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Laurent Kronental: Documenting Forgotten Generation

Documentary Photography by Laurent Kronental

Laurent Kronental is a Parisian self-taught photographer born in 1987. His interest in photography started during his stay in Beijing. The big metropolis and people’s way of life inspired him to start documenting everyday life and stories of ordinary people.

His first project, Souvenir d’un Futur, is dedicated to the stories of “forgotten generation” and their life in large estates in Parisian suburbs. His second project, Les Yeux des Tours, emphasizes an inner aesthetic of living space and the outside futuristic look of towers in Nanterre.

Laurent’s work was published in magazines Washington Post, National Geographic, British Journal of Photography, The Guardian, Aesthetica Magazine, Business Insider, Port Magazine and many others. The photographer was nominated for prestige awards and grants. He won “la Bourse du Talent” for the “Souvenir d’un Futur” in the category landscape. In 2016 he got people’s choice award at Circulation(s) Festival. Laurent Kronental exhibits around the world: Paris, Moscow, London, Athens, and Seoul.

Laurent Kronental - Souvenir d'un Futur series, minus37 (2)
Laurent Kronental - Souvenir d'un Futur series

The Passing of Time and the Energy of Life – Souvenir D’Un Futur

Souvenir d’un Futur is Laurent’s first photography project. The photographer spent four years (2011-2014) documenting everyday life of elderly in Paris. Laurent took photos in grands ensembles – the large estates in the suburbs that surround Paris. This housing complex arose as a response to the housing crisis that happened in a period of big urban migrations (1950-1980).

These buildings were the symbol of modernization, but today they are marginalized and people who live there forgotten by society. The photos were taken with a large film camera to show the monumental architecture of the buildings. But apart from interesting futuristic architectural solutions, the spotlight is on residents of the complex.  Older community members live in grands ensembles from the period they were young workers. The melancholy, but also dignity and strength of old people, dominate in the photos. The photographer’s idea was to show the result of changes in architecture and urban solutions that affect human lives. The photographer’s artistic project supports the issues of ageism and quality of life in unsuitable areas for the elderly.

The title Souvenir d’un futur recalls the melancholy of aging and the lost illusions of a concrete universe that was once full of promise.

Laurent Kronental - Les Yeux des Tours series
Laurent Kronental - Les Yeux des Tours series

Parisian Panorama Through the Portholes of the Tours Aillaud

Laurent second project (2015-2017), Les Yeux des Tours, introduces us with the new perspective of the cityscape. The photographer took photos through the portholes of the Tours Aillaud, towers located in Nanterre, in the Pablo Picasso district. These 18 buildings were constructed by the architect Emile Aillaud between 1973 and 1981. The complex contains 1600 apartments with colorful mosaic decorations made by artist Fabio Rieti. Laurent Kronental was fascinated by the architecture of the buildings. He started to ask himself how people live there and what can we see through those windows. The series of photos represents the life from the inside of the towers. The focus is on the retro details and the outside landscape.Inside and outside worlds resonate together and interact into a variety of nuances.” This project also stresses the importance of the perspective in photography.

The eyes of the towers open up and take in the view of a concrete landscape morphing into meaningful signs.

All images copyright of Laurent Kronental.

You can view more work by Laurent Kronental his Website and Instagram.

Article written by Danica Jovic

 

Laurent Kronental - Les Yeux des Tours series, minus37 (4)

 

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