Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze

Concrete Stories

His latest series, called Concrete Stories, offers an entirely new perspective on the city’s urban life, capturing the way that space-squeezed residents utilize their building’s communal roofs. It’s both beautiful and mesmerizing, in a “Rear Window” [Hitchcock] kind of way.
— Jesus Diaz, Fast Co Design 2018

Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze "Sky Waling" [Hong Kong, 2016]

Whatever is alive, the small moments of joy and grace that can happen in their lives. It could be a totally random moment, like someone fixing his antenna, thats a very daily action, but he does it at a certain place with the right sunset or sunrise light on him. That makes him look much more dignified and that’s what I’m looking for; chasing the spectacular in daily things.
— Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze, 2018

Concrete stories is a collection of genuine instants from the daily life of Hong Kong's inhabitants, more particularly of people from the older districts of Kowloon. This peninsula has a population of over 2 millions people and a density of 43,000/km2, which might make it the densest urban area in the world. The vernacular culture of people living in such an extremely urbanised environment can be discovered through all these small stories that are forming a bigger one, a record of  how people make use of available rooftops in a cramped city where each square feet can be sold at stratospheric prices. It is a testimony of the lifestyle of people living inside the oldest buildings of the city featuring an easy access to the rooftop that is often used by inhabitants from the whole buildings, like a courtyard in the air. Nowadays, these buildings are disappearing at a fast pace given the scarcity of lands which forces the authority to pull down all the low-rise buildings in order to leave space to taller and more modern residential ones. Most of these new buildings are made with luxury finishing making it totally unaffordable for humble people to live inside. This way, the once popular districts of the city are being emptied of its grass roots forced to go live in the outskirt of the city. All photographs are using an extreme vertical format in order to strengthen the feeling of cramped-ness that is felt in these places.

Every photo has its own story, its own character. It can be simple actions, touching moments, one of the photos is a grandma and two little girls practicing badminton on a rooftop. Another one would be someone doing Tai Chi on his rooftop.
— Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze, 2018

Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze "Morning Fix" [Hong Kong, 2014]

The vernacular culture of people living in such an extremely urbanised environment can be discovered through all these small stories that are forming a bigger one, a record of how people make use of available space in a cramped city. This series is a testimony of the lifestyle in these old buildings where the rooftop is usually not locked and accessible by all inhabitants. Such rooftops are a little bit like courtyards but in the air.
— Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze, 2018

PRESS COVERAGE:

2018-04 | Design Boom: 'romain jacquet-lagrèze captures hong kong’s rooftops in new photo series'

2018-04 | PHOTOBLOG HK: '法國攝影師 Romain JL 鏡頭下的香港天台光與影'

2018-04 | Fast Co Design: 'The Secret Life Of Hong Kong’s Communal Rooftops'

2018-04 | Format Magazine: 'The Hidden World of Hong Kong’s Rooftops'

2018-04 | SCMP: "Small Stories, Big Picture"

2018-01 | Photography is Art: 'The Concrete Stories'


The Blue Moment

© Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze, ‘The Blue Moment’ #6, Hong Kong 2015 

 

"The sun was shining on the sea,

      Shining with all his might:

He did his very best to make

      The billows smooth and bright —

And this was odd, because it was

      The middle of the night.

Excerpt from “The Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Caroll (author of ‘Alice in Wonderland’)

 

 

According to art world legends this poem inspired surrealist Rene Magritte for the making of one of his most famous paintings: ‘Empire of the light’. This masterpiece depicts the paradoxical image of a nighttime street, lit only by a single street light, beneath a daytime sky. As per Magritte: “This evocation of night and day seems to me to have the power to surprise and delight us. I call this power: poetry". The painting is almost monochromatic, showing only blue, white, black, and yellow/gold. In theme and color scheme it’s not unlike Romain’s latest series: ‘The Blue Moment’.

Yet Romain’s work is real; documenting that split moment at summer’s dusk when the city turns blue. Over two summers the artist scouted elevated vantage points with a large format camera. No filter or heavy photo shopping has been applied.

