SELECTION PRESS/REVIEW

PUBLICATION: PELLICOLA MAGAZINE

A state of in-between

Is there beauty in emptiness? Is there beauty in empty overlooked, neglected spaces either? Pretty much, and Emmanuel Monzon work “Urban Sprawl” is a proof. French born, Seattle-based, Emmanuel Monzon was trained as a painter, he has graduated in Beaux-Arts of Paris. Monzon has always seen himself as a painter, he stated in different interviews, who uses the tool of photography as a transitional passage and the visual environment as his raw material.

At a first glance the viewer is amazed by the pastel-toned palette, but few seconds later emptiness wittingly prevails on the perfect linear aesthetic and takes the stage as protagonist of the frame. Monzon portraits American places in a quiet post apocalyptical way. His urban landscapes are, very often, entirely devoid of humans, and yet there is always human presence visible through the traces people left on the landscape: giant billboard, strip malls, industrial parks and highways. Through this repetitive principle of depicting non-places we perceive, and confirmed by Monzon, the hallmark of the French anthropologist Marc Augè. Non-place is a neologism coined by Augè who shows the anodyne and anonymous solitude of places like airports, motorways, parking lots where the transitory occupant has only the illusion of being part of some grand global scheme, on the contrary individuals are connected in a uniform manner and where no social life is possible. However, there is no social critics of this late-capitalist phenomena, there is no judgement, no denunciation in the whole Monzon’s work, rather the understand of a logic of excessive space. It is the emptiness in the great American space which Monzon wants to show, using the codes of New Topographics and the concept of “in between-states”.

Written by Anna Trifiro

About us

Pellicola [/pe'l:ikola/] is an Italian word which meaning stands for film, as film photography's fascination still strikes us through its colors, its grain, its depth and focus held in each shot.

Pellicola Magazine is an independent online magazine.
with the aim to make contemporary photography and all its genres known; from travel shots and landscapes to portraits, from documentary to fine art and more.
It also strives for showcasing photographers from all around the world through exclusive interviews and articles, voicing their works concerning analog or digital photography.

PUBLICATION: US OF AMERICA MAGAZINE Through the Lens: Emmanuel Monzon

There is beauty in emptiness, just take a look at the Instagram account of French born, Seattle-based photographer, Emmanuel Monzon (@emmanuelmonzonphotography). A self-proclaimed fan of “repetition, series and driving around” Monzon’s work evokes a nostalgia for reclaiming ‘lost’ space. That is, those transient places that are either overlooked, neglected or both. 

From gas stations and motorways to motels and parking lots, it’s a credit to Monzon artistry that these places seem wholly inviting and, quite frankly, magical. His photography certainly evokes a Wes Anderson/Disney-esque sensibility (Monzon, like Anderson, attests to having a rigorous, highly thought-out process when it comes to his photography). The muted palette of his Urban Sprawl series, for instance, saturates what we might consider to be otherwise banal, visually, with an inviting hazy glow. Likening his method to that of a painter (“I think first about the sketch, the draft. Then, I work my picture like a painting on a canvas, I select the colors.”) it’s not surprising, then, that you start start to question if what you’re looking at is reality or fantasy. 

In fact, the hyperrealism that underscores Monzon’s work is so powerful that it asks you to reconsider what lies in your own backyard. To rehash that old cliche that it takes an ‘outsider’ to teach us something new, Monzon’s photography shows us the beauty of the American landscape– an America past and present hiding in plain sight. 

Find about more about Monzon, his photography, and mantra below.

INTERVIEW:

When did you begin to take an interest in photography? 

A trained plastic artist (graduate of the Beaux-Arts of Paris), I have always worked with the image and the stakes of its representation. About ten years ago, I felt the need to use the medium of photography. In practice, I always see myself as a painter who uses the tool of photography as a transitional passage. I'm in the in-between, I'm a photographer who paints or a painter who uses photography. 

As soon as I arrived in Seattle, I had the intuition that my work had to continue through the medium of photography, it was obvious to me. I had the feeling that my work could only be photographic for this space, which creates its own mythology. One understands very quickly that one is going to be on perpetual move on this territory; Somehow I became nomadic and the only tool I need is a camera. I also quickly realized that I was going to live in my own subject and that it was a privilege.

How would you describe your work/aesthetic? 

There is no judgement in my work, no denunciation, I am in the statement (if critic there is, whether it is political or social, it does not belong to me and I leave it to the audience). This visual environment is my raw material and it is my graphic material. 

My field work is a country where the landscape is shaped by and for mobility, it forms a sort of generic visual disorder throughout the territory, built around a repetitive principle: the separate house, the strip mall, the giant billboard, the industrial park, and the highway. Without moods, this world is in perpetual mutation that makes one city raises and another one does, and that let them coexist indifferently side by side. This visual chaos becomes unrecognizable to become an abstraction. This is where my favorite workplace is...my playground. 

Regarding the treatment of my photos, I do not refute a form of aesthetics or even poetry while leaving a narrative part, free for the spectator to interpret the photo. My Mantra is simple: I like repetitions, I like series, and I like driving around.

Who/what inspires you? 

What inspires me is the emptiness in the urban landscape or in the great American spaces. I like to play/'mix' two approaches: The codes of the new topographics and the concept of "in between-two states" inspired by the anthropologist Marc Auge under the name of non-places. I like transitional places, like intersections or passages from one world to another, such as from a residential area to an industrial area. I also like the tourist places altered by the human trace. We often find this feeling of emptiness, of visual paradox by travelling throughout the United States. The transition from one site to the next: You have arrived and at the same time you have never left. 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." 

What’s your go-to camera? 

My go to camera is simply a PANASONIC LUMIX DMC GX8, I just changed the lens to a LEICA DG SUMMILUX 25MM and the LEICA 35-100. I need to have it handy, ready to shoot. I don’t have sentimental attachment to my camera, I only hope for efficiency. I belong to the digital generation. Without this numeric revolution, I would not have had the chance to be in this discipline. 

How much planning goes into your work? 

I plan my road-trips, checking google and building my itineraries. I usually travel either with my family or with friends, knowing I need someone to drive so I can spot the places I want to shoot. Below is the process I usually go through:

I drive around a lot.

I like to circle around the subject, map it. 

I can stay a long time in a specific place and shoot it thoroughly multiple times. 

Sometimes the frame is obvious, but not always. I know that the subject is there but I cannot really see it so I shoot obsessively hoping to find a result when back at my studio.

I can also come back to the same place many times. 

Then, back to the studio.

a. I sort out
b. I extract my storyline
c. I do the first step of framing (always using square frames) 
d. I choose the color that will stand out for the series
e. I let the series rest for several days
f. I go back to it, repeating the same process from a to e

Lately, I don’t discard the leftovers, I re-work them several months later and sometimes I can find new directions. As I said before, I am using the same process as a painter. I think first about the sketch, the draft. Then, I work my picture like a painting on a canvas, I select the colors. Throughout this process, a series emerge, articulated around its own story, its place, its mood.

What inspired your move to the US? 

After leaving Paris in 2006, I lived in Asia for seven years before moving to the US. I moved to Seattle almost six years go. We moved here with our two boys because my wife had a job opportunity.

