THE CITY THROUGH THE LENS – JEAN-MARC CARACCI

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Cityscapes enclose a hive of rushed activity within urban confines. However, Jean-Marc Caracci has been able to zoom in on moments where the city slicker is caught in a few metres of cosmopolitan solitude.

Who is Jean-Marc Caracci in the eyes of Jean-Marc Caracci?

I’m a travel lover who uses photography as an excuse to travel abroad and meet new people and cultures.

Can you recall the first time you connected with a camera? What had caught your eye?

I was about fifteen. My big brother made me look into the viewfinder of his camera – a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye – and it was just magic. He then lent it to me, and I photographed my entire family. Photographing people has so far been what I like capturing the most.

Your collection, HUE, captures the urban being in his territory. How did the subjects differ from one city to another?

There was no difference whatsoever. That’s actually the subject. Through its aesthetic, I wanted the series Homo Urbanus Europeanus to have a political dimension that endeavours to give a very simple message – “Yes to Europe”. In order to express these three words, I chose to photograph every European capital – irrespective if they are members of the European Union or not – in the same sober style and without any cultural or social visibility, thus favouring the similarity to the difference; the ‘europeanity’ to the diversity. Homo Urbanus Europeanus is, in a way, my artistic contribution to the unity of all the European countries.

The next capitals I plan on photographing in the near future are Tórshavn, Minsk, Baku, Yerevan and Tbilisi.

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Cities often bring to mind throngs of people concentrated in streets or within transportation. Your pictures capture the opposite within those same urban spaces.

Yes, crowds and noises are always shown to characterise the city or urban life, and to point out the supposed alienation of the citizen. But as a pedestrian myself and a lover of walking, I know this is to be just an exaggeration. I very much relate to the characters in the Homo Urbanus Europeanus photos, who wander and snake through the city, lonely but no less proud and determined. In my mind, each picture of the series, by the accuracy of its framing and its crisp style, sounds like a hymn to the magnificent citizen. Moreover, this human presence – this silhouette captured with fineness who is always in the right place at the right time – gives the city an unexpected beauty and majesty.

You’ve been working as a photographer since the age of 15. How would you say your vision has evolved over the years?

Quite simply, I’ve eliminated the useless in order to keep the essential. Whatever I photograph, be it people or plants, I do my best to isolate the main subject and to capture it in a clean state. What I mean to say by this is that I work to capture them in an environment with simple structures. By the end of my efforts, my photographs are often very geometrical, which helps the viewer’s glance to go directly to the main subject, and then to look around to take in and appreciate the whole image.

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What is the photographer’s role in the grander scheme of things?

The supposed role of the artist photographer is the same as that of all artists – addressing what people don’t see, or don’t take the time to see, or what they don’t want to see. The aim of the artist photographer, as well as the poet, is to show the unsuspecting beauty of things, as well as their extreme ugliness.

Is there somewhere or something you’re hoping to photograph in the future?

Yes, my girlfriend’s cats, who, after 18 months of living with them, always run to hide under beds and wardrobes when they see me approaching with my camera :)

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The full exhibition of Homo Urbanus Europeanus can be viewed here.