As per the artist: 'For me, photography is a way to cast fleeting moments in still images. Moments and places don’t last, they disappear in time. One particular day I was shooting the city at sunset, bright light washed out most of the colours, you could feel the heat through the images. I decided to stay a little longer to watch the sun going down and the city lighting up. I witnessed how just for few minutes the city was enveloped in a deep blue haze. The blueness projected itself ferociously onto the buildings that looked colourless just a little while before. I was deeply impressed. The only way to eternalise this ephemeral moment was with my camera.’

The surreal character of his blue-laced imagery is enhanced by the composition: structures and nature are framed as they were cut up and put together. The density of the city is mirrored by nature that’s as intense.

Hong Kong’s photogenic character attracts many photographers. Capturing it in a new original way is becoming increasingly challenging. With his latest oeuvre ‘the Blue Moment’ he again documented this city in an unprecedented and unexpected way. Romain JL indeed has secured his position as one of Hong Kong’s most exciting young photographers, one that’s here to stay.

All prints listed above are for sale as limited editions. Please contact Sarah Greene on sarah@bluelotus-gallery.com if you wish to receive more information.

 

© Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze, ‘The Blue Moment’ #8, Hong Kong 2015

© Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze, ‘The Blue Moment’ #2, Hong Kong 2015


PRINTS ARE AVAILABLE  as archival pigment prints on metallic pearl paper,  mounted on di-bond, 
with UV protective acrylic face-mount in an edition of 9 in each size, signed and dated by artist in back. 

For further inquiries, please contact us.


Vertical Horizons

 

Vertical Horizons

Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze is a French graphic artist with a Masters in multimedia and art from East Paris University. His interest in photography began during his period of working in Los Angeles and Tokyo, and subsequently blossomed into a passion after his arrival in Hong Kong.

Stunned by its architectural "race to the sky" he felt the need to use his camera to share his feelings about the city. The geometry of the urban environment and the vivid lives it shelters are the aspects of Hong Kong that inspire him most.

The name Vertical Horizon is an obvious reminder of our competitive Hong Kong skyline where each building is trying to be the tallest, the boldest, the most beautiful, the youngest, the oldest or the most famous. The city is a metaphor of how we grow as a person. We are ambitious and reach for the sky but our lives are like buildings; we start at ground level and need a strong foundation in order to succeed.

Romains work has received attention from both local and international press such as SCMP (HK), Herald Tribune (US), National Geographic, Lonely Planet (HK), El Pais (Spain), Figaro (France), Huffinton Post (US), The Guardian (UK), Stern (Germany) and many more…. 

All prints listed above are for sale as limited editions. Please contact us on sarah@bluelotus-gallery.com if you wish to receive more information regards prices, sizes etc. 

 

© Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze, ‘Vertical Horizon’ #86, Hong Kong 2014

© Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze, ‘Vertical Horizon’ #97, Hong Kong 2014

© Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze, ‘Vertical Horizon’ #95, Hong Kong 2014


PRINTS ARE AVAILABLE as beautiful archival pigment prints on metallic pearl paper,  mounted on di-bond, with acrylic face-mount, signed and dated by artist in back.  

For further inquiries, please contact us.


Wild Concrete

Wild Concrete

Wild Concrete is a series about resilience of nature in an urban environment. No matter how clever we are at dominating our environment with concrete structures, nature somehow finds its way to fight back. Romain’s images of sprouting flowers and maturing trees on unlikely places demonstrates how our concrete jungle eventually would have to give in to the force of nature, the day we let go. 

 

PRINTS ARE AVAILABLE  as archival pigment prints.

For further inquiries, please contact us.