As a photographer, what do you find so appealing about the American landscape? 

I will particularly mention the landscapes of the American West, which has a special vibe. I find a lot of pleasure working in this infinite space, even if I often travel through a chaotic society built on social pain, forgetfulness, even survival mode. This feeling is accentuated by the mixture of two strong realities living side by side: a landscape (a horizon, a sky that crushes you with its presence) and an anarchic, oppressive urban extension. The challenge of my work is to create an harmony between these two worlds (a romantic aesthetic). It is in this iconic landscape of the American West, subject to a permanent reinterpretation that I try to find my way, my truth, while asking myself how to manage in this world.

When were you first introduced to the concept of “Urban Sprawl?” 

Urban sprawl emptiness was evident from my favorite subjects in this endeavor. At the beginning of this project, the title also included the location where the photo was taken. However, over time it did not seem necessary to indicate it anymore. It did not matter, and seemed anecdotal. This generic title 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. 

Favorite place to shoot? 

Most of them were created in the Western US, around Las Vegas, Palm Springs, and more broadly in the states of Nevada, Utah, Arizona and California as well as in my area: the state of Washington.

Favorite American photographers? 

As a young adult, I always admired painters such as Giorgio De Chirico (geometrical figures, little to no human presence, something appeasing but also oppressing), Edward Hopper for his static compositions and his true American landscapes, as well as Mike Bayne. With regards to photographers, my favorites include: Robert Adams, William Eggleston, Stephen Shore, Bill Owens, Robert Frank, Gregory Crewdson, Gordon Parks, Joel Meyerowitz, Todd Hido, Robert Frank, Patrick Joust.

If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be?

A question that I do not ask myself anymore! 

Song of choice for your American road trip? 

A playlist for American road-trips as seen by a French guy who lives in the US:
Run The Jewels, Lilly Wood and The Prick, Kendra Morris, A$AP Rocky, Brother Ali, The Black Keys, Ratatat, The Raconteurs, The Heavy, Dan Auerbach, Fox, The Doors, Rumsprings, The Dead Weather, Creedence Clearwater Revival, PJ Harvey, Jain, Blues Pills, The Flying Eyes, Bill Withers, Findlay, Black Sabbath, Goldfrapp, Beck, Ceelo Green, Deluxe, Mos Def, and many more...

What’s next? 

In project with my gallery Privateview (Torino-Italy), is a group exhibition at the Code Art Fair (Copenhagen-Denmark).

The Journal of American Culture and Style

Us of America celebrates and illuminates the spirit of America at a divisive time in our country’s history. Contemporary yet nostalgic, Us of America presents stories from across our cultural landscape. Visionaries, vanguards, and everyday heroes from the fields of photography, fashion, and music, sit alongside investigative features and witty commentary.

Working with esteemed American and International contributors, Us of America seeks to cover a wide range of topics that speaks to a global audience. Mixing humor with pathos, new and old, Us of America champions the diversity and complexity of America - its history and its people.


Press Release: (Artsy) by CHARBON for Fine Art Asia 2018-Hong Kong

The work of Emmanuel Monzon focuses primarily on the idea of urban sprawling and the expansion of its periphery. Monzon photographs banality as though it were a Romantic painting, trying only to be “stronger than this big nothing” in controlling the space by framing the subject. His aesthetic of the banal obeys its own rules : a ban on living objects , a precise geometrical organization , and the revelation of a specific physical and mental landscape blurring the lines between city and suburb, between suburb and countryside, a process that results in an independent identity. Monzon thematically consistent work highlights things that make their surroundings appear quite empty and soulless. An unnerving set of social observations. Yet the tenderness of his colouring softens the quite harsh social comment his images tend to deliver. There is an absolute stillness in the images : nothing moves, not even time. Monzon grasps what is simple, and that is difficult.
Emptiness, absence, lack of a meaningful world : subjects are not inherently expressive yet they convey a deep sense of grief over the loss of meaning. Time has come to a stop. The absence of shadows and the pinkish grey mist often give a strong and disturbing impression of dream. Does these places really exist ? The reflection redeems and heals the wounds a mindless world inflicts on reality, and transforms an unstructured and empty present into a bearable memory.

"The aesthetic of the void in my photographic work attempts to understand our current environment : can it be one of de-civilization? “ E.Monzon

FR:

Le travail d'Emmanuel Monzon porte principalement sur l'idée de l'étalement urbain et de l'expansion de sa périphérie. Monzon photographie la banalité comme une peinture romantique, essayant seulement d'être «plus fort que ce grand rien» en contrôlant l'espace en encadrant le sujet. Son esthétique du banal obéit à ses propres règles: une interdiction des objets vivants, une organisation géométrique précise et la révélation d’un paysage physique et mental spécifique brouillant les frontières entre ville et banlieue, entre banlieue et campagne, un processus qui aboutit à une identité indépendante. Le travail thématiquement cohérent de Monzon met en évidence des éléments qui donnent à leur environnement une apparence vide et sans âme. Un ensemble déconcertant d'observations sociales. Pourtant, la tendresse de sa couleur adoucit le commentaire social assez dur que ses images ont tendance à livrer. Il y a une immobilité absolue dans les images: rien ne bouge, pas même le temps. Monzon saisit ce qui est simple, et c'est difficile.
Vide, absence, manque de sens: les sujets ne sont pas intrinsèquement expressifs, mais ils transmettent un profond sentiment de chagrin face à la perte de sens. Le temps s'est arrêté. L'absence d'ombres et le brouillard gris rosé donnent souvent une impression forte et inquiétante de rêve. Est-ce que ces endroits existent vraiment? La réflexion rachète et guérit les blessures qu'un monde aveugle inflige à la réalité transforme un présent vide et non structuré en une mémoire supportable.

« L'esthétique du vide dans mon travail photographique tente de comprendre notre environnement actuel: peut-il s'agir d'un phénomène de « dé-civilisation »? » Emmanuel Monzon 

Gallery CHARBON

Antoine D’AGATA is a French photographer born in Marseilles in 1961, where he spent his teenage years in violent combats for political militancy. Fascinated by the marginality, he had shared total experiences with whores, junkies, thugs. In 2001 he published “Hometown”, and won the Niépce Prize for young photographers. He continued to exhibit and publish regularly: “Vortex” and “Insomnia” were published in 2003, “Stigma” in 2004, “Manifeste” in 2005.

In 2004 D'Agata joined Magnum Photos and in the same year he shot his first short film “Le Ventre du Monde” (The World's Belly). This experiment led to his long feature film “Aka Ana”, shot in 2006 in Tokyo.

PUBLICATION/INTERVIEW: F-STOP MAGAZINE

Interview with photographer Emmanuel Monzon by Cary Benbow

Emmanuel Monzon is a french photographer and visual artist based in Seattle, WA. He graduated from the Academy of Beaux-Arts in Paris, France with honors. His work has been featured throughout the US, Europe and Asia. His work is represented by galleries in Europe and Asia, and his work is exhibited widely. I know Monzon’s work, have interviewed him a few years ago, and have followed his projects over that time.

