Photographer and Visual Artist Emmanuel Monzon is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this photo essay. From the series ‘URBAN SPRAWL, EMPTINESS’. To see Emmanuel’s body of work, click on any image.
Through my urban sprawl series, I want to photograph the in-between state found in the American landscape. So I capture places of transition, borders, passages from one world to another: am I leaving a city or entering a new environment?
In my artwork there is no judgment, no denunciation, only the picture itself. If I could sum up the common theme of my photos, it would be about emptiness, about silence. My pictures try to extract from the mundane urban landscape a form of estheticism. Where most people only pass through, I stop and look for some form of poetic beauty. I like repetition, I like series, and I like driving around.
This generic title, “Urban Sprawl Emptiness”, was imposed by the seriality and the repetition of my subjects of predilections: the deserts of the American West and their poetic and chaotic processions of motorway interchanges, the cities without centers, the residential zones without inhabitants. I have the feeling that the extension, the identical and omnipresent reproduction of the trace of the humans on this territory, ultimately shrinks the world.
The square is above all the rigor almost ascetic.
This framing guides and defines my line of work, it is a choice of voluntary restriction, which obliges me not to return entirely in the codes of the photograph, and limits my field of action in a deliberate way. It allows me to focus on the subject, to put it at a distance, to create a soft tension. Symbolically I find that the square format sends back an image of stability, solidity, and neutrality, it wants to be objective. This format forces me to make choices, to be more rigorous. In a way, it creates boundaries to my field of action. The square symbolizes the stop, or moment taken, an idea of stagnation of solidification. It is the perfect balance, and imposes its structure on my images, and puts order in my composition.
I believe that the expansion of the urban or industrial landscape in the American natural landscape has redefined this space and has become itself a “non-place.” The transition from one site to the next: You have arrived and at the same time you have never left.
All images and text © Emmanuel Monzon
By Emmanuel Monzon
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