Documenting the Sprawling Public Housing Complexes of Suburban Paris along with Their Residents
Immediately after the Second World War, a series of apartment complexes sprouted across Paris and the surrounding suburbs in response to the housing crisis. Massive and unapologetic in scale, the suburban apartments were a perfect subject for photographer Laurent Kronental. In his series Souvenir d'un Futur, Kronental documented the living quarters, as well as the residents of each complex. As Kronental worked mainly during the early morning and included few people—if any—in each image of these sprawling residential zones, the buildings appear to be abandoned. The people he did photograph, however, are the long-term veterans who have lived and aged alongside the Grands Ensembles. The result is a spellbinding series of large-format film photographs that showcase a now-dated vision of the future, and a lasting testament to those who have stood beside the often-critiqued skyscrapers.