We had the opportunity recently to talk about his portfolio featured in the October portfolio issue. His Urban Sprawl Emptiness portfolio focuses primarily on the idea of urban sprawl and the expansion of its periphery. According to Monzon, he “photographs urban banality as though it were a Romantic painting, trying to be ‘stronger than this big nothing’ in controlling the space by framing the subject.” Monzon’s aesthetic of the banal obeys its own rules: a ban on living objects, a precise geometrical organization, and the revelation of a specific physical and mental landscape blurring the lines between city and suburb, between suburb and countryside, a process that results in an independent identity.

Monzon’s images are often shot at a low perspective with the camera placed on the ground. This approach gives the viewer a fresh take on how we observe the world around us; buildings, cars, even sidewalks take on depth and scale not seen otherwise. This is one of the strengths in Monzon’s work that gives a new perspective at what casual observers of landscape often overlook. He adheres to using a square format for his images, and a rule to never include people in the images; while the influence of people upon the urban spaces is undeniable. The visual irony of the significant impact of people upon their surrounding environment, and their notable absence in his images results in an eerie, surreal tension.

In addition to his signature style in the Urban Sprawl Emptiness work, Monzon creates other related work. “I work on parallel projects, like the night pictures series I produced,” Monzon adds, “with black and white as well as color pictures. There is also a series born from the specific atmosphere created by the light in the early or late hours of the day or by the fog that often surrounds the place where I live. These three series have the suburban streets of American cities in common.”

We discussed his inspirations for the work, and he stated, “What inspires me is the emptiness in the urban landscape or in the great American spaces. I like to mix the two approaches: The codes of the new topographics and the concept of ‘in-between two states’ inspired by the anthropologist Marc Auge. I like these transitional non-places, like intersections or passages from one world to another, such as going from a residential area to an industrial area. I also like the tourist places altered by human influence. We often find this feeling of emptiness, of visual paradox by traveling throughout the United States.”

I asked Monzon about the way this transition is portrayed in his work. He says, “The transition from one site to the next gives the feeling you have arrived, and at the same time you have never left. 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’.”

Many photographers keep notes about the locations where they shoot, and often include unrelated journal entries. I asked Monzon if he keeps a journal. He replies, “I don’t keep a journal because my approach is dictated by my constant travel around places. I drive, I look around, I stop, I take pictures. And when I am back in my studio, I often have reminiscence of places I have visited and pictures that I have taken that makes me want to go back and explore new territories or angles. My approach is like one of a topographer, I don’t write, I visualize.” This fits with his mantra: “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.”

When we talked about the subject of starting a new series of photos, Monzon says, “If all goes well, I am in the process of planning a road trip of a week in New Mexico to go and visit specific spots I have already identified and selected. I am always working on my next possible trip based on places of interests for me that I want to photograph.”

About Cary Benbow

photographer, writer - F-Stop Magazine, Lensculture, YIELD Magazine, Wobneb Magazine. www.carybenbow.com

F-Stop Magazine is an online photography magazine featuring contemporary photography from established and emerging photographers from around the world. Each issue has a theme or an idea that the unites the photographs to create a dynamic dialogue among the artists. Founded in 2003 and published online, bi-monthly.

PUBLICATION: FISHEYE MAGAZINE

FR:

Emmanuel Monzon vit actuellement à Seattle, aux États-Unis. Il se considère comme un peintre qui utilise la photographie comme un passage transitionnel. « Je suis dans l’entre-deux, je suis un photographe qui peint ou un peintre qui utilise la photographie », explique-t-il. Quant à son approche ? « Elle est méticuleuse et désordonnée à la fois ». Le format carré, sa signature, lui permet de « « focuser » sur le sujet principal ». Les images qui composent Urban sprawl emptiness ont été réalisées ces cinq dernières années dans l’Ouest américain et dans les états du Nevada, de l’Utah, de l’Arizona et de Californie ainsi que dans sa région, l’état de Washington. Emmanuel Monzon est fasciné par le vide dans le paysage urbain et les espaces de transition. « On retrouve souvent cette sensation de vide, de paradoxe visuel en se déplaçant aux États-Unis. Je crois que l’expansion du paysage urbain ou industriel dans le paysage américain a redéfini cet espace et qu’il est devenu lui-même un « non-lieu » », confie le photographe.

EN:

Emmanuel Monzon currently lives in Seattle, United States. He considers himself a painter, using photography as a means of transition. ‘I am either one of them, I am a photographer who paints, or a painter using photography’ , he explains. His approach? ‘Both meticulous and messy’. His signature trait, the square format enables him to focus on the main subject. The pictures that fill Urban sprawl emptiness were made across five years spent in the American west, in the States of Nevada, Utah, Arizona, California, and his home state, Washington. Emmanuel Monzon is fascinated by emptiness in urban landscapes, by border areas. ‘We always feel this emptiness, this visual paradox, traveling across the US. I believe the expansion of urban and industrial landscapes have redefined the American space, turning it into a ‘non-space’’, the photographer confesses.

About FISHEYE MAGAZINE

  • Des photographes émergents – pour reprendre l’expression consacrée – aux auteurs plus expérimentés, nous restons à l’affût de tout ce qui fait bouger les lignes de la photographie. C’est peut-être là le lien entre les différents partis pris par Fisheye dans le magazine, sur ce site, et sur les murs de notre galerie.  La photographie sur le Web jouit d’une liberté essentielle. Tenter d’enregistrer cette énergie qui parcourt la Toile, c’est notre ambition.”
  • Extrait de la préface de notre ouvrage fisheyemagazine.fr/photobook.vol.I

REVIEW BY HANNAH FRIEZER (Executive Director of the Center for Photography at Woodstock). C4FAP: Portfolio ShowCase  10

“One aspect I have always cherished about photography is the way some artists surprise us and broaden our perspectives. These artists make us see in new ways, and their images usually hit quite hard. Our gut reaction is immediate, though figuring out why or what might not be so simple.

When we look at the creative process, photographing a single successful image is not all that difficult. This applies to amateurs and professional photographers alike. Facebook and Instagram are full of one-hit wonders, and some are memorably nice. Even artists have those one-off images they just had to photograph. Developing an entire series, however, is a completely different matter. It not only requires exponentially more skill, but also real courage to dig deep into oneself to create a fully rounded, multifaceted project. Once the series exists, the real challenge of culling the coveted portfolio begins.

Think of a well-crafted portfolio as a delicious meal. The individual ingredients can be quite different, and they never need to blend entirely. Brought together, however, the meal (or portfolio) has to work as a whole. It needs the right nuances, the right flavor anchors, the right variety and the right level of commonality. It is easy to find advice on how to assemble a meaningful portfolio. The internet is littered with formulas of dos and don’ts. In actuality, gleaning a tight portfolio from a larger series is quite an art to itself, requiring skill, insight into the project and willingness to be objective at this stage even if the series is very personal.

In the case of this exhibition, I have chosen artists who skillfully held my interest from image to image. These artists had something noteworthy to say and did so masterfully.

Emmanuel Monzon “is on a path of his own. We imagine him walking the streets in quiet solitude. He observes, peeks around corners and stops in fascination at the most unusual, even banal places. His sense of discovery is infectious. And so we perceive the magic he creates from little more than gray concrete and blue sky as a new revelation. Every door, car or tree is seen in a new way within his mastery of composition and framing. The mystery of a doorway radiating with warm light from within suddenly becomes irresistible. A randomly parked car seems to anchor the world. As we follow along with him past block after block, we can only beg to please keep walking.”