BOOKS:

 

 

Book: Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze | Vertical Horizon
320.00

VERTICAL HORIZON
 by Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze,

Published by Asia One Books, May 2014
29 x 22 cm
1.40 kg, 160 pages, Hardcover
English and Chinese
ISBN 9789881317902

Quantity:
Add To Cart
Book: Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze | The Blue Moment
320.00

THE BLUE MOMENT
 by Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze,

Published by Asia One Books, May 2016
370 x 250mm,  64 pages
Hardcover
English and Chinese
ISBN: 978-988-13922-6-8

Quantity:
Add To Cart
Book: Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze | Wild Concrete
320.00

by Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze,
Published by Asia One Books, May 2014


185 x 270mm, 2.00 kg, 160 pages
Hardcover
English and Chinese
ISBN: 9789881317926

Quantity:
Add To Cart

AWARDS:

2017-2 | LIFEFRAMER - 'Urban Life'


PRESS COVERAGE:

2016-9 National Geographic 

2013-5 Guardian 

2014-9 BBC

Live interview of Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze on BBC about his photographic project Vertical Horizon.

2016-5 | HYBEBEAST

'Romain Jacquet Lagrèze Talks Cityscapes and Fine Art Photography.' A true master of his craft.
Despite hailing from France, Romain Jacquet Lagrèze has found a new home, at least photographically speaking, in the concrete jungle that is Hong Kong.

2016-12 | GIZMODO: 'My Favorite Time of the Day Is When the Entire City Turns Blue'

2016-12 | PHOTOBLOG HK: '攝影師 Romain Jacquet Lagreze 鏡頭下的藍調香港「The Blue Moment」'

2016-12 | Daily News Agency (Japan): '夕暮れ時の一瞬に青く染まった香港の神秘的な街並みを撮影した写真集「The Blue Moment」

2016-9 | THE CULTURE TRIP: 'Hong Kong’s ‘Blue Moment’: An Interview With Photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze'

2016-9 | NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

2016-9 | IT POST ITALY

2016-8 | ZOOM - Artist Review

2016-5 | KNACK: 'Beeld van de week'

2016-5 | FREE PRESS: 'Hong Kong’s ‘Blue Moment’ by photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze'

2016-5 | WIRED: 'Forget Golden Hour. Hong Kong’s Blue Hour Is Where the Magic’s At'

2016-5 | BORED PANDA: 'The Blue Moment: I Photograph The Atmosphere Of Hong Kong During Last Minutes Of Dusk'

2016-5 | CITYLAB: 'Capturing Hong Kong in the 'Blue Moment'

2016-5 | ZOLIMA CITY: 'THE BLUE MOMENT: ROMAIN JACQUET-LAGRÈZE’S ETHEREAL HONG KONG'

2016-5 | APPLE DAILY

2016-3 | COCONUTS HONG KONG: 'French photographer catches Hong Kong at summer's dusk in 'The Blue Moment' solo exhibition'

2016-3 | CREATIVE BOOM: 'The Blue Moment: Capturing the transition from day to night in Hong Kong's industrial heart'

2015-12 | TRAVELBOOK (GERMANY): 'SO HABEN SIE HOCHHÄUSER NOCH NIE GESEHEN!'

2015-11 | LUXOS MAGAZINE, (COVER)

2015-8 | Digital Photo, Denmark: 'Nyt Perspektive'

2015-7 | Sing Tao Newspaper

2015-6 | CNN | 'Eye-popping vertical: Photos give Hong Kong skyscrapers a radical new lookEye-popping vertical'

2015-4 | Reader's Digest: 'Look Twice'

2015-3 | Silver Kris Magazine, Hong Kong

2015-1 | The Optimist - Wild Concrete on The Optimist, Winter 2015 (Netherlands)

2014-11 | DIVO Magazine (Italy) | Ponto De Fuga

2014-11 World Photography Organization, 'Hong Kong in Focus' 

2014-8 | DIE WELT (GERMANY) |

2014-8 U Magazine, 'Wild Concrete'

2014-7 | CO.DESIGN | 'These photos of Hong Kong Skyscrapers will make you very dizzy'

2014-6 | PARIS MATCH (FRANCE) | 'En Image: Le Hong Kong Vertical de Romain Jacquet-Lagreze'

2014-3 | SCMP | 'Life in a concrete jungle'

2013-11 | Lonely Planet 'High Kong'