looking sitters shot mostly on Brick Lane in London, that were hung on the outer wall of the booth. Each photograph was ingeniously paired alongside a historical work such as a wax-paper negative from 1858 showing the garden of a private house in Tehran, for example. Both images on their own were extraordinary, but their combination proved an intoxicating mix.

For those wishing to discover more, the Archive of Modern Conflict has an online shop for its books where you can browse titles from the likes of Stephen Gill and Larry Towell as well as their own fabulous journals. The latest, issue 4, comprises photographs from ‘Collected Shadows’. Check out the slideshow of sample images here.

Stephanie de Rouge

Some photographers are natural observers, and some take that curiosity to another level and want to open a few drawers and dig a little deeper.  French photographer, Stephanie de Rouge, is one of those visual investigators, probing into the pysche of how we humans function, especially in big city life.  Stephanie has traversed a number of approaches to looking at our lives–shooting New Yorkers in their bedrooms or on their rooftops, and with the work featured below, In Your Fridge, shooting what her subjects eat, or at least have in their refrigerators.

After 30 years in Paris, Stephanie now makes her home in New York, teaching at the International Center for Photography, works as a contributor for Le Journal de La Photographie and the New York Times, and is a freelance portrait photographer.  Her work has been featured in many publications and she has exhibited widely, with two recent exhibitions in Paris.


Through my travels, I have developed a fascination for big cities and their devastating energy.  Since I live and work in New York, I am more than ever wondering how humans survive those tentacular – always exciting – and often hostile urban spaces.  How they preserve their singularity and intimacy, where they find the soft, he poetic, the soothing, where they hide their secrets.

 Brookkyn, NY, Famille Englund

I started the project by shooting portraits of New Yorkers in their bedrooms (In Your Room) thinking it could be a good place for intimacy.  I was wrong. Or not exactly right.  The building walls don’t talk.  New Yorkers move all the time, share/sublet bedrooms…Not a good setting for a long term relationship with one self.

 Brooklyn, NY, Andrew et Framton

Quickly, my subjects whispered a few words about a place dear to their hearts: rooftops.  An outdoor space for intimacy? Why not…Let’s see…I discovered more than 40 of these urban shelters between earth and sky (On Your Roof), and as fascinated not by the amazing light, not by the phenomenal views, but by the real people I met up there and the very touching stories they shared with me.

 Brooklyn, NY, Fred

Then I got thirsty…Can I grab a juice in the fridge?

 New York, NY, John

Hmmm….what’s with the Barbie doll behind the salad? From Paris to New York, I opened more than 45 fridges and discovered quite amazing worlds.  Much more elaborate and revealing than I had expected in the first place.  But I knew I was at a milestone in my quest of intimacy on big cities when people actually started refusing to show their fridges.  As if something too personal was stacked between the cheddar cheese and the mayonnaise.  So…show me (what you eat) your refrigerator, I’ll tell you who you are? Maybe. Maybe no.

 New York, NY, colocataries

 New York, NY, Charmaine et Marc

 Paris, Aurore

 Paris, Famille Doucet

 Paris, Famille Reytier

 Paris, Famille Rouge

 Paris, Marie

 Paris, Monique

 Paris, Pierre

 Paris, Thierry

 Queens, NY, Famille Hamad

Rye, NY, Famille Fillion

TED prize video: Using photography to change the world

Young French photographer/activist/artist, JR, (he goes by his initials), has made the urban world his own outdoor photo gallery. He’s posted his billboard-size photographs — usually portraits of people who live in the area where he displays the photos — on the sides of buildings, on rooftops, wrapped around whole train cars, on the houses that cover a ghetto slum hillside, and even on the wall that divides Israel from Palestine. His work is at once compassionate and provocative. stevia . He won the $100,000 TED prize in 2011, and here is his funny yet passionate speech about how he tries to use art to change the world. Inspiring!

TEDTalks are distributed under a Creative Commons (CC) license. TED Conferences LLC. ted.com/talks

You can also see more of his work, and listen to an early audio interview he made with Lens Culture in 2007: lensculture.com/jr