YVES MARCHAND & ROMAIN MEFFRE

Since 2002, photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre have been united by their shared passion for contemporary ruins. They capture lost ideals and faded glory by photographing the buildings that are left behind.

 

Modern ruins or obsolete, abandoned buildings, reused for commercial purposes as shops or markets, are meticulously captured. Their artwork is at times frightening and alienating, yet always mesmerizing and soothing.

“During our visits to ruins, we always try to focus on remarkable buildings, whose architecture embody the psychology of an age and a system, and we observe the metamorphosis of the process of decay.”

The Ruins of Detroit
Industry

Over the past years Marchand and Meffre have developed a structured way of photographing industrial premises. Each time they start inside the industrial compounds; the production halls, machine rooms and control rooms. They then move into the administrative and social spaces like offices and changing rooms. 

Working from the inside out, they finish with the surrounding nature. The series Industry can be seen as a documentation of economic and societal evolution. Scenes steeped in a tender yet unsettling apocalyptic atmosphere reveal the flaws of our modern society.

obsolete as from the beginning of the sixties.
In the decades to follow, these theaters were either modernized, or closed and demolished. The buildings that escaped demolition have been converted to serve a variety of purposes. Marchand and Meffre's work poignantly portrays the lost ideals of the heyday of the silver screen.

At the end of the 19th century, Detroit was about to become the car capital of the world and the cradle of modern mass-production. Beacon of the American Dream, the city Detroit played a fundamental role in shaping the modern industrial world, yet the logic that created the city also destroyed it. Nowadays, the city’s ruins are not isolated details in the urban environment but have become a natural

component of its landscape.
Detroit presents all archetypal buildings of an American city in a state of mummification. Its splendid decaying monuments can be seen as remnants of the passing of a great empire comparable to the Pyramids of Egypt, the Coliseum of Rome, or the Acropolis in Athens.

Theaters

In the early twentieth century, as the entertainment industry prospered, hundreds of movie theaters were built across North America. Major entertainment firms and movie studios commissioned specialized architects to build grandiose and extravagant auditoriums.

 

Due to TV, multiplexes and urban crises these buildings became 

Between 2014 and 2016, Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre visited 400 of the more than 4,000 internal courtyards in Budapest. Their large number and variety of styles incorporating different facets of classicism and modernity make them a remarkable architectural phenomenon, a charming second city within the city.

They systematically documented these courtyards, producing a typological series that describes this particular form of collective housing and reflects the city’s tumultuous history, its changing political regimes and economy. Budapest Courtyards allows them to delight in the crumbling grandeur of the courtyards, and observe the developments and personal strategies of adaptation which they evidence.

This work will be published in a book by Steidl in 2019.

Budapest Courtyards
Gunkanjima

Hashima, the Island at the Edge, lies about 15 kilometers from the port of Nagasaki, Japan. Today the island is desolate, but only half a century ago it was the site of a coal mine with tunnels diving down to coal beds under the sea. The mining industry generated a thriving community with one of the highest population densities ever recorded

on earth. Howeve, when the mine closed in 1974 the inhabitants quickly abandoned the island leaving behind an empty shell and a haunting message about industrial infrastructure and the exhaustion of natural resources.

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