Paris has seen some of the hottest days last summer with temperatures rising up to 42 degrees. Extinction Rebellion protest for climate change. Les Gilets Jaunes celebrate a year protesting against the government. In the winter, the city came to a stand still during the RATP train strikes against changes to the retirement age. And yet the fight continues...

This series combines activity contributing to various protests in Paris 2019, stringing together a loose narrative in how these tensions and struggles cycle and spiral forwards as part of change and growth. Without context of a clearer cause, the photography directs focus on the nature of protest as an human act. In this sense, themes combine urbanism, politics, social economics, capitalism and climate change, widening the perspective on our relationship with the systems people are fighting for or against. The photographs juxtapose scenes with participants or spectators and traces of the protests to help us consider the driving force, its meaning and impact. There is a distance from the chaos we would normally associate with protest which adds a poetic edge in the photography, correlating with how the photographer has engaged with the subject as an foreigner.

The series of observations are orchestrated with a predominant calmness that is injected with visual hits of energy or tension, leaving us to imagine the drama that surrounds these moments. However the timelessness of the collection between day, night, summer and winter flatten our perception of what we might expect to understand in relation to the typical press image. This in turn brings aesthetics to the forefront, where we can equally focus on colour and form in the same way we might admire the beauty of old war paintings from the distant past. The absence of the police leaves us with suspense and a jarring disconnection to the clash of the moment, which is what retains a focus on the people and their evolving journey forwards between protests. The main purpose for this collection is to raise questions on how protest can be viewed from a detached perspective and draw focus on how we continue to shift and adapt within the city.

© 2020 Chris Lee

  • dots
  • Black Vimeo Icon
  • Black Instagram Icon
  • Black LinkedIn Icon