Yves Marchand (b. 1981) and Romain Meffre (b. 1987) are two French photographers who met through a mutual interest in contemporary ruins. They began their collaboration in 2002 by exploring Parisian urban remains before their interest took them to Detroit, where a thorough exploration of the city lasting five years resulted in their seminal work The Ruins of Detroit (Steidl, 2010). They currently live and work in Paris.
Since then, Yves and Romain have completed a number of critically acclaimed series including Theaters (2005 - ongoing), which was born out of the time they spent in Detroit. Noticing the sorry state of many of the movie theatres they came across, Marchand and Meffre discovered and documented abandoned movie theatres across America. Many of the theatres date back from the Golden Age of film and the stories told through these images act as a fascinating documents of American history.
Gunkanjima (Steidl, 2012) is an investigation of Hashima, a small island located off the extreme southwest coast of Japan. The Mitsubishi corporation purchased the island in 1890 and opened a coal mine there, turning Hashima into one of the most densely populated places in the world with over 5,000 inhabitants during the 1950s. After the mine closed in January 1974, the last inhabitants departed from the island, the connection by boat to Nagasaki was suspended and Gunkanjima become a ghost town.
Industry is an ambitious and ongoing project documenting the rise and fall of the industrial landscapes of the West. Yves and Romain’s images capture the relics we leave behind from our endeavours, evidence of our footprint on the earth. They document modernist shapes rising out of the ground that once were beacons of technological achievement, testaments to our advancement. Now these cathedrals of industry lie shattered, broken and forgotten, tombs to man’s hubris, a reminder that nothing lasts forever, a reminder that we all will perish and rot one day. The story of industry is the story of modern history.
Budapest Courtyards (2014-16) records 400 of the more than 4,000 internal courtyards in Budapest, a form of collective housing which reflects the city’s tumultuous history, its changing political regimes and economy.