From Magnum Photos:
Alex Majoli’s work in Marseille finds its form here in a series of diptychs: a “portrait in black” appears next to a close view of a nocturne close-up landscape of areas under work in Marseille. They were made for the Ministry of Culture about the social-architectural transformation of the city of Marseille called EUROMED.
From this juxtaposition results an impression of beauty, strength, and visual pleasure. It doesn’t come only from a visually pleasant image, but from a unity, a meeting of intents that are both at the origin of and enriched by the specific process of creation of this particular project. The combination of the two pictures is sustained by the strong priciple of the personal experience, constant in the work of Alex Majoli, and by the unique taste and direction: always wanting to go to the core point, always having the essential questions, questions with no answer, always being “clinical” as Alex himself says.
The black background in the portraits is an effect created during the shooting, in full daylight. With a very limited exposure and a strong flash. The people in the portraits are mostly people doing the same routine trip in the streets of Marseille center. Some are passing by here by very chance. Alex isn’t interested in the posture but by the position: where are they? The exact position on Earth retrieved by the GPS is the unique complementary information given by the photographer. Can the latitude and longitude give us an answer?
The same artificial light characterizes the landscapes, photographed at night, while the city is sleeping. Alex went back during the night with the same GPS navigator. As the person is no longer the character of the plot of life imposed by the context, “the landscapes are not really landscapes.” They are small pieces of reality, just as we are. -Lorenza Orlando