As the French approach their May 6 national elections, there is at least one thing they can agree upon: the coolness of the exhibit “La Chute” (“The Fall”) by photographer Denis Darzacq, currently on display in Paris. The pictures – haunting, modern, and breathtakingly beautiful – feature young men frozen as they apparently plummet in free fall through urban space. Each person is dreadfully alone, caught somewhere between the earth and sky, and surrounded by eerily abandoned cityscapes: shuttered windows, empty alleyways, deserted pharmacies.
Darzacq created the images not through digital tricks but by enlisting the help of break-dancers and using locations on the outskirts of Paris ignored by romantic photographers like Robert Doisneau. He was inspired by the 2005 riots in those working-class suburbs and has said his intent (so French) was to illustrate an alienated generation. The sense of estrangement is palpable, but so too is the odd and chilly beauty of gravity.
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