Similar to travel art since 1854, Louis Vuitton continues to add titles to its “Fashion Eye” collection. Each book evokes a city, a region or a country viewed through the eyes of a photographer. The collection marks the first time the British capital. Robi Rodriguez imagines London as a cool city, in the shadows and in fiction.
“Look at the best art from all over the world” *. London A warning shot or a contradictory line by Robi Rodriguez, it depends. This order is engraved on Tate Modern’s pediment. At the beginning of the book we see the building and its magic. A wide view from the Millennium Bridge where the white sky of the faint sky stands alone, the museum is a block, the crowd of missing faces, the grazing winter light and the discreet presence of the Millennium Bridge.
This shot features pieces from the Spanish photographer London. A balanced, homogeneous puzzle, sweet to put together and expands page by page, in the book. We see unfamiliar faces, often in solitude. On these faces, views taken in the shadows playing with the rays of black and light. Around these lone casts are the landmarks of the British capital, the Thames, the bridges, and its low-angle street corners.
But we come to the part where we talk about the middle ground. The sentence is not trivial. This is the photographer’s first London piece. After a few pages other typography, other capital letters, other characters will appear. Howard Gallery In the play of lines and curves … National Theater London Bridge⁇ New Scotland Yard
These calculations refer to a simple geographical reality as a whole, mainly places at first glance. Here is London, here is the new page of street photography, because you can see Tokyo with its handwritten signs or cafes printed on the terraces with its names on Paris. For those who know one place, another place and not to stay there, a simple walk through the city. The story is very simple. But it is not forbidden to think that there is still a little answer to the mark.
These inscriptions can be read in Rodriguez’s work on the street, its inhabitants and the elements that stand apart from it. Writing acts as a foil. Where the sign is National Theater Standing alone in the foreground was brilliantly crushed by the building with horrible lines, with the body of an actress lost in the concrete and crushed by the camera and the building – almost a tragedy, this is a movie that transforms the theater.
Where stands alone New Scotland YardA woman with a sad face and a white face in a dark dress walks by. Without the identification and provocation of the Metropolitan Police headquarters, the film would add a (sweet and) romantic dictionary of clichs of sad people. Instead of documenting it or sustaining it, the sentence acts on the imagination of the film. Pediment gives it drama. Is he a victim? A criminal? A policewoman?
By drawing more of the image and its object, the imagination takes precedence over print. As the photographer is commanded to search for his images, we accept the process: “their meanings must echo each other”, he calls. Photographing London is like looking different than that. You have to imagine it, while at the same time looking at the book, under the prism of lies, under disappointment, fiction. These pictures are nothing but hypocrisy. “This story aims to provide something other than the everyday reality of the city,” Rodriguez reveals. And there is nothing more deceptive than the real thing.
The graphic composition of the photographer and graphic designer (Lords of Design) subtly overwrites the idea of the film, hence the fiction. The images are repeated at the bottom of the page, transferred over the image and reproduced as if the silver image had jumped on light-sensitive paper. When reading, this process gives the impression of splitting a silver screen or reading a contact sheet, and looking at images to retain only imaginary scraps.
This is a simple invention that tells all the powerful summary of a flash. How many times have we not wanted to remember him for a cross-view of the street? A closed face, a constricted mouth, a hard eye or, conversely, a happy one? When the retina reprints itself, the feeling of surprise, which often disappears immediately, goes over people across the street. The faces follow each other like many echoes in Rodriguez’s book. His London has dazzling color, its color shade and its uncertain pieces.
They are photographs of the distance, bodies facing the back of the head, sometimes suspicious and sometimes threatening faces, brave bodies and questions. Forced poses that raise creatures or make them monkeys. Crowds that do not form one and heads that do not form the whole body. All of this crowd disappears and reappears, like a nagging dream. Pages turn, echoes still echo, weaken, disappear in a word: dreams.
Rodriguez – Takes London
Louis Vuitton Editions, 2021
Collection of “Fashion Eye” directed by Julian Courier.
Edited by Damien Paul
Graphics of Lords of Design.
Bilingual French-English, 96 pages.
Available at bookstores or online
* “View masterpieces from around the world”