Two French photographers shooting ruins of Reșița

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Who are you?

We are 2 photographers from France, Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre, and we are working together since 2006. Mostly working on contemporary ruins, industrial monuments and industrial landscapes. We started almost as teenagers in Paris, walking around buildings. Then, we started to travel in Belgium, United Kingdom, Spain to visit other buildings and we find in love about abandoned places.

How everything started?

Thanks to a common friend we started to visit an abandoned factory at approximately 40km from Paris. We used to work alone and little by little, we started to see us more often in abandoned places to shoot as a duo. With the time, we progressed together until our vision became the same. In 2005 we decided to go to Detroit (USA) to document the ruins of the city which used to be the capital of automobile. The city went from 1,5 million inhabitants in 1970 to less than 700.000 inhabitants in 2000 because the factories closed and now everything is abandoned. Detroit is really important because in this city, the first car of almost every American was build, the Ford T. In this place we was used to shoot movie theaters, hotels, offices buildings, schools, habitations, train stations.. All of that was fascinating to us. We went another time to Detroit in 2006 to work specifically on old movie theaters. Since this moment, we decided to use only one camera for two photographers.

Our working method is called “Urbex” for Urban Exploration. Basically, it’s about walking around buildings and finding a small window or a hole which allow us to enter in the building. It’s not always obvious, sometimes it works, sometimes not. It’s exciting, you feel like in an adventure and like an archeologist amateur when you open a door and you don’t know what you’re going to find. It’s interesting because you learn about geography, history by travelling and finding places, asking local population about what happened. It’s always full of mystery : How it was abandoned, when was it built? It’s something very pleasant to do.

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Why choosing to come to Resita?

Resita is one of these places strongly linked to industry. It was built around the steel mine. We already went to Resita but we didn’t have time to shoot. Now we are back, 13 years later. Fortunately the place didn’t change since, every building is still here. We are back to Resita to shoot with a drone, we went to the cooling tower because the structure is interesting. The architecture inside of the tower is interesting, even if it’s a typical industrial structure. It has no mean to be beautiful but as photographer, the light, the objects of technology of industries are quite beautiful and interesting. We would also shoot the inside of the cooling tower which hasn’t be properly do yet.

Even if people think that the cooling towers are ugly from outside, these have been objects of technology for one hundred years. Everything that was build is a heritage. It’s very clever to use them and to preserve this heritage from the past. We think that the huge tower are arts, for example in Milano, the Pirelli Headquarter is built around a tower.

So we came to Resita, because Romania and particularly this city own the most iconic industrial places in the world.

Where can we find your pictures?

You can find our picture online, on the website and on Instagram: @marchandmeffre. And soon there will be the release of our book about abandoned movie theater. The book called “Movie theaters” will be released by the end of November, published by “Prestel”.

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Autor: Paul Lesouef