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An exhaustive exploration of modern ruins

5 years ago

Born in 1989, geographer and self-taught photographer Loic Vendrame focuses his work on the study of dynamics and mutations, through a project of urban "non-places" in the world. This long-term documentary project completed across several countries around the world analyzes the urban and architectural impact of the last world financial crisis and the burst of the real estate bubble.

His series ‘Riad Mirage Club’, was shortlisted in the Professional Competition of the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards.


Hi Loic. Thanks for talking with us! Please introduce yourself and tell us about your photography

I’m a French amateur photographer, who really started photography in 2013 focusing on shooting contemporary architecture. Since 2016, I shifted my work towards the study of the dynamics and changes of urban and peri-urban landscapes. I focused on ‘modern ruins’, the new places abandoned due to financial and real estates crisis.

I tried to highlight unsustainable political and socio-economic phenomena, sometimes devoiding all common sense, through a monographic photo study documenting abandoned, stopped or under-utilized modern spaces throughout the world.


Why photography? What does the medium mean to you? How did you get started?

My interest in photography is directly related to my studies in geography and the study of cities and urban transformation. Today I approach photography as a tool to show this phenomena. I focused on the study of the urban and architectural impact of the global financial crisis and the housing bubble burst around the world, in a long-term project entitled ‘Future rust, Future dust’. I am fascinated by these abandoned concrete skeletons and unfinished structures in the wild for years, witnessing the socio-economic upheavals.

This lifetime project is an exhaustive exploration of these modern ruins in all the countries affected. I place them in the center, keeping them in their immediate environment.

Tell us more about your successful image series, 'Riad Mirage Club'

‘Riad Mirage Club’ is part of my ongoing project ‘Future Rust, Future Dust’ and it was shot in the outskirts of Marrakech, in Morocco. It is the result of a long research work, using satellite views to identify abandoned buildings and tourist complexes. This tedious search is the starting point for each of my series. For this project, I located more than 500 abandoned buildings within a radius of 30 km.

Through this series, I want the viewer to be surprised by the large number of abandoned buildings. Furthermore, I want them to question the consequences on the environment, the destruction of agricultural land for unsustainable urbanization and the concept of "Disneylandisation" tourism as theorized by French geographer Sylvie Brunel.


Your work straddles different themes, especially architecture and landscape photography - how do you balance these?

I was immediately fascinated by the contrast between the semi-desert vegetation and the architecture of the buildings found. This series is the best photographically accomplished of my project. I imposed myself a type of framing, with the subject in the center of the photo, and the same distance from the lens, a partition 50/50 between the ground and the sky. I also looked for a frontal and raw look, while maintaining a desire to highlight volumes that brought density to the photographs. This series is even closer than my previous one called ‘New Topographics’, which seeks to maintain a spirit of neutrality facing the history of the photographed building.

Do you have a photographic philosophy?
No, but I always want to keep having fun when taking photos!

Where in the world are you and what's next for you?
I’m currently working and travelling between many countries in Africa as an NGO worker, but my hometown is Paris. The next plans for my project are to shoot in UAE, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Spain (again), Tunisia…