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Jonk, 34, Paris

Jonk’s first solo trip changed his life. He was 19 and it was to Barcelona. He caught two viruses in the Catalan capital: traveling, He has since visited more than 70 countries; and urban art, he had already been practicing photography for a few years when the discovery of street art and graffiti gave him a photographic subject that still occupies him.

Living in Paris, he discovered urban exploration at the end of years 2000 through rooftops, subways and the city’s unofficial catacombs. At that time, he found another subject: documenting the unseen side of the city. Climbing roofs to see her from the top, going at night in subway tunnels or spending whole days underground in the catacombs exploring the tens of kilometers of galleries looking for beautiful carved rooms: he found in that activity a thrill, the adrenaline that he has been looking for in his life. These urban explorations, and his search for unseen graffiti, brought him to abandoned places, where graffiti artists often go to paint, to be alone and able to take time to make bigger and better paintings.  After some time frequenting these artists, he started himself to paint there and that’s actually the reason why he adopted the nickname “Jonk”.  At that time, he also stuck his travel pictures on the walls in the streets.

Visiting abandoned places looking for graffiti, he realized the intensity of the atmospheres and the beauty of the spectacle of time passaging: rust, decaying and peeling painted walls, broken windows, Nature taking over create unbelievable, highly photogenic sceneries. For him, such sceneries felt like infinite poetry.

Traveling, painting, sticking, photographing, roaming on roofs, metros and catacombs, a very time-consuming job did not leave him enough time to do everything. At the hour of choices, he dropped the spray, the pot of glue, the height and the undergrounds to stay with the photography of lost places, even if he could not get rid of his nickname, symbol of his graffiti artist times, highly important to him. He then continued to travel, almost exclusively looking for abandoned locations to shoot, with or without graffiti.

Today, he has visited more than one thousands of them in around fifty countries on four continents.

With time, his interest has focused on what appeared to him to be the strongest in this vast subject of abandonment: Nature taking over. It is poetic, even magic, to see this Nature retaking what used to be hers, reintegrating through broken windows, cracks on the walls, spaces built by Man and  then neglected, until sometimes guzzling them up entirely.

This topic naturally imposed itself to him due to the ecologic consciousness that moves him since his youngest age and to the strength of the message it carries: the question of the place of Man on Earth and its relationship with Nature.

In March 2018, he released the book Naturalia on the topic and currently works on volume II.

In June 2018, he quits his job in the finance to fully dedicate himself to this project. With this series, as a photographer Jonk tries to humbly contribute to make people aware of the critical ecological situation we are all in.

Since, two other books have been released and his work has been featured in prestigious paper publications (Der Spiegel, Corriere della Sera, Le Monde, Telerama…) as well as on prestigious web platforms (National Geographic, New York Post, Smithsonian, ArchDaily, AD, BBC, Lonely Planet…). It has been part of many group shows across the world (Paris, Rome, Athens, Budapest, Moscow, Seoul, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, New York…) as well as several solo shows in Paris, the main one being in Paris 20th district City Hall “Salon of Honor”.

Several exhibitions of Naturalia are planned for 2019 and 2020.

 

 

 

« Because the true paradises are the paradises that we have lost» Marcel Proust

 

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