"With most of the world’s population living in cities, the city is a living space structured by an architecture that has become the set for a stage play. The flows and rhythms and the frenzy that drive it can only fascinate photographers and Robert Loï is no stranger to this fascination, or to the fascination with framing, a creative process that abstracts instants lived in life. Framing is that moment in the composition when the photographer’s eye calculates the material borders of the image and uses these as a structural concept to construct the image to be. Framing takes on many forms and raises the question of the photographer’s viewpoint. What position is he adopting? That of the observer detached from the flow or inside it? An actor contributing to the flow or going against it? How does he master the space, the time, the signs, the bodies?
Robert Loï has chosen to question the individuals in today’s city, in the way they participate in the daily flows, experience encounters, signs, the vagaries of life and public spaces, while suggesting a different way of functioning. He has chosen to lose himself in the city, to wander, to seek out disorientation in the orientation of the signs. Thus, equipped with a lightweight camera, an extension of his own eye, he goes about depicting the movement of the city, of the crowds, the flows, the loneliness. He also shows the rationality of movement and the standardisation of spaces. Indeed, the city may be a place of movements and of transits but these are not carried out randomly. The city dweller does not travel anywhere by whatever means. Red lights, signposts and other signs are all there to make sure the traveller does not lose his/her way. The journeys are channelled, “ordered”; the signposts are injunctions suggesting and imposing a common vocabulary for movement, whatever the location."
Patricia Signorile On the Photographs of Robert Loï
Patricia Signorile, associate professor, researcher in the interdisciplinary Laboratory of law of the media and the transformation social ( LID2MS), University of Aix-Marseille (AMU, France).
Its researches concern the processes of artistic creation in interaction with the frame of the society, the values. Philosophy, "juristique", literature, painting, drawing, architecture, photography are its objects of study.
She is the author of numerous multidisciplinary essays. At present, she prepares a work in association with Robert Loï on the theme of the transformations of the contemporary city
Robert Loi writes the way he takes photographs and takes photographs the way he writes: always attentive and ready to listen. He captures and tracks down the moments to preserve them for eternity with compassion, melancholy, humour and humanity. And insight. These two art forms, mastered with passion and sensitivity, complement and nurture each other for the pleasure of both the eye and the imagination.
In his prose and through his photographs, Robert Loï shows us a view of the world. Unlike the great majority however, he doesn’t merely show it; he perceives it, distinguishes it, discerns it, notices it, admires it, contemplates it, dissects it. With modesty and reserve. For he knows the inestimable value of the memories that forge our being. Immersing oneself in his prose, his poetry, his photographs, is an unforgettable journey filled with a thousand new discoveries. A breath of fresh air and a good measure of self-knowledge.
The writer Patrick Fort about to Robert Loï - Translated by Martin Pachy
Né en 1970 dans les Hautes-Pyrénées, Patrick FORT vit depuis une quinzaine d'années à Mont de Marsan. Il dévore un nombre vertigineux de livres, est curieux de tout et ne conçoit pas sa vie sans lire. Et sans écrire. Car ces deux passions sont indissociables. Sa démarche est guidée par le plaisir de raconter des histoires. Aux autres certes, mais finalement aussi à lui-même. Autre passion : l’Histoire. Pas l’officielle, la « politiquement correcte», mais plutôt celle que l’on tait et dissimule. Celle qui sort des sentiers battus et qui dérange.
Après avoir remporté plusieurs prix dans différents concours de nouvelles, Patrick FORT a publié en 2009, aux Éditions Le Solitaire, son premier recueil de nouvelles « Le sang des chaînes » où les parcours intérieurs y croisent l’Histoire…En 2011, sont édités son deuxième recueil de nouvelles, plus intimiste, toujours aux Éditions Le Solitaire : « La Lettre et autres nouvelles » et une longue nouvelle consacrée à la Retirada, « Tierra de Dolor ». En 2012, après deux ans de recherche et d’écriture, il sort son premier roman « Après Nous – Celestino Alfonso, guérillero dans la Résistance française ».
Patrick FORT anime également un site internet « Lire, Ecrire, En Parler ». Espace dédié à la lecture et à l’écriture.
Robert Loï presents us with a personal and subjective view of Marseilles, sharing with us a knowing, tender and thoughtful look, his lens picking out the precious instants in the mundaneness of the city and of the urban landscape.
He doesn’t allow himself to be intimidated by the harsh light and metallic blue sky that idealize the city.
Instead, he counters this dazzling illusion with a palette of greys to better reveal the shadows and contrasts that form and shape daily life: perpetual movement, solitude in a crowd, poverty that cloaks itself in quaintness to stay out of sight. But he also pauses to capture moments of magic: timeless lovers, female forms enjoying the fullness of summer dresses, children playing, walks in the lee of the breeze …
And with a touch of colour, he points out the insignificant oddity and makes us notice what we otherwise would have passed over: forbidding, tempting, ordering …
And so it is with these fleeting moments, caught here and there at the whim of the seasons, that he invites us to (re-) discover Marseilles, to take notice of the trivia of life, of the signs, of others… He allows us to glimpse uniqueness within the masses, snapshots of life, the light, the flaws, the detail… It’s by way of the poetry of daily life and a deep insight into ourselves and others, that Robert Loï invites us on a journey.
Véronique Manry - Translated by Martin Pachy