PUBLICATION: PROFILES IN PHOTOGRAPHY MAGAZINE - Link: Profile No. 7—Emmanuel Monzon

For Emmanuel Monzon, his transition from three-dimensional art to photography was the result of a conscious decision. He had used photography and digital cameras to aid his art, but did not consider himself a photographer, having only studied photography in the context of contemporary art. He was, at that point, a plastic artist who used cameras as a tool. But ten years ago, he wrote, he felt the need to “completely dive into photography” after completing a three-dimensional art project that involved taking urban-landscape photographs and reproducing them to 1:1 scale.

Monzon had no formal background in photography. Born in Paris, he attended L’École des Beaux-Arts to study painting, graduating with honors. He remained in Paris after his graduation, transitioning to the plastic arts after a brief period of exclusively painting. Some time later, he moved to Singapore with his wife, where they lived for until she received a job offer that required them to relocate to Seattle, where they have lived with their two children for six years.

Monzon’s move to America deepened his interest in the urban landscape. In Paris and Singapore, he had shot urban landscapes primarily to aid in his art projects. America’s urban landscape, however, had always uniquely stood out in his mind as “mythological and iconic.” (He told Feature Shoot last February that “living in the United States is like living inside a painting.”) In America, he could drive around seemingly endlessly to find subject matter, and it was only in America that he was able to start the long running “Urban Sprawl” project that has brought him his most recent attention from the photography world.

At first, he preferred to shoot at night while driving around the outskirts of Seattle, but the cacti and distant mountains that feature in some of his more recent photographs suggest that he had travelled to California and other parts of the Southwest. “I want to photograph the in-between state found so frequently in the vast American landscape,” he wrote in an artist’s statement published on LensCulture. “I capture places of transition, borders, passages from one world to another.” The Southwest, whose infinite sprawl and mandatory car ownership are globally notorious, is perhaps the perfect place to accomplish that.

For that reason, Monzon has often been compared to the New Topographics photographers of the 1970s. He himself cited William Eggleston and Stephen Shore as influences. Certainly, there are many similarities, but Monzon distinguishes himself in two ways, firstly by the emptiness he deliberately incorporates into his work. His urban landscapes are, for the most part, entirely devoid of people, even though they often feature the hallmarks of human occupation. Shore’s 1970s world, on the other hand, is almost always shown as busy and inhabited. Monzon’s world seems to answer the question of what a decidedly human-altered landscape would look like if humans were to disappear at least temporarily from it.

And, in that regard, I’m reminded of something he wrote in his email interview, which further distinguishes his work: “I see myself as a painter who works in photography.” In other words, Monzon has a painter’s vision — many of his photographs are reminiscent of the daytime scenes of Edward Hopper, another influence — but uses a photographer’s tools to execute it. A painter always chooses exactly what will or won’t appear in the frame. Photographers can do the same, but not by default.

I didn’t ask Monzon his techniques for keeping humans out of the frame, but, regardless, his photographs are not a perfect record of reality. (There is no shortage of human beings in Seattle’s suburbs or California’s sprawl, as anyone who’s driven on their freeways at rush hour can attest.) Even so, his photographs are a particularly revealing record of the non-places that typify American urban sprawl, like freeways and strip malls. Non-places, after all, are designed to make one forget that they exist as real entities. The absence of humans in his photographs of these spaces reminds us of their concrete existence and their artifice. His subjectivity, in a way, creates an even more objective portrait of urban sprawl.

Peter W. Coulson

ABOUT THE SITE:  Interview-based profiles of the best photographers working today.

Peter W. Coulson, founder and editor-in-chief, is a writer and photographer from Baltimore, Maryland and Los Angeles, California. He writes the profiles, manages day-to-day operations, and answers the emails. Peter’s writing has been published in NOICE. Magazine and his photography has been featured in advertising campaigns by the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company and on The Bmore Creatives’ Instagram feed. In February 2016, he co-directed the Park School of Baltimore’s production of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf.


PUBLICATION: ADDRESS MAGAZINE

Emmanuel Monzon | 'Urban Sprawl : Emptiness' Series

Emmanuel Monzon is a French photographer and visual artist but now resides in Seattle, WA. He graduated from the Academy of Beaux-Arts in Paris, France with honors, then a few years later he relocated to the US. Emmanuel's interest in urban photography grew shortly after arriving due to it's unique and iconic architecture. His most recent series titled 'Urban Sprawl Emptiness' he focuses on the change of the urban landscape through it's visual identity. His focus is primarily on man-made objects or structures which signify this specific adaption from one area to another. The cleanliness of each shot is engulfed in a pastel-toned colour palette, which highlights elements of his surroundings.

Emmanuel Monzon | 'Urban Sprawl : Emptiness' Series | address

Emmanuel explains "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?"

There are several common threads woven throughout Emmanuel’s photography. First, he only uses square frames to create a strong focus on the subject, and second, his photos always contain man-made structures or objects, but never any actual people. These two elements combine to cause viewers to perceive a deep void in the photos; an almost post-apocalyptic sense of isolation. By displaying structures humans built to serve their own needs, but in a rare state of absolute idleness, Emmanuel creates an eerily disconcerting environment. Looking at the photos, you can almost hear the chilly silence that’d accompany them.

"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 aestheticism. 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."

Each shot gives of a unique feel of isolation and emptiness behind it. The fact that there are no human subjects in any of his shots give off a eerie feel, but this emphasises the details of the structures and buildings and you really absorb the elements of the environment. Emmanuel sets the mood and the emotion beautifully and really encapsulates the surroundings, making the seemingly plain exciting.



PUBLICATION: FEATURE SHOOT MAGAZINE

­ 18 New Topographics Photos That Could Have Been Made in the 1970s - Feature Shoot                            

Feature Shoot launched The Print Swap one year ago to connect photographers around the globe. Since then, more than twenty thousand photographers have submitted their work, and over one thousand have participated in the swap. The idea is to bring the joy of making and collecting photographs into the digital age. Anyone can submit photos via Instagram by tagging them #theprintswap. Outstanding submissions are chosen as winners and printed at Skink Ink in Brooklyn. From there, they are mailed out to winners all over the world. Prints are mailed out at random, so no one knows what print they’ll receive until it arrives at their doorstep.

The Print Swap includes work across all genres, and we sorted through the archive to put together this online group show, inspired by the historic 1975 exhibition New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape at George Eastman House in Rochester, New York.

The famous exhibition included work by Stephen Shore, Robert Adams, Frank Gohlke, Lewis Baltz, Nicolas Nixon, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Joe Deal, John Schott, and Henry Wessel, Jr. At the time, some people “got” it. Many did not. “What I remember most clearly was that nobody liked it,” Gohlke told the LA Times thirty-five years later, “I think it wouldn’t be too strong to say that it was a vigorously hated show.”

These photographers had chosen subjects that were not by any means extraordinary. They photographed motels, American suburban sprawl, industrial sites– places few people found beautiful or interesting. They actively defied the conventions of romantic, sublime landscape photography. “Some people found it unutterably boring,” Gohlke explained, “Some people couldn’t believe we were serious, taking pictures of this stuff.”

