Snapshot #1 — 2010

Paul Jules Smith’s process is simple: he fixes a camera on his back which he activates from his pocket via a hidden remote. He walks through transit zones such as the metro or train stations full of people who are not leaving. They wander, waiting around…

Without purpose, Paul spends long hours at these locations and activates his camera thousands of times, with no frame control. When he sees faces on which time has stopped, he turns around and tries to capture their expression, pressing repeatedly, almost obsessionally on the camera’s trigger. From time to time, he stops to check the hundreds of misses, and suddenly in the middle of a series, one of the pictures reveals someone enclosed in a time bubble, stuck between two moments.

At the heart of the picture, these characters seem straight out of a fiction : they travel within a cinematographic imaginary thanks to photography. They are in the moment of the shot, while also being in an other uncertain location. As strange and diverse as they appear to Paul’s eyes, these characters oddly reflect his personality, his questions and doubts. Isolated and alone we are all, even in the biggest cities. We work with our conscience to forget and reassure ourselves.

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