The city appears to have been abandoned, its façades sapped by pervading darkness, where only drifters haunt the streets, not knowing why they’re there or where they’re going. This is the image of Las Vegas captured by the black and white photographs Frédéric Stucin made between 2011 and 2017 in the city world-famous for its outsized hotels and glitzy casinos. The photographer isn’t interested in what we already know about Las Vegas, namely the throngs of slot-machine players or the sprawling business network that covers casinos, gambling, and hotels. Instead, he takes interest in the inhabitants of the city, capturing the faces of ordinary people, deserted corners, and empty parking lots. Frédéric Stucin has a real talent for depicting solitude: he captures both the loneliness in people’s faces and the emptiness of spaces and passageways.
The dark side
François Cheval, a specialist in photography, describes Frédéric Stucin’s series Only Bleeding in this way: “Solitary walkers, caring little to rise to the status of models, slog through the city’s lights or shadows. They drag their feet, their eyes are hollow, urban neurotics, everyone trying to avoid the others.” Indeed, people represented in Stucin’s photographs manifest just such an attitude, as attested by a photograph of a couple sitting across from each other in a fast food joint. They are facing each other, but each seems wrapped in profound solitude. Similarly, the nouveau riche couple walking in the street, or the young woman who seems lost in elusive thought, are alone, even when together. Frédéric Stucin manages to show us another aspect of the city, its dark side, where people pass by without coming into contact with each other, and they exchange no more than an absent glace that lasts a fraction of a second. The photographer documents the footsteps of these wandering, suffering souls in elegant tableaus which envelop the city in a cloud both opaque and mysterious.
By Jean-Baptiste Gauvin
Frédéric Stucin, Only Bleeding
January 10 to March 09, 2019
Galerie Vu’ , 58 Rue Saint-Lazare, 75009 Paris