Since then, the term “New Topographics” has come to define its own genre of landscape photography. For the most part, the art world has embraced the banal realities of daily life in a built environment. Right now, there are 75,000 photographs tagged #newtopographics on Instagram. It’s still hard to explain what makes a photo a “New Topographics” photo– Is it an interesting picture of a boring thing? A boring picture that also happens to be brilliant? In any case, the simple fact remains: everyone knows a “New Topographics” photo when they see one, whether it was made in 1970 or 2017.


LENSCULTURE MAGAZINE

Urban Sprawl: Emptiness

The American landscape is vast, inspiring, filled with drama and beauty—but also a whole lot of nothing. These photographs explore the places in-between.

Photographs and text by Emmanuel Monzon

My pictures try to extract a form of aestheticism from the mundane urban landscape. Where most people only pass through, I stop and look for some form of poetic beauty. I like repetition and seriality. I also like driving around.

Through my “Urban Sprawl” series, I want to photograph the in-between state found so frequently in the vast American landscape. 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, silence.

—Emmanuel Monzon

If you liked this article, we’d also recommend these previous features: Topophilia, a finalist in our 2016 Street Photography Awards that captures the unsettling world of Europe’s urban environment; Boarded-Up Houses, Katharina Fitz’s report on the housing epidemic in post-industrial England; and The Middle Landscape, a visual exploration of the unique version of the “the pastoral” in the American midwest.

ABOUT

LensCulture is a global online platform celebrating trends of photography in art, media, politics and popular culture worldwide. Discover the best—Description de l’entrepriseLensCulture is one of the largest destinations for curated, contemporary photography from around the world. We are committed to discovering and promoting the best of the global photography community, continually seeking new work from every continent and from diverse points of view: documentary, fine art, photojournalism, street photography, conceptual, portrait, landscape, and more. The Guardian named LensCulture “One of the most authoritative and wide-ranging sites”.

Our mission is simple: expose the best in contemporary photography to the largest audience possible. We believe talented photographers deserve access to exposure that can lead to valuable, career-building opportunities.


FEATURE SHOOT MAGAZINE

French photographer Emmanuel Monzon thinks living in the United States is like living inside a painting. In his meticulously crafted American scenes, all humans have vacated the premises, leaving behind only the background they once inhabited.

The UrbanSprawl photographs picture what the artist calls the “in-between” places on the outskirts of cities,mostly in the West. These sites are comparable to what the French anthropologist Marc Augé dubbed “non-places.” This isn’t a point on the map so much as it is the ambiguous gap separating point A from point B.

Monzon isn’t affected by the same sense of nostalgia that seems to drive so many photographers; he isn’t precious about his work, but he is painstaking and precise. His process is methodical, involving hours upon hours of driving, framing, shooting, and starting over from the beginning until everything is exactly right.

Patrick di Nola, when judging a contest for Life Farmer, wrote the following of Monzon’s images: “The blandness becomes vivid.” It’s true; in these square frames, the mundaneglitters.

Monzon is serious about not projecting his emotions onto these manmade landscapes— “In my artwork there is no judgment,” he writes— but the great paradox of his work lies in the fact that the pictures are somehow filled with feeling.

The photographer says the theme that binds his images is their “emptiness.” What is absent matters just as much as what’s present, but that doesn’t mean the pictures are lonely, though they have often been described as such. No, for those who dare to find it, there’s genuine surprise and delight to be found in the void, and that’s what makes Urban Sprawl so special.

Ellyn Kail

Feature Shoot showcases the work of international emerging and established photographers who are transforming the medium through compelling, cutting-edge projects.

PUBLICATION: CREATIVE BOOM MAGAZINE

Dreamy minimalist photography of an empty America by Emmanuel Monzon

17th October in Inspiration / Photography

In his minimalist series Urban Sprawl, award-winning Seattle photographer and visual artist Emmanuel Monzon loves to focus on manmade landscapes that are completely devoid of life. Quiet street corners, dusty endless roads and empty streets with blinking traffic lights – these all form the backdrop to his ongoing fascination with an empty America.

His photography is never re-touched, nor artificially built with sets or lights. They are "glimpses of life in absence of life" - as defined by Mauro Piredda, curator of a new exhibition at Private View Gallery in Turin, launching 4 November.

Roads, buildings, landscapes, the repetition of subjects always captured in a moment of void and emptiness, transforming the settings of his photos from physical spaces to mental dimensions. His work is simple and evokes feelings of loneliness yet is also so appealing. You can discover more on Instagram.

All images courtesy of Private View Gallery and © Emmanuel Monzon

Launched in 2009, Creative Boom is an online magazine that celebrates, inspires and supports the creative community.

Featured in BBC, The Guardian, The Independent, Swiss Miss, Colossal, My Modern Met, Design Boom, Design Taxi and Fubiz, Creative Boom is your dedicated daily fix for creative tips, inspiration and ideas.


BE ART MAGAZINE-LA

Emmanuel Monzon steals in-between moments

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, says French-American photographer Emmanuel Monzon

Photography is a question of angle -from which angle will I choose to show what I see- and photography is a also a question of purpose -which visual argument will I choose for what I want to say?- For those two categories some photographers act as a witness of the scene they shoot like William Eggleston, some others like Gregory Crewdson re-create a fiction, some others create a narrative through a series, some others shift the scene they shoot into an abstract vision and soon…

And there is Emmanuel Monzon, who catches those “in-between moments”, the moment in a city or in the suburbs when the crowd left the scene, or before people invade the scene again like every ordinary days. It is that specific moment when the scene is at rest rejuvenating itself, and breathing at its own rhythm, independently from the humanity who created it.

The result is awesome: a special mood due to the minimalist aesthetic, the square format, the quality and variety of greys and blacks.

In addition to the technique, that specific in-between moment the photographer has chosen to shoot brings the feeling that each photograph is a steal for which the viewer is transformed in a voyeur of a place where he shouldn’t be.

Beatrice Chassepot,Los Angeles-BAM


LENSCULTURE NETWORK GALLERY

Congratulations –– your work is now featured in the LensCulture Network Gallery! You are among a select group of top photographers selected for our curated gallery that is visible to everyone who visits the LensCulture website. Your work will receive immediate exposure to our international audience of 2.5 million across web, email, social and mobile, you will remain in the gallery for 6 weeks.

The LensCulture Network is a platform designed to offer committed photographers a place to showcase their work on a global stage and advance in their personal practice. The Gallery below is a curated showcase of the Network members’ latest projects—our editors choose from members’ latest work, whether newly published images or great series that never received their deserved attention. You can find out more information about each image (and each photographer) by clicking below. We hope you discover plenty of work that intrigues and inspires!

 Exhibition: ENTER THE VOID- Gallery Charbon Art Space- HK

"Trained as a painter,Emmanuel Monzon is mindful of the grey texture of his photographs. His empty landscapes reflect his attachment to forms and colours, giving them space to beheard. To me, the series exhibited at Charbon art Space echoes both the human loneliness and the power of things against a lost American backdrop. This shadow looks like a calm rain of grey while one can hear the rustling leaves of the tree…"

Caroline Ha Thuc

Specialized in Asian contemporary art, she contributes to different magazines such as ArtPress in France and Pipeline/Am Post in HongKong.

