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July 5, 2008
When I first saw Denis Darzacq's photos of people floating in urban spaces, or falling from buildings (just about to hit the pavement), I was unnerved. They looked too real, I thought, but they couldn't be real, they must be the result of digital manipulation, putting two photos together as one...
But then, I saw a short documentary video which offered a behind-the-scenes view of how Darzacq captures his magic moments, working with talented young dancers in the streets of suburbs surrounding Paris. It's a little like a magician revealing how he performs a trick. But it's better than that, because we realize that the "trick" requires creative genius and choreography to pull it off successfully.
To my delight, Denis Darzacq and Agence VU' in Paris, have given me a copy of the short 7-minute documentary film to share with the readers of Lens Culture.
Regarding the project shown in this video, Virginie Chardin writes:
"In 2006, Denis Darzacq asked dancers and athletes to perform jumps against backgrounds that he had found and prepared. Wearing ordinary clothes chosen in agreement with the photographer, the performers executed their leaps in these precisely defined settings.
"Everything had been prepared in advance. Everything was ready. The models launched themselves into space. There is nothing false in these scenes . These moments really occurred. There is no fiction, no retouching or special effects. Photographed in the courtyards of buildings or in streets in the 19th arrondissement of Paris, in Nanterre and in Biarritz, these young people were just being themselves, simply performing jumps in a modern urban setting. And the photographer shot the images, intervening only to give a few guidelines as to their movements. However, at the moment of the leap, chance and gravity also intervened."
Take the time to discover more of The Fall (and lots of other cool work) at the Agence VU' website. You can see Darzacq's photographs from a more recent project — Hyper — right here in Lens Culture, and even more at Denis Darzacq's personal site.