Denis Darzacq

© Denis Darzacq I first came across Denis Darzacq's work last year with his series La Chute. For this series Darzacq worked with dancers from troubled neighbourhoods in the Paris suburbs, capturing their bodies suspended in mid-air against the grim urban landscapes of their quartiers. The series reminds me of the seminal film on the Paris 'banlieues' (suburban ghettos), Matthieu Kassovitz's 1995 film, La Haine, which film famously ends with the words, "L'important c'est pas la chute, c'est l'aterrissage" (It's not the fall that counts, it's the landing). La Haine was a fictional study of the escalating crime and violence that was threatening to set many of Paris's suburbs alight: a high-velocity fall that was sooner or later going to a lead to a painful and explosive landing.

Over 10 years later, it looks like not much has changed and that many of these areas are still in free-fall. But Darzacq's images are a far cry from La Haine's gritty black and white aesthetic. The young dancers' bodies are captured in graceful and oddly fragile poses, frozen in mid-fall. And while these cityscapes aren't exactly inviting, there is a certain graphic beauty in these compositions. I think Darzacq's the basic technique for La Chute is a really simple and intelligent use of photography's ability to show us the invisible. I liked these even more when I found out that they were shot on film without any involvement from Photoshop. I haven't seen the prints, but it sounds like they don't disappoint.

I also suggest checking out the more recent series Hyper, where Darzacq captures these teenage bodies floating through the overlit hypercolour landscapes of France's hypermarchés. There is also a short film that gives an interesting insight into the process of making these images without spoiling the magic.