Berlin, Bombay, Buenos Aires, Johannesburg, Kiev, Lagos, Moscow, Naples, New Delhi, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Shangai, Sydney, Teheran, Tokyo.
You can only see what a big city is like when you cross it. You don’t just make a subjective, personal journey and get a picture of the city’s movement, its brilliance, undulation and personality. You see things which illustrate life and can serve as symbols of existence – I borrow this phrase from Joseph Conrad.
When I look at the twenty photographs which make up this “Metropolis edition” of PRIVATE, it’s not what makes the cities different from each other that strikes me, in fact I’d say that these big cities are very similar to each other, not in their detail, faces, bodies and scenes, but in the variety of emotions which they arouse and which we all experience. In both Moscow and Buenos Aires we find the same intensity of noise and silence, in New York and Tehran the same crowds and solitude, in Lagos and New Delhi the same irony of our accumulations, and in Sydney and Shanghai the same contrast of humanities.
Even if the approach, treatment, light, subject and composition are unique and ephemeral, the symbolic tie which unites our existences is very much in evidence. It’s this interpretation which today places photography apart from the foolish consumerist images which decorate our cities. Some of the photographs in this edition convey the power of this derision, and sometimes absurdity or bitterness, by showing an image within an image, lies within truth, an inexistent dream within an authentic nightmare. To my mind, it’s because of and through this symbolic tie that photography builds increasingly precious fraternities, and whilst some discourse tends to set some worlds against others, photography, like music, reminds us of what unites us.
(by Pierre-François Moreau)