Pierre Siedel


Artist Statement

This sequence of photographic works started as a coincidence. On my way back from a photo shoot in a park with an actress, I suddenly asked her to pose in the middle of the subway’s swarming crowd. After the shot, I realized that I used the same approach a few years ago at the Essaouira Port in Morocco, where a seagull quietly drifted in the sky amid the hasty flight of others birds. It is one of my favorite pictures.

The result of the snapshot with the actress was incredible that it made me discard all my previous plans to focus solely in creating this new set of works. In these photographs, the subject in the midst of the bustling is being stripped away from his/her surroundings, transcending space and time.

The intuitive creative process is depicted through the sensitivity of the works, which reflects years of exploration in cinematography and photography. The two fields are closely linked, as photography is defined as “writing through light” in semiology, but the main and crucial difference is that one is a still image, and the other a moving image. I attempt to bring closer a photographic image with a cinematographic image through these works, where the blurred scene portrays the movement of the mass while the subject is fixed as if frozen in time.

This method became my “artistic medium” in which the subjects are placed in the artificial urban landscape, contemplating time. The subway, hidden and secluded, became an underground bubble that holds the flow of people.

Being isolated from the rushing crowd, one feels alienated, lonely, detached even abandoned. In this artificial universe, the underground transit bubble stirs the mind to a kind of self-reflection. I thought it would be interesting to explore through photography such absurd places like the subway where everyone is running in the same direction and never stops.

The condition of shooting in the subway leads me to work on the spot and to meditate in that final moment when an unexpected group of individuals is captured through the lens.

This work was made with a 4×5 inch large format camera.

Pierre Siedel at Young Gallery