A.L.U. MAGAZINE

It was about this certain tranquillity and the clear compositions, which caught my eye. While looking at the photographs it seemed that I could stand like this forever. Being astonished by the methodical perfection of the texture, form and colour the artwork of Emmanuel Monzon somehow embodies both: human loneliness and the urban American culture. Trained as a painter at les Beaux-Arts in Paris, Monzon verifies that there is no judgement in his artwork. Still there are some subtle feelings emerging from his mindful arrangements of forms and colours. Luckily Emmanuel had some minutes for us, so we could ask himself.

Emmanuel, tell us a little bit about yourself. What did you do after graduating from the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris? Where did you go and why?

After graduating from les Beaux-Arts in Paris, I stayed in Paris and after a short period of abstract painting, I went back to figurative art, asking myself about image and its reproduction. It translated into transferring images from catalogues and flyers onto enamel plates and glazed tiles. Then I moved to draw these pictures at their exact same real size – small formats – without trying to ensure that the drawing will be well represented. You can find some some impressions of my work from that period here. Then I transitioned to big formats by taking pictures of my own drawings, enlarging them to fit big formats. It was the beginning of my series around urban landscapes.

What do you miss the most looking back to your time in Paris?
What I miss the most is the ability to walk cities and stroll. I used to do that a lot as well as spend time in cafes watching people. You cannot really do that in the US. You always know where you go, from point A to point B as the mapping of the city is built as such as it is effective and mainly organised around cars.

How long did you live there?
I was born and raised in Paris and lived there for 40 years. What I don’t like is the traffic, some many choices and things to do that you cannot benefit from in the end because of the waiting lines and so many people wanting the same things and the famous Parisian attitude which is not a myth.

Do you travel home often, where is home for you now?
I don’t travel home often, roughly every three to four years. I prefer using my ”vacation time” to discover new places, especially in the US. Home now for me is anywhere and everywhere. After leaving Paris in 2006, I lived in Asia for seven years before moving to the US.

Yes, you are living in Seattle now…
I moved to Seattle almost six years go. After leaving seven years in Asia, my wife has a job opportunity here so we moved with the two boys.

How would you describe Seattle?
Seattle is a city a bit different from the rest of the US, with an important counter culture spirit (music, political and sociological movements). It is not a city easy to discover or appreciate at first, may be because of the climate and the amount of rain. Also contemporary art is coming slowly to Seattle, may be slower than in other cities but it is changing lately – a good example of that is the first edition of the Seattle Art Fair last summer which was a great success.

“Contemporary art is coming slowly to Seattle, may be slower than in other cities but it is changing lately – a good example of that is the first edition of the Seattle Art Fair last summer which was a great success”

After living in Paris and Singapore, what is different?
It is a much quieter city than Paris or even Singapore. People are very fond of outdoors activities; the urban culture is not as important. It is as diverse as Paris or Singapore in terms of social Mel potting which I like but Seattle likes to keep a low profile compared to Paris or Singapore always following or trying to set the latest trends. People here don’t care so much about their look which is definitely very different from Paris.

“In the US choice is limited despite the first impression of diversity, there is the same mapping of the suburbs, the organisation at right angles, this sensation of cloning”

How is the US compared to Europe. What do you miss in the US and what do you think Europe should adapt from the US?
In the US, what strikes is the infinite space all around, that nature is stronger. There is also the standardisation of the society organised around a same model of chains, office parks. Choice is limited despite the first impression of diversity, there is the same mapping of the suburbs, the organisation at right angles, this sensation of cloning.

“In contrast, in Europe, trust is not given to people easily. In the US, very early, children are taught to be confident. It translates into a society with a lot of curiosity which gives a chance to people with strong projects”

American people are courteous, very accessible, with a lot of humour and a positive mindset you can feel in your everyday engagements. The American society seems in turn conservative and in turn very pragmatic – legalisation of cannabis in some states. With a very productive counter culture despite the lack of state support. There is also the question of guns, which is so ingrained in this society which makes it unique and very different from Europe. Also very unlike France where people never ask themselves about how they can get educated or medically treated, the system in the US is very hard on low income people.

In contrast, in Europe, trust is not given to people easily. In the US, very early, children are taught to be confident. It translates into a society with a lot of curiosity which gives a chance to people with strong projects.

Let’s talk a little bit about your work, which is connecting primarily to the idea of urban landscapes and expansion. You studied classical art, but chose photography. Would you consider yourself as an photographer? And why is it your medium?
I don’t consider myself as a photographer. I use photography as a medium, it is only a passage for me to produce a piece of work which can be associated to a painting, which is my initial background. I always had a closeness with photography and the image and its questioning, on the concept of representation. With maturity, it became natural for me to use this medium while I still consider myself a painter.

“I like the idea of the in-between concept. I am in between photography and painting, and I shoot places in-between, cities and suburbs”

Would you say you turned away from painting or is there a transition between paintings and photography or do you still paint at home?
Even if in my youth, I mainly drew or painted, very quickly I gave up the act of painting or put a distance with the act itself to choose to reproduce images with different processes. I like the idea of the in-between concept. I am in between photography and painting, and I shoot places in-between, cities and suburbs.

How would you describe your photographs in three words?
Soft, repetitive and silent.

Do you prefer digital or analog photography? Which camera do you use?
It is not for me a question of preference. I belong to the digital generation. Without this numerical transformation, I would not have become a photographer. As a consequence, I don’t really have an attachment to the camera I use, there are just a tool for me even if I take time to select quality cameras.

There are no people in your photographs. What do you intend with that?
People are here in my photography, it is true that you can’t see them but there are always human presence through the traces they left on the landscape – highways, billboards, etc.

What is your favourite photographer of all time?
If I had to choose one, it would be William Eggleston for the narrative of his photography.

Which other artists do you like and why?
I am fond of Edward Hopper. I feel a closeness with his work, the way he talks about the silence. I also love Giorgio de Chirico for his uncompromising compositions.

Do you collect art? If so, what is hanging on your walls at home?
Yes I do. For example artwork from Catherine O’Donnell, Daniel Bonnal, Patrick Joust, Nora Lowinsky, Attia Bousbaa and Antoinette Ohannessian.

What was the most inspiring exhibition you have ever visited?
Interestingly, inspiration comes more for me from watching American movies or TV shows. Movies such as Take Shelter, Hell or High water and TV shows like True Detective, Twin peaks where the picture inspires me. I am not attracted to monumental or big piece of work which sometimes can emotionally overwhelm you and trumps the message. Monumental does not say it all.

“Interestingly, inspiration comes more for me from watching American movies or TV shows. Movies such as Take Shelter, Hell or High water and TV shows like True Detective, Twin peaks where the picture inspires me”

Which brings us back to in-between concepts again.
Your first solo exhibition “Enter The Void” was in Asia on view at Charbon Art Space this year. Why in Hong Kong?

I met the owner of this gallery when I was living in Asia, loved what she was representing, and we stayed in contact. That explains why in Hong Kong. There is a lot of energy in this city, you could compare it to New York for the US.

