The New Citizen

The south of France is one of the world’s regions where migratory processes have occurred with greater intensity. Millions of people from Arab countries and from the East have drastically reconfigured the demographic profile of many of France’s cities, and consequently established a new scene in the urban landscape. This new scenario has become a rich source of visual material that supplies photographic production from its diversity of genres. Street photography is the format that has benefited most from the phenomenon. Cesar Fajardo works within this photographic category and in this thematic axis in order to undertake a ‘Un nuevo ciudadano europeo’ (A New European Citizen), which is a project he carried out in 2011 during his residence in L'Ecole Nationale Supérieure at the Photographie d'Arles, France.

With an extensive visual language, Fajardo takes full advantage of his photojournalist capabilities to meticulously explore the streets of Marseilles and capture the scene without the photographed subject aware of the situation. The invisibility of his camera seems to emerge from a narrative fiction film, but with the constant and careful verification of a clear documentary intention. The life of each migrant is finally a personal story that takes place in the real world.

Fajardo benefits generously of his status as a Peruvian. The circumstances of his stay are curious: he is not an incidental tourist and neither is he the immigrant who looks to stay indefinitely. This affords him an advantageous position, where that perspective that opportunely distances itself can reveal apparent information. Likewise, his visual experience is not unrelated to the context as it has similarities to the urban environment of Lima; a city that has also been transformed by a powerful migration process.

Street photography is ultimately one of the photographic genres where the unconscious is revealed with greater force, a quality that is evident in Un nuevo ciudadano europeo where the migration’s racial pressure manifests a tension that is revealed in the photos that Fajardo exhibits. Whether it is Marseille or any other city in the powerful geopolitical environment of the West, or whether it is Lima or any other of the major developing cities, migration is complex and can surprise us with its countless nuances.

Exhibition held at Centro de la Imagen (Lima) and L'Ecole Nationale Supérieure at the Photographie d'Arles (Arles).

Text published in catalogue.