MAGAZINE // ARTISTS
Are computer-generated architectural visualisations art; are they even photography? Alban Lecuyer says they can be and we strongly agree when exposed to his series “Here Soon”. Consisting of digitally rendered images based on photographs collected from previous works, he examines both his and our own perceptions of cities and cityscapes, of what is viewed positive, and what we rather want to hide. Lecuyer's images speak loudly of they apparent need of architects and real estate firms to simplify and beautify our urban environment when trying to promote and sell buildings and developments, and question therein our society and its way of not relating to and feeling represented by the ordinary.
The artist, by using continually certain features of basic computer generated imagery, such as always depicting the same sky and clouds, sunshine, saturated colours and slightly transparent people and trees, is able to make his viewer collide head on with the very consciously chosen disparities, namely the choice of characters.
Whereas in commercially produced images we often do not find multi-generation people (teenagers or the elderly) or diverse ethnicity for example and he makes a point by portraying real people, those who actually live in the buildings, and leaves all visible traces of human consumption intact. He skilfully raises important questions about underlying issues of our social order and community, in a time where normally everything is always "politically correct" on the surface and all people should be equal.
We find these images delightfully thoughtful, stylistically and aesthetically coherent and delicate and plainly enjoy both the beautiful compositions as well as execution.
Well done, Alban!
Born in Paris in 1977, I studied journalism and photography at the Superior School of Journalism of Lille (France). I mainly work on architectural projects for council housing offices or private companies, and teach the history of photography and the interpretation of pictures at the DMA of Nantes (France). My personal project focuses on the representations of the collective housing (political, media, commercial, social representations) and on the place of all and sundry facing the alteration of urban spaces. Can contemporary cities propose some sort of tangible future? Are places transformed in conformity with the architects’ stylized perspectives? What is the influence of those fictitious representations on our perception of urban environment?
My work has been exhibited in Spain (festival Getxophoto), in Switzerland (Biel Festival of Photography) and in France (Le BAL, festival Circulation(s), festival Images Singulières, Archifoto – International Awards of Architectural Photography, etc.).
The Here Soon series transpose reality from everyday city life into the aesthetic of computer graphics, which aim to showcase high-quality real estate projects. Contrasts are light, shadows are reduced to a minimum, and all that stands between the spectator and the project – trees, vehicles, passers-by and so on – is shown in transparency. The presence of the local residents calls attention to their singularity, their paths, and their relationship with their surroundings. The frame leaves place for writing on the walls, laundry hung out to dry, abandoned objects, trash — everything that bears witness to a civilization that has left its mark on the place that it inhabits. Therefore, the emergence of a concrete memory of places contradicts the universal and potential value of images made by architects or town planners.