How would you describe the art movements in Hong Kong?
There are very specific art movements in Hong Kong, based on dissidence and anti-establishment positions. It can be explained by the history of Hong Kong, its connection to China and its near future re-unification. Hong Kong wants to keep its identity and art is one of the medium for that.

What projects are planned next?
I am working on my next solo exhibition which should take place toward the end of 2017 with Private View Gallery in Torino Italy.

Sounds great! Let us know when you are ready to share the first impressions of this project with us. Until then I wish you a lot of fun and success with everything coming next.

By Revan

About A.L.U. Magazine:

A. L. U. is an online magazine dedicated to the things we love: culture, art, fashion, music, literature, food, travel, love, friendship.


SHUTTERS IN THE NIGHT MAGAZINE:

Emmanuel Monzon hails from France, where he studied art at the École des Beaux-Arts,Paris. Sometime between then and now, he moved to Singapore and then to Seattle, and also made a transition from contemporary painting to photography,while still making use of his classical art school training in his work.

Upon moving to the US, Emmanuel became fascinated by the sprawl on the outskirts of its cities,and ended up spending most of his time photographing this environment:

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 worldto another: am I leaving a city or entering a new environment?

There are several common threads woven throughout Emmanuel’s photography. First, he only uses square frames to create a strong focus on the subject, and second, his photosalways contain manmade structures or objects, but never any actual people.These two elements combine to cause viewers to perceive a deep void in the photos; an almost post-apocalyptic sense of isolation. By displaying structures humans built to serve their own needs, but in a rare state of absolute idleness, Emmanuel creates an eerily disconcerting environment. Looking at thephotos, you can almost hear the chilly silence that’d accompany them.

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 peopleonly pass through, I stop and look for some form of poetic beauty. I likerepetition, I like series, and I like driving around.

Emmanuel finds interesting subjects by doing a lot of driving around at night in suburban Seattle. Later, he’ll go back and hit the spots he identified previously,relying on a good visual memory to guide him back to places of interest. When returning to take photos, Emmanuel prefers to shoot very late at night. Thatway, there’s no traffic or people around, and he can take the time to circle around the subject and try out different angles.

Emmanuel shoots with solely a camera in his hands (no tripod, no strobes) and his main camera is a Panasonic GM1 Micro Four Thirds mirrorless with a Panasonic/Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 lens(you may remember that SITN advocated for Micro Four Thirds as the best mirrorlesssystem for night photography).

Finally, here’s what Emmanuel had to say about what he aims to achieve in his photography:

My humble purpose is that each of my pictures tells a story, makes the viewers feel something,perceive that something is happening.

LIFE FRAMER:

Here’s what Patrick di Nola (Head of Reportage at Getty Images andCo-Founder and Director of Verbatim Agencyand the Life Framer team had to say about your image:

Emmanuel shows a mastery inframing – each element of the image is perfectly weighted to produce a balanced,assured composition. Paired with muted tones it makes for an aesthetically richimage. The blandness becomes vivid.
There’s also something in its subject matter – it conjures thoughts of our needto tame the harshest of environments; to build walls and contain nature intoneat pockets. It’s bleak in its emptiness. A suburban scene, sculpted by man,but completely uninhabitable.

SON OF A GUN MAGAZINE:

“What I love about Emmanuel Monzon’s photography is his ability to capture a sense of absolute emptiness in an environment that was built for heavy use. Signs of life but not a soul in sight. I challenge you not to stare deeper in to each image, desperate to find a human being – it’s like eating a sugar-coated donut without licking your lips – it is impossible not to. We are featuring images from Emmanuel’s ongoing Urban Sprawl series including new images from Los Cabos and Ellensburg. The series seeks to explore those transitional spaces where cities become suburbs and suburbs become open country all the while finding beauty in the emptiness. Enjoy…”

WOBNEB MAGAZINE

An online magazine featuring contemporary photography

Cary is a writer and regular contributor to F-Stop Magazine and several other photography publications, including Lensculture, and Vantage Photos.


The Uncommonly Common Photos of Emmanuel Monzon

Monzon’s images are often shot at a low perspective right off the ground. This approach gives the viewer a fresh take on how we observe the world around us; buildings, cars, even the sidewalk that is flatly underfoot takes ondepth and scale not seen otherwise. This is one of the strengths in Monzon’s work that gives a new perspective at what we often overlook.

In no particular order, Monzon says this about his work and his creative process:

  • My plastic artist and painter background influences my photographic work.
  • I am a photographer who paints or a painter who uses photography – I am caught in the middle, in an “in between state”.
  • This in-between state can be found also in my landscapes or urban sprawl series. I photography places of transition, borders, passages from one world to another, am I leaving a city or entering a new place?
  • My landscape pictures always feature human traces (billboards, traffic lights, poles, roads), a reminder of urbanity built by human beings but no human beings are ever shown in my pictures.
  • I always admired painters such as Giorgio De Chirico, and Edward Hopper.
  • Living in the US, I have the impression to live in the painting, in the picture, being able to move around within this frame, to be part of this American mythology which keeps reinventing itself.
  • I choose square frames because it focuses on the subject and allows me to distance myself from the photography
  • I like repetitions, I like series, and I like driving around.

LIFE FRAMER:

by Katherine Oktober Matthews -the Chief Editor for GUP Magazine

Here’s what the team had to say about your image: “This is a tightly composed image– the photographer spotting the tonal harmony and clean, organised geometry ofthis urban highway scene. It’s another great example of the beauty in the banal that photographers such as Sinziana Velicescu and Guillaume Tomasi are building a name creating. Why it works so well though is that there is more than just an aesthetic pull. The photographer presents us with nothing that isn’t man-made,and strips the scene completely of the human life it has been built for (eventhe advertising billboard is blank). The result is, in our view, a comment on the futility of our existence, and elevates above simply a pretty image into something much more interesting”.


PHOTO ART MAGAZINE:

I’ve always been fascinated by images, be they from photography,cinema, advertising, TV shows. However, I am above all a plastic/visual artist(beaux-arts, Paris France). I started with painting (specializing in drawings and pastel colors).

For a long time, I reproduced in drawing ‘poor’ photography from catalogs, leaflets, with zero aesthetical aspects, at real scale and I have a lot of it. You may read more about it here.

My approach to photography comes from this time, which is linked to questioning an images, its representation, its reproduction, its broadcasting.

Anecdotally, toward the end of this period, I ended up exhibiting large scale photography of my own urban landscape drawings on tracing paper. More about this can be found in the article of a critic which headline was “what may be seen is not necessary what has been done”.

At the end of this process, my transition to photography became obvious. It took time with a lot of questioning and fumbling around before I found my marks.

I think that not attending any school of photography turned out to be ironically strength for my work. It allowed me to free myself up from     aesthetic, technical constraints as well as photography fundamentals. I was not afraid! Unlike what happened with my background in painting where I found myself often blocked by concepts, references to the masters of painting, and by an environment I felt was narrow minded.

From the start, I intellectualized my work less, I gave myself freedom which allowed me to find my themes, my style while keeping some of the principles I experienced in painting, that is the importance of the frame,lines of force, colors, the skinning of the image. I focused on the subject.

My plastic artist and painter background influences my photographic work. I am a photographer who paints or a painter who uses photography – I am caught in the middle, in an “in between state”.

