LEE JEFFRIES

SMOKE MIAMI

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About the artwork

The monochrome portraits made by British photographer Lee Jeffries represent homeless people who he captures as he roams the streets of Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York, London, Paris, and Rome. The black-and-white treatment reinforces the contrasts of his portraits that are characterised by a sense of violence. Lee Jeffries captures the lines of faces damaged by life‚ wrinkled, blackened, and worn out. The masks fall, allowing the slow erosion, suffering, and devastation provoked by alcohol and drugs to emerge. " Irrespective of their age, homeless people have their past tattooed on their skin ," he says. Without make-up or staging, with the exception of a basic reflector that can sometimes be glimpsed in the pupils of his models, he manages to magnify these streetwalkers, restoring their humanity through the prism of his lens. What remains of such a person? Yet in their eyes, rejected by the world, there seems to be a glint of light, which, besides the pain, expresses joy, freedom, and wisdom. Just like those taken before him by Dorothea Lange on the poverty in the United States during the Great Depression, his subjects are at once outside of time and outside of the world.

Interview

How was your passion for photography born?
I'm a romantic. I’ve spent the entirety of my adult life searching for something. In my 20’s and 30’s I hadn’t a clue what that was. It was only in my 40’s, when I first picked up a camera, that I ...

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“The photographs are the final piece of the emotional journey. They represent a personal, artistic, goodbye if you like, to the people I have met and the relationships I have developed.”

LEE JEFFRIES

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Our key artists

MINA MIMBU

Born in Japan, Mina Mimbu moved to New Zealand at the age of 14 to continue her studies. Since she did not have a full grasp of English upon her arrival in Auckland, she turned to other means of expression to counteract the language barrier. A self-taught artist, she tried her ha...

RUSLAN BOLGOV

Ruslan Bolgov was born in 1974 in Klaipeda, Lithuania, on the shores of the Baltic Sea. His earliest photographs were taken as a teenager, but he didn’t take the experience very far at the time. It wasn’t until the end of his studies in economics and finance that he seriously app...

LUDWIG FAVRE

Born in Senlis in 1976, Ludwig Favre now lives and works in Paris. Art history, multimedia and audiovisual studies, but also the transmission of a passion between a father and his son were the means that trained the photographer’s eye, sensitive to the reproduction of picturesque...