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Sébastien Durand


And suddenly, life goes on

On May 11, 2020, a Monday morning, wearing a mask became mandatory in the Paris metro. While the crowds were down sharply, the landscape of the metro seemed to freeze, people to hide, life suddenly withdrawing from the underground mazes. Less emotion, less history, less life to offer the viewer: I stopped taking photographs there. Let’s wait for this dull episode to end.

I went back months later: colorful, life had indeed imposed itself in the daily life of the metro, sublime banality.

Heroes were still there, majestic. Emotions remained alive, postures and looks betrayed so many stories. Life engulfed again with force under the surface of the city, revealing so many faces of the Human. Had it really stopped doing it?

Randomly on a trip, it is the tenderness of a couple that we meet, caught up in our obsession with the smartphone. It is also the lucky charm that we are always looking for in a life that has not yet overcome its difficulties. It is this prostrate position in the corner of a train, as much to hide there as to take refuge there. It is a very Parisian elegance that lights up a train to disappear at the next station… If fears about a virus still sometimes appear, it is everyday concerns that dominate. We can read our hopes and our doubts, our achievements and our weaknesses.

This series wants to be the witness of this beauty of everyday life, a hymn to the beauty of people who, through an apparent banality imposes with delicacy and with great accuracy the image of our humanity. It is our story that I came to listen in the metro and that I try, in turn, to transmit.

It responds to the black and white series “Subway travel companions” (published in November 2019 in the Eye of Photography) which, reporting collisions between the anonymous crowds of the metro and street furniture, questioned the part of humanity travel.
Sébastien Durand

« Subway travel companions » Series in l’Œil de la Photographie :
The « Subway travel companions » series will be exhibited at the Rencontres de la Photo de Chabeuil in September 2022.

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