Things we love
Photographer Franck Allais reframes the city
BUILDHOLLYWOOD aims to showcase work that helps us experience and engage with urban environments in unexpected, unconventional ways. Franck Allais’ remarkable photographic projects do just that, they retune our attention so that barely noticed, mundane aspects of city dwelling are cast in a new light.
Allais’ project titled ‘Laundry’ is typical of his patient, imaginative way of working. “I’d been visiting this estate for more than two years, taking photographs regularly every week. I saw how the details changed from day to day and season to season.” Then one day he felt that, “the estate had stopped breathing, there was no longer a pulse.”
It turns out the site had been slated for demolition to make way for the new high-speed rail line. Over the course of numerous visits Allais visually samples architectural details, he records different effects the weather has on the mood of certain views and catalogues ignored corners where discarded items accumulate over time. It struck Allais, however, that he didn’t often see the people who lived there. This was true before the proposed destruction of the site. And while the dwindling number occupants hung on still the most conspicuous indication of their presence were lines of washing hung between the estate buildings.
In the weeks before the site was entirely fenced off Allais printed his photographs of washing onto banners and displayed them on lines in the same way that the washing had for decades been hung out to dry. The result is a moving, somewhat wistful intervention. A final ‘waving goodbye’ to a place that had been home to so many ephemeral presences. Gently shimmying in the breeze, ‘Laundry’ flags up material change – the estates’ demolition – but also alludes to a human fragility, the work poetically marks what a huge impact large scale civil engineering schemes have on communities displaced by them.
© Concept and Photographs Copyright and Courtesy of FRANCK ALLAIS