Jérôme Sessini depicts Paris as a cold and unwelcoming city for the Magnum Live Lab • Magnum Photos

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Architecture

Shunned by the City

For the Magnum Live Lab residency, Jérôme Sessini decided to depict Paris how he sees it – cold and impersonal

Jérôme Sessini

Jérôme Sessini La Défense. Live Lab production. Paris, France. November 5, 2017 © Jérôme Sessini | Magnum Photos

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.

Jérôme Sessini Paris 10th Arrondissement, Live Lab production. Paris, France. November 4, 2017 © Jérôme Sessini | Magnum Photos
Jérôme Sessini Quai de Seine, Live Lab production. Paris, France. November 4, 2017 © Jérôme Sessini | Magnum Photos
Jérôme Sessini Les Olympiades, Paris 13th, Live Lab production. Paris, France. November 1, 2017 © Jérôme Sessini | Magnum Photos
Jérôme Sessini La Défense, Live Lab production. Paris, France. November 5, 2017 © Jérôme Sessini | Magnum Photos
Jérôme Sessini La Défense, Live Lab production. Paris, France. October 31, 2017. © Jérôme Sessini | Magnum Photos
Jérôme Sessini Porte de La Chapelle, Live Lab production. Paris, France. November 4, 2017. © Jérôme Sessini | Magnum Photos

"I preferred to show Paris as I think it is, a cold and impersonal city"

- Jérôme Sessini
Jérôme Sessini Nude N°2, Live Lab production. Paris, France. November 5, 2017. © Jérôme Sessini | Magnum Photos
Jérôme Sessini Nude N°1, Live Lab production. Paris, France. November 5, 2017 © Jérôme Sessini | Magnum Photos
Jérôme Sessini Paris 10th Arrondissement, Live Lab production. Paris, France. November 4, 2017. © Jérôme Sessini | Magnum Photos