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This Foggