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19.03.2021

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When browsing through the photo book of Paris by Laurent Delhourme, the reader has every reason to be wistful; the vitality of the city, its inhabitants and visitors, can be seen in every picture. People stroll on the streets, connoisseurs sit in cafés, lovers meet on the banks of the Seine: the city appears alive, spontaneous and romantic. No masks are to be seen anywhere. There is only one picture that shows a couple looking grim from behind plastic visors. No curfews, no closed restaurants and businesses, no signs of a pandemic anywhere. The photographer presents a vision of a world that is non-existent at the moment. This is all the more reason why this photo book offers hopeful stimulation, as it acts as a stage for one of the most exciting metropolises in the world.

Few other cities have been so frequently captured in photographs since the investion of the medium. The countless books that celebrate, observe and document Paris, in all its facets, have contributed consistently to the eternal, mythic view the world has of the city. Now, the Paris-based photographer, with his photo book Macadam Paname, has designed a new, noteworthy perspective of the city. His choice is classic black and white: he has spent years roaming the streets of the capital with his Leica, and has compiled a fascinating kaleidoscope of spontaneous encounters and observations. Delhourme uncovers moments in the city’s everyday life that tourists and hasty Parisians often miss, perhaps because they are constantly staring at their mobile phones.

His camera eye does not lurk around aiming to expose, but rather is cheerful and amused. Delhourme seems to retain the gaze of a curious child – a child who marvels at the unusual, and discovers burlesque situations or poetic contradictions on the streets of Paris. His images are often dynamic, full of little stories that unfold in finely-tuned lighting and picture compositions. It is the icons of humanistic photography who impress him: “I am inspired by the work of Elliott Erwitt, Garry Winogrand and Joel Meyerowitz,” the photographer explains. This, Delhourme’s first photo book, is an important addition to the canon of street photography. Even the city's most common clichés that he himself chooses, combine perfectly with his other fresh and stimulating images, while also playing with memory and history, and inspiring our imaginations. Above all, the book touches our longing for the French metropolis’s unique flair. It is such a pleasure to dive into the streets of Paris, through images that cause us to look forward to returning one day. (Ulrich Rüter)

Laurent Delhourme: Macadam Paname
120 pages, 87 black and white images, 30 x 30 cm, French
Hemeria Editions

All pictures: © Laurent Delhourme
Jardin des Tuileries, Paris 1er
Place Vendôme, Paris 1er
Place de l’Opéra, Paris 9e
Métro parisien
Boulevard Haussmann, Paris 9e
Place de Vosges, Paris 4e
Le Grand Palais, Paris 8e
Pont Alexandre-III, Paris 8e
© Laurent Delhourme

Laurent Delhourme

...is from Bordeaux, but has been living in Paris for over 25 years. As a professional photographer, he has worked on numerous commercial campaigns and has been published in both national and international magazines. He has also been producing commercial and documentary films, since 2001. The pictures that appear in his first photo book were taken over the last ten years. The series was initially exhibited at Les Rencontres d’Arles, and during Paris Photo in 2019, and at the Galerie des Photographes in Paris in 2020.

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Many further motifs by the photographer can been found at the LFI Gallery.
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