Thursday, 7 February 2013

Benoit Fougeirol photo book review entitled Autour/Around by Jim Casper

Benoit Fougeirol's quiet, meditative photographs explore what happens on the fringes of the city of Paris. These are ambiguous spaces, where man-made constructions and machinery struggle for dominance with nature, which is always ready to reclaim a neglected building, car or 
railway track.

This kind of subject matter has been photographed before, but Fougeirol's subtlety and nuance makes his book particularly rewarding. The photos open up to reveal bits of ephemeral delight as you spend more time with them. A series of conceptual poems by Michael Batalla conclude the book 
(in French, with English translations), and nicely complement the photographer's work. Here is an example:

, small shapes
At the threshold of the packed zone surrounded by levees of rubble ..., debris
Bulldozed embankments "shards" of walls . pieces of slabs ...Pioneer flowering of ruderals
fleabane .. nettles .. dwarf sow-thistles from the rubble their roots draw from the abstract black cement
of the darkinterstitial vacuoles, the wind irrigates the night of stones
— Jim Casper


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