The work of Emmanuel Monzon focuses primarily on the idea of urban sprawling and the urban expansion of its periphery. Monzon’s aesthetic of the banal obeys its own rules: a ban on living objects, a precise geometrical organization, and the revelation of a specific physical and mental landscape blurring the lines between city and suburb, between suburb and countryside, a process that results in an independent identity.
I am a photographer who paints or a painter who uses photography : I am caught in the middle, in an "in-between state". This in-between state can be found also in my landscapes or Urban Sprawl series.
I photograph places of transition, borders, passages from one world to another. Am I leaving a city or entering a new place? My landscape pictures always feature human traces (billboards, traffic lights, poles, roads), a reminder of urbanity built by human beings, but without human beings shown in my pictures. In addition, pictures taken in cities never show any human presence. As a young adult, I always admired painters such as Giorgio De Chirico (geometrical figures, little to no human presence, something appeasing but also oppressing), Edward Hopper for his static compositions and his true American landscapes, and also Mike Bayne . Other photographers include: Robert Adams, William Eggleston, Stephen Shore, Bill Owens, Robert Frank, Gregory Crewdson, Gordon Parks.
Living in the US, I have the desire to live in the painting, in the picture. To be able to move around within this frame and to be part of this American mythology which keeps reinventing itself. I choose square frames because it focuses on the subject and allows me to distance myself from the photography. I like repetitions, I like series, I like driving around.
This aesthetic of the emptiness in my photographic work attempts to understand our current environment.
— Emmanuel Monzon
Emmanuel Monzon is a French photographer and visual artist based in Seattle, WA. He graduated from the Academy of Beaux-Arts in Paris, France with honors. His work has been featured throughout the US, Europe and Asia (through exhibitions, selections and various awards). Through his work, he explores and questions the signs of urban sprawl in our visual field. His photographic process is being influenced by his plastic art artist background.