on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

End frame: Laurent Kronental « Souvenir d’un Futur »

Elliott Verdier chooses one of his favourite images

Elliott Verdier

Elliott Verdier is a young French photographer who attracted attention and awards few times for his reports on human condition done in different parts of the world: Indonesia with afghan refugees, Burma with drug addicts in a rehab centre or Mongolia in polluted suburbs of Ulanbaataar.

He has now decided to dedicate his photography to long term projects, far from hot news, entering into intimacy of the people he takes pictures of, with his 4x5 large format camera.


It's dawn, and the few streets you can discern at the foot of these strange towers are still deserted by life. We imagine it still asleep, stretched out behind these tiny windows that we come to scrutinize. They're eye-shaped, and you wonder whether we're looking at them or they're spying on you. The sky is turning yellow with the sun's first rays, and the bluish towers are still struggling to warm up. They have a strange allure, like science fiction that has aged a little, weathered by time, days, nights and the sun that tirelessly rises and sets.

We are in France, in the Parisian suburbs, where for four years, photographer Laurent Kronental has focused on the large-scale architectural complexes hastily built after the Second World War and the elderly people who inhabit them. "Souvenir d'un futur" captures the striking contrast between the ageing generation who occupy these grandiose Brutalist-style residential complexes and the futuristic architecture that was once considered a symbol of progress and modernity.

Today, however, reality seems a far cry from the imagination of yesteryear. The suburbs are the focus of some of France's major tensions, usually embodied by a distraught youth whose future no longer looks so prosperous. Issues such as immigration, integration, unemployment and, more broadly, global warming are clouding the skyline.

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