Joël Odesser

Joël Odesser is a self-taught French photographer. He inherited his interest in photography from his grand-father Henri Odesser who was a professional photographer in the region of Annecy, France, and has taught him the basics of the art from early childhood.

Trained in engineering in France, Joël developed photographic skills and his portfolio since 2003 while travelling across the Americas and Greater Asia. Photography became intimately connected to his passion for travel, as he likes to freeze memory of remote places and contrasting cultures through still images.

Living in France, Canada, New York and now Hong Kong has led him to find a true interest in urban sceneries both as an outsider and insider, providing a medium for him to pursue Photography as an Art and as an experiment.


Cities grow and change. They must.

Joël Odesser uses Photography as a medium to raise pictorial questions exploring the dialogue between urban environments and its inhabitants, aiming as a final objective to reassess the assumption that standard of living and quality of life perfectly overlap.

Whether focusing on individuals routinely wandering through back alleys, or bodies in fast movements, Joël is persistant at highlighting immersed subjects in a surrounding graphical overload. His figures reflect each of us as city dwellers carrying stories beyond what can be plainly seen in the frame itself. They reciprocally exchange pressure with the confined urban environment. Meanwhile, taking over nature, absorbing sunlight, buildings become overwhelming living things; moving vehicles trace colorful trajectories gliding through the roads; pedestrians rush at peak hours evoking speed and force of life in business districts; glowing lights at night craft a vivid mood. Whether streets are crowded or subjects are isolated within the available space, the tension constantly strengthens.

Escape. Should urban renewal isolate, or connect people? Help or hinder, thrill or threaten? Orchestrated thoughtfully, could it provide a feeling of protection, a sense of belonging in our quest for identity? These are topics which Joël elegantly touches through Photography. His final works consistently combine aesthetics with a sweet and sour feeling that, in spite of "déjà vu" uniformity, not only individuals follow necessarily their own path, but also that this irreplaceable soul gives an identity to a city, worth preserving along with its development.

Joël works with digital formats in color, black and white, or both through the use of patchworks.

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