This in-between state can be found also in my landscapes or urban sprawl series. I photography places of transition, borders, passages from one world to another, am I leaving a city or entering a new place?

My landscape pictures always feature human traces (billboards, trafficlights, poles, roads), a reminder of urbanity built by human beings but no human beings are ever shown in my pictures.

Living in the US, I have the impression to live in the painting, in the picture, being able to move around within this frame, to be part of this     American mythology which keeps reinventing itself.

I choose square frames because it focuses on the subject and allows me to distance myself from the photography. My humble purpose is that each of my picture tells a story, makes the viewers feel something, that something is“happening”.

In my artwork, there is no judgment, no denunciation, there is 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 urban mundane landscape a form of estheticism.Where people only pass through, I stop and look for some form of poetic beauty.I like repetitions, I like series, and I like driving around.

Images featured here are a selection of different places which provide a representation of my current work where the name of the place matters little.

Preferences, methods and equipment, etc.: I travel a lot. I drive around a lot. I like to circle around the subject and map it.

I can stay a long time in a specific place and shoot it thoroughly multiple times. Sometimes the frame is obvious, but not always. I know that the subject is there but I cannot really see it so I shoot obsessively hoping to find a result when back at my studio. I can also come back to the same place many times.

Back to the studio – I sort out, I extract my storyline, I do the first step of framing (always using square frames), I choose the color that will  stand out for the series, I let the series rest for several days and I go back to it, repeating the same process over and over again.

Lately, I don’t discard the leftovers, I re-work them several months later and sometimes I can find new directions.

As I said before, I am using the same process as a painter. I think first about the sketch, the draft. Then, I work my picture like a painting on a canvas, I select the colors.

Throughout this process, a series emerges, articulated around its own story, its place, and its mood.

My goal is to reach my own reality. I understood with the experience that real does not exist, it’s only a question of interpretation.

However, I don’t use photography software, no Photoshop, no Lightroom,just the basics of balance and colors. I like printings on big scale watercolor paper (30 x 30 inches) to be exhibited in art galleries, like a painting.

I shoot simply with a camera, as in street photography. I have a Panasonic Lumix GM1. I changed the lens to Leica DG Summilux 25mm, and a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 with Leica 35-100 lens.

I need to have it handy, ready to shoot. I don’t have sentimental attached to my camera, I only hope for efficiency. Most of the work will happenin the studio, especially since I have a rather love/hate relationship with my camera knowing I am a poor technician. I belong to the digital generation.Without this numeric revolution, I would not have had the chance to be in this discipline.

My upcoming project(s)/events : I’m preparing for an exhibition in Europe with the art gallery which represents me (Private View, Italy); an      exhibition in Asia for the art gallery in Hong Kong (Charbon); 2 photo books,respectively called “around my neighborhood” (around the 4 seasons), “urban sprawl Las Vegas, emptiness”

Influences and favorite stuff : As a young adult, I always admired painters such as Giorgio De Chirico (his geometrical figures, little to no        human presence, something appeasing but also oppressing), Edward Hopper for his static compositions and his true American landscapes, also Mike Bayne. Other photographers include: Robert Adams, William Eggleston, Stephen Shore, Bill Owens, Robert Frank, Gregory Crewdson, Gordon Parks, and Joel Meyerowitz.

From the cinema and literature, I am influenced by movies of Scorcese,James Frey (Morning After), The Twin Peaks TV show, True Detective, Take Shelter, Hell or High Water, etc.

Editor P.A.M.


BE ART MAGAZINE: ENTER THE VOID


Monzon shows milky silent suburbs where the asphalt blends with the rocks or the rocks blends with the asphalt. With the magic of Monzon’s eye to take the right angle, and his  talent to choose the right time in the day to shoot, those urban sprawlings have become part of Mother Nature.

Is it possible to consider that an artist would unveil how would be our future? because those powerful pictures give the feeling that Monzon shows our World like it will bein a Century, or Two.

“ Monzon explains ‘This aesthetic of the void in my photographic work attempts

to  understand our current environment : can it be one of de-civilization? “

Beatrice Chassepot

About be-ArtMagazine: is an independent high-quality-only magazine committed to providing articles, images or videos on selected exhibitions and artworks. be-Art magazine also offers a rigorous selection of Artists, ArtFairs, Galleries and Museums

THISISNTHAPPINESS- BlogMagazine:

•”I don’t want to go where I’m going I just want to leave where I am”•


“My favorite example of the quintessential Tumblr … Great sensibility here, always surprising.”
New York Times

“A Tumblr You NEED To Follow”
The Huffington Post

WCITY MAGAZINE HONG KONG

Good photos are worthy of recognition, and for good reason. Seattle-based photographer Emmanuel Monzon takes us through his perspective of his hometown’s urban sprawl, through fifteen stunning photographs.

Masterfully composed and matched with near monochromatic tones, Monzon’s photos piece together a phenomenon that we see but do not observe. The rapid urban development in one of North America’s busiest cities is a sight to behold, and more so under Monzon’s expert curation. The artworks from Monzon’s upcoming ‘Enter the Void’exhibition follow a stylistic rule that gives the end result an appreciable personal touch. Wiped clean from the canvas are living things and bright colors, as one would expect from a fast growing urban city. Instead Monzon’s photos keep a keen focus on geometric composition, granting more attention to the emptiness of removed grasslands than it does to the vibrancy of concrete landscapes. Deliberately composed, cropped, and framed, Monzon’s unique presentation turns the urban landscape that we see, cross, and live in, into a romantic painting worthy of awe and appreciation.

LAMONO MAGAZINE: link

Emmanuel Monzon, America se tiñe de gris

Más y más vacío. Bienvenidos a la America más gris y polvorienta, a un desierto libre de todo idealismo y grandeza. Esta es la esencia detrás de las imágenes de este fotógrafo asentado en Seattle: pura, absoluta decadencia. Otra mirada a la America profunda que nos descubre que, en los Estados Unidos, no todo es tan bonito como parece ni una oda constante a las mejores historias de Hollywood. A veces, lo que uno se encuentra allí es, simplemente, polvo y vacío. link

Dion Ys Us Magazine

Dion Ys Us is an online culture magazine & platform that shares the art and opinions of creatives with the curious.

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SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

French visual artist Emmanuel Monzon explores urban sprawl in his first solo exhibition in Hong Kong.

Called “Enter the Void”, the show, at Charbon art space from February 25 until March 25, focuses on the US city of Seattle where Monzon is based.

The images, both bleak and beautiful, depict a perfect balance of photographic composition paired with muted tones.

“This aesthetic of the emptiness in my photographic work attempts to understand our current environment – can it be one of de-civilisation,” asks Monzon, a graduate of the prestigious Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

Monzon focuses primarily on the idea of urban sprawling and urban expansion.

Kylie Knott

Dodho Magazine

is a free independent magazine based in Barcelona. We live, breathe and move by the passion that awakes photography in all their ambits.

Dodho Magazine features the best of contemporary photography, bringing together diverse bodies of work by established and emerging artists from around the globe.

Dodho Magazine is well respected by the Galleries, Photography Agencies and Agents around the world. Photographers that have been published in Dodho Magazine has gained more interest in their work & landed jobs from the exposure we have afforded them.

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