In many ways, it’s hard to imagine seeing a “fresh” photograph from the streets of Paris. It’s all been done before. However, Spanish-born photographer Marcel Pedragosa has created a series that captures the modern urbanity of Paris in dark, intimate, anonymous moments of blurred contemporary existence.
There is another challenge to making fresh photography in Paris. France has one of the world’s most stringent privacy laws: They prohibit the publication of a picture of a person in public without their permission. This is ironic, because French photographers Cartier-Bresson, Doisneau and Brassai, were essential in the development of candid street photography as we know it today; they have influenced several generations of photographers. But their photographs of unknown strangers would be considered illegal according to current French laws.
Pedragosa found a way to make great, emotional, modern candid photographs of strangers without breaking the law.
He says this about his new series of French photography:
“This photographic series focuses on daily activity within public spaces: the metro, sidewalks, or any interior space depicting anonymous individuals of different gender, race and social condition.
“All of these images have been taken in the city of Paris, where I moved specifically to concentrate on this particular type of photography. As I believe the images indicate, the main purpose of this selection is not to show Paris “as we know it”. The images could come from any western metropolis. Within the whole body of work exists a clear effort to escape from the cliché in order to present blurred but credible characteristics of contemporary society. Solitude, individualism and ambiguity are some of the abstracts that compose the overarching narrative of these visions.”
Pedragosa’s talent was acknowledged by one of the premiere collections of photography in France, the Bilbliothèque nationale de France (BNF). Shortly after the BNF discovered Pedragosa’s work at the 2011 Lens Culture FotoFest Paris portfolio reviews, they acquired several prints from this series for their permanent collection. A few weeks later, he was invited to participate in The International Festival of City Photography in Russia, Photograffiti, focusing on city life.
— Jim Casper