Laure Limongi // Murmuration // texte de création for Raise magazine // May 2014
There a re pictures that immediately remind you of something. A winter’s day with a white light. From the heights of the Castel Sant’Angelo (Castle of the Holy Angel) in Rome, after tirelessly climbing the steps, finding the grotesque ones, losing your way to dicover shy sculptures, you can, after crossing the seemingly ready to use canons and their cannonballs, sit on a stone bench to observe the flocks of birds that strangely move in the sky.
It is a ballet made of subtle meetings, of risky gentle touches where routines follow one another according to a very precise score. Clear edges are drawn, sometimes reminding of recognizable patterns or of vague dreams, just like clouds can do, but with more frenzy, a thrilled virtuosity. We start to shiver, not only because the bench is cold and because of springtime fabric, but because of the precision of the groups. They look for one another without touching each other, they seem to move magically, defying gravity. It’s fascinating and nerve-racking at the same time for it is inexplicable. We keep celebrating the genius of the 1300g of the human brain, but the fighters are only broken down machines compared to birds.
The common starling itself only weights 60 grams, but can realize some clever routines that can transform the passage of time, seeming to suspend it gracefully. A crescent moon appears, the day eventually fades but you don’t want to stop observing it, eager for any new routine.
Looking more attentively to Alain Delorme’s pictures, you can glimpse high tension relay masts, a factory chimney. The air is no longer Baudelaire’s “tainted of blue and pink” but is rather tainted of yellow and orange like a sky set on fire by carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide. Something about these flocks, also known as murmurations, is different. You must listen carefully. These flocks don’t chirp. They do however make a strange rustle. You don’t recognize the sweetness of the feathers. It’s a familiar sound, but out of place. An annoying scratching.
I heard planet Earth has no longer six but seven continents. A huge plastic layer has formed in the Pacific Ocean and it grows every day. Soon garbage will be new citizens of this world which is now blinded by consumption. “Yes! Time will prevail, it has started ruling the world hard again”.
Natacha Wolinski // Excess in total equilibrium // Air France magazine // August 2011
"It takes three wheels and the full power of one man to get the consumer dream rolling. This man comes from a place where bikes glide Iightly between rice fields. He is one of those migrants who discover, fu|| force, the gray strips of asphalt, the Shanghai skyscrapers and the capitalist totems made of bottles, boxes, tires and crates. The man sags under his pile, but continues pedaling along, maintaining atenuous equilibrium. With each turn oft he wheel, he rattles the ”great factory of the world," and can aspire to his share of this unbelievable « piece montée ». The man is at the bottom of the image, on the lowest rung of the social ladder, but he just may one day reach the top. For Alain Delorme, this series is about finding our way between the absurdity of the materialist world and mankind's age-old dream of reaching for something higher. While keeping the Wheel turning"
Adam Jacques // Shanghai's totems of consumerism // // The Independent // April 2011
young man drags a ramshackle stack of furniture across a city on a makeshift cart; another pedals a colossal tower of cardboard boxes along the road, the load perched precariously above his tricycle. "The dizzying heights of these piles echo the incessant expansion of the buildings in the background," explains the French photographer Alain Delorme, who spent several weeks last year documenting the frenetic activity of China's most populous city, Shanghai.
These towering loads – or "totems", as Delorme calls them – are symbols of both a bustling boomtown and a reminder that the country's economic leaps forward have depended on the hard graft of an army of workers. At first glance, these workers are the Herculean heroes of this brave new world, able to balance and heave huge loads. But linger longer and Delorme's images take on a different dimension. "After a while I had the feeling that the objects they carried swallowed them," he reveals. These pictures aren't an ode to consumerism, then, but a reflection of our slavish clamouring for endless piles of goods.
Look closer still, and the loads seem to teeter at crazy angles, defying gravity. The piles have, in fact, been digitally exaggerated to question their role in the world's fastest-growing economy. "I wanted to show how small, traditional jobs in Shanghai life may soon disappear," explains Delorme – replaced, that is, by gleaming transport trucks bought by a city in hot pursuit of modernity.
Mito Habe-Evans // Impossibly Tall Towers Of Stuff // NPR // March 2011
Take a look at one of Alain Delorme's pictures of migrant workers toting massive piles of things around Shanghai, and I guarantee you'll do a double-take, or at least stare dumbly for a minute trying to figure out what the heck is going on. What in the what? Is that even possible?
Turns out, Paris-based Delorme creates these spectacular towers of boxes, tires and blankets using Photoshop. As he exaggerates reality by meticulously stitching together the image, he tries to confuse the line between what is fake and what is real, asend raise questions around the limits and rules of documentary photography.
"Even pictures covering a story are retouched to look cleaner, more beautiful," he writes in an e-mail. "What are the limits when the search for perfect aesthetics hides a part of reality?"
Delorme uses only candid photos of people and buildings around Shanghai to construct his images, but exaggerates the loads to draw attention to them. By juxtaposing the towering piles of stuff with the towering buildings in the distance, Delorme writes, "I wanted both to restitute the feeling of accumulation and the vertigo I felt when I first arrived in Shanghai — as well as the strong contrast between modern and traditional China."
He calls this series Totems
Malcolm Jones // Alain Delorme Photographs of Bike Deliverymen Captures the Old-New of Shanghai // Newsweek // December 2011
Photographer Alain Delorme documents the Shanghai deliverymen who marry the ancient cart and the demands of modern commerce in a balancing act that has to be seen to be believed.
The mind wants to make metaphor out of photographer Alain Delorme’s images of modern Shanghai. It’s Sisyphus on a bike. It’s the weight of capitalist struggle on the back of the worker. It’s a rolling example of human ingenuity. Oh, wait. It really is that last thing. Why get fanciful or poetic when you can simply look at these photographs and tip your hat to the sheer pluck, ingenuity, and determination that it took the people in these pictures to transport goods from point A to point B? Carts, trikes, bikes—the most humble forms of transportation this side of a mule, set against the high-rise wonder of the modern metropolis: yes, the disparity practically screams off the page. But what sticks with you is the clowns-in-a-Volkswagen lunacy of the wide loads in a tiny space—it’s comical, it’s heartbreaking, it’s impressive, all at once. It makes you think of William Faulkner’s argument that man will not merely endure, he will prevail. Looking at these images, who could doubt that?