The picture of Paris painted by Jérôme Sessini during his Paris Live Lab residency eschews clichéd iconography of the city. There are no glimmering lights of the Ville Lumière, but rather an eerie darkness lit by functional urban street lights and the glow of concrete faceless buildings.
The brief for the Paris Live Lab invited photographers to explore the city and produce work responding to it. For Sessini, himself a resident of Paris, opting to delve deep into his feelings about a city he often finds hard to live in results in a study that shows an aloof and unwelcoming side to Paris’s character.
It’s an aspect at odds with the image of Paris as a city of culture with open people with open minds. “I actually don’t like big cities in general, but Paris in particular,” says Sessini, who explains that, in his opinion, Paris has come to show an ugly side of its character in recent times, as gentrification forces out the working classes and middle classes are moving further away from the banlieues. “That’s a reason I preferred to show Paris as I think it is, a cold and impersonal city.”
The Live Lab took place at the Spéos International Photo & Video School.