Grey Area

For the last 10 years, as I moved between cities, I noticed large populations living in spaces mostly built of concrete. This insidious substance has shaped the contours of cities as diverse as Mumbai, Paris, Rome, New York, Tokyo, and Moscow. But for the inhabitants of these dense urban places, for whom daily life revolves around the same familiar streets and structures, the vegetation that crops up in and around the margins of buildings and sidewalks offers visual relief and mental respite from the great grey mazes we occupy.

Locked down, sheltering in a place like so many in the time of a worldwide pandemic, the restrictions of my own movement—day after day—inspired a series of observations: an intensification of the contrast between the built environment and nature (if it can still be called that), and where people fit.

My process began by collecting indigenous plant materials that are now deemed as weeds, from the fringes of the concrete neighborhoods. I then went on to create cameraless images (photograms) by placing these plants on chemistry-coated photo paper in the darkroom. The objective was to create specimen-like images as a stark reminder of the extinction and the loss of green spaces that most cities in the world are facing today.