Dear friends, it’s time to share the big news: I am extremely proud to announce that my second book Green Urbex: The World Without Us has now been released by Albin Michel! You will find all my latest photographs there.
What if mankind disappeared completely from the earth? Through the pages, you will see the floors covered by dust, walls cracked, wood rotting, and nature invading slowly those places that used to be full of life, reminding us of the necessity to live in harmony with our habitat. Nature cannot resist the pressure and damage Man is doing for much longer. Through the pages, I will take you on a journey with me to castles, schools, hospitals, factories, and churches that have been forgotten by us.
It’s really interesting and strange at the same time to see that we have a huge fascination for ruins and a world where mankind has disappeared, which explains the success of post-apocalypse shows or video games. What do we love so much in them? I would imagine that, like many people, discovering the decaying house at the end of the street is a memory we all have deep inside of us.
When I encounter such a place, my goal is that everybody can travel in the past with me and make up the stories they decide to want to: Why was this place abandoned? What happened to the former owners? What used to happen in this room? People make their own kind of answer. It makes them go into their imaginary world and become the hero of their own adventure where they are the detective. Each story will be different from one another, and that’s what I love. To me, my pictures act as a new kind of “Memento Mori”; they are here to remind us that everything has an end and that we should enjoy it while it lasts.
Childhood is the key to my inspiration. I would imagine that, like many people, discovering the decaying house at the end of the street is a memory we all have deep inside of us. When I encounter such a place, my goal is that everybody can travel in the past with me and make up the stories they decide they want to. We can see in my photographs what the world could look like if humans disappeared from earth and I don’t know exactly why, but we are all fascinated by this post-apocalyptic vision (in urbex, but also in comics, video games, books, or series: the term “ruin porn” was even invented to describe this fascination). Maybe we need to be the witness of that to enjoy what we have and the time in front of us. But now my inspiration is also to show people that what we have the chance to have isn’t eternal and that we need to take care of our planet if we don’t want to precipitate the already many disturbing threats.
At first, I was mainly interested in exploring; I wanted to go away from Paris, as I felt I was spending too much time in the city. I needed to breathe in the countryside. I went for a day to explore some abandoned houses with a friend in the north, I realized it was exactly what I wanted. Photography came little by little. In the beginning, I just wanted to bring back photographic memories of my trips, so I didn’t really work on the composition. The result was pretty messy. But with time, I gave more attention to photography itself and tried to have an aesthetic approach to give a good reflection of what the place was looking like. Then, I discovered a community doing the same and sharing their work on forums, which helped me to learn and pushed me to improve my skills.
For me, the personal difficulties would be the distance you have to travel to go to these places and the money you have to spend! Also, as these buildings are always in a state of advanced decay, I sometimes have to walk on rotten floors that aren’t really reassuring. As I am pretty tall, I am always worried about going through the floor and hurting myself. That’s why I am very careful when I explore these places, never alone. As a whole community, the most difficult part of abandoned photography nowadays is the problem of locations being shared online and bringing vandalism, fire, or burglary there. The phenomenon gets worse and worse with social media and many places get trashed in a month or two; so you need to be discreet about your recent travels and not leave any clues about where you’ve been.
You can already find Green urbex: The world without us in your favorite bookshop or online. I hope you will take as much pleasure reading this as I had to make it. Do not hesitate to ask me any questions you have about my book or anything else.
As you may have guessed, I am passionate about the abandoned heritage Man leaves behind him. Castles, houses, churches, factories, cinema or hospitals; any location where human life was and where dereliction has taken over. I want each photograph to tell a story but also to push people to imagine what used to happen there a long time ago. But I am also concentrating on places where vegetation has overgrown and which make you think mankind has disappeared and earth is regaining control. Being a witness to underline the strength of nature that always takes back what’s hers, but also the ephemeral aspect of human constructions; symbolized here by the progress of vegetation through what remains of humans’ past lives is one of my goals. There is also a post-apocalyptic style with this decay. Trying to capture what is beautiful in what remains is important to me and showing how the disappearance of man can create a strange and magical atmosphere. My main objective is that everybody can see inside them the stories they decide to invent and to make up: Why was this place abandoned? What happened to the former owners? What used to happen in this room? People make their own kind of answer. It makes them go in their imagination and become the hero of their own adventure where they are the detective. Each story will be different from one another, and that’s what I love. To me, my pictures act as a new kind of “Memento Mori”; they are here to remind us that everything has an end and that we should enjoy it while it lasts.
Actually, this is my second book after “Ask the dust” that I released in 2016 with an English publisher. But this time, I got in touch with the French publisher Albin Michel who asked me if I wanted to create a book to show what the world would look like if humans disappeared. I was very eager to work on a new project since five years passed since the last one and I had many new photographs I wanted to show.
It went well because we decided since the beginning to have a special structure in the book: the abandoned places will get gradually more and more derelict as we go through the pages. So, the locations are very clean, like untouched, then little by little, dust appears, walls are cracked and finally turn into ruins and vegetation spread everywhere. I am very happy with the result, the paper is amazing and the book itself is from high-quality material. I think my favorite pictures are in the book so I hope the public will like them as much I do!
Well, the first thing and maybe the most important part is to find those places! Spending a lot of time on the internet and doing research online is the basis. Of course, real-life meetings with friends, networks, or strangers can sometimes lead to amazing discoveries; but most of the time, it is from online papers or articles with little clues that lead from time to time to the best discoveries. Then, you need to plan and organize a trip to photograph several of those locations. Finding a discreet way in and not being seen is also important. Then, once inside, I try to explore the place and impregnate myself with the atmosphere and its history. I want my photographs to reflect what I felt there while wandering in the building. Moreover, I always capture the place with the maximum light that I can to put some more life into the picture.
I have had the chance to travel a lot this last decade for work or for abandoned places. And I intend to continue this way even if with Covid, it’s really more difficult to plan and travel as much as I want to. So, now, I focus more on close European countries where travel is still possible and easy. But I still have some dreams and a long list of countries far away to explore and photograph for their amazing places.
I did business school, then an MBA in audiovisual production, so I guess the most important thing is that it doesn’t matter what you did before or what is your background, there is not a unique way to art: it’s always good timing to start creating if you really want to do this. Taking time to observe what surrounds us, believing in yourself, and never giving up even when things get harder is the obvious but true advice we should all try to follow for me. Oh, and maybe not to focus too much on social media; originality is elsewhere.
I’m 37, and I live in France, Paris. As an autodidact, every shooting is a way for me to improve and to try new technics. Before photography, I was working in the cinema industry and I am still very passionate about movies. I think it helps me in how I see and capture some locations, but also in the processing (importance of cropping/symmetry), for example. Now, the environment is my main subject of work and focus. Many of my pictures have a clear environmental message. When you see how humans created giant garbage in an underground cavern or how nature can be strong and beautiful when Man is not around, it’s a way of reminding us what can happen if we are not careful and that is the main subject of my book. To realize that our entire world could look like that if we continue on this path.
I hope the readers will feel like they are traveling with me when they look at my pictures! As I can only speak about urbex, the first piece of advice I could give is to take pleasure doing what you do. Explore all kinds of things and always try to find a new way to photograph things. You will always have the time after to settle and have your own style. Discovering the work of fellow photographers is also a way to mix new ideas. Searching online in your area or just taking your car in the countryside for an afternoon are good ways to find hidden jewels anywhere. Always explore with a friend and be careful while exploring rotten buildings, of course! And don’t forget the urbex motto: “Take only photographs, leave only footprints”.
Photography – Bored Panda