ALPHAVILLE – Night Urban Photography with the ZEISS Batis Lenses
Rémy Soubanère is a french photographer. His current long-term work, named ‘Alphaville’ is shot in Paris suburban spaces at night.
by Rémy Soubanère
It came from a strange undercurrent in the air in Paris these days. The atmosphere of the city is quite heavy and sometimes it feels like reality progressed far beyond the future predicted in old dystopian movies. To pay homage to that, the name “Alphaville” is taken from Jean-Luc Godard’s Noir-film classic Alphaville.
Godard’s movie shows an Orwellian world: it is a dark and brooding film: the city is portrayed as a machine where everything turns and repeats ceaselessly, where everything is computed. The only way the hero found to get away from it, is to go beyond logic and look what makes a human be human, find what cannot be computed: soul, poetry or whatever it can be called. This what this photo series is about: this is not finding beauty in an ugly reality, it’s trying to stay human in this machine.
Nothing is staged in this series, there’s enough fiction in our modern realities. In term of image look, I wanted a dark atmosphere and a touch of cinematic feel in low-key territory, but I wanted also to keep a good amount of detail captured by high megapixels sensors. In short: precision and character. My natural choice was to use ZEISS Batis Lenses. It’s not a secret that a lot of cinema history have been made through ZEISS lenses. I also need very versatile lenses, as good for close subjects as at infinity.
They are very sharp wide open, and thanks to T* coating, have controlled flare and excellent contrasts, so I can keep all my details in shadows and get smooth highlights. Out of focus areas are very smooth and appealing and very consistent from a lens to another, so images always have the same look wich is very important in this work. They are also weather resistant so I don’t have to worry in case of rain anymore. Last but not least, OLED focus scale displays are more useful than I first thought. They are always welcome to ensure focus is exactly where I want to be, even in dark environment.”
Full Series of Alphaville: remysoubanere.com/alphaville
About the Author
Rémy Soubanère is a fine art and documentary photographer based in Paris, France. He’s exploring links between reality and fiction and is interested by social control systems and how they affect urbanism, bodies and lives. He’s member of studio Hans Lucas agency (France) since 2016.