As part of an ongoing photography series Paris Nord, Maciek Pożoga captures his residential setting in the northern suburbs of Paris. He tells It’s Nice That about the ongoing project: “Initially, what drove me to start taking pictures more intensely and on a daily basis, was the will to push a certain type of nervous and confrontational portraiture.”
The photographer, who has garnered several commissions for the likes of i-D, Tiffany & Co, Vogue, NY Times Magazine and Kenzo, recently moved to the area and photographed its native inhabitants as a way to get to the know the ins and outs of the neighbourhood. A historically diverse area, encouraged by the communist municipality built in the late 70s, its multicultural streets feature a mix of Indian delis, Portuguese restaurants, north African wax-print stores, Turkish kebab restaurants along with many others.
In a similar vein, Paris Nord captures local residents from a variety of backgrounds, representing the eclectic spirit of the community that resides in the northern suburbs. “On sunny days, I would spend my afternoons in the streets, hanging out with the contraband cigarette seller and other characters who hold the corner of the street all day long.” Maciek’s sun-streamed photography captures the expressive mannerisms and gesticulating quirks among the suburbs’ inhabitants. He conveys the energy of the streets and the assortment of people, paying particular attention to the subjects’ individual gaits and characterful expressions.
“I’d let myself become absorbed in the scenes unfolding around me,” says the photographer. “Snapping a picture in a mode close to pickpocketing or police work.” In Paris Nord, Maciek chose his subjects according to what was there directly in front of him and what had been “maturing slowly in the back of [his] head for a while, consciously or unconsciously.” While some photographs were taken at the height of tension between Maciek and the subject, post-eye-contact, other images were more collaborative. In some instances, Maciek would strike up a conversation with the photographed subject after the portrait was taken, learning more about their background and sometimes exchanging contact details to send them the pictures once the street photography was developed.
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