In a photo series entitled “Souvenir d’un Futur” (Memory of a Future), photographer Laurent Kronental presents a lesser known side of Paris. Focusing on high-rise public housing projects in and around the city that are slated for demolition, Kronental’s images look like a believably near dystopian future. The buildings, collectively called the grands ensembles, were built after World War II for the sake of migrants and immigrants seeking to build lives in Paris.
Aiding in creating this vision are some of the first inhabitants of the projects — the senior citizens that stand in quite a few of Kronental’s photographs. Their expressions vary from vaguely forlorn to defiantly resilient. However, one thing remains the same: they are all alone.
The project took a span of four years to complete. Kronental’s camera of choice, a 4-by-5 analog camera, really helped set the tone for the images. The slight grain and softened colors make the photographs all the more poetic, nostalgic, and melancholic.
“There is actually a strength in these people. There are those melancholy glances but at the same time these solid postures. The people I photographed were far from being sad and they were still valiant despite, sometimes, a faraway look,” he said via e-mail to The Washington Post.
Kronental’s Souvenir d’un Futur is currently being exhibited at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. It is scheduled to close on February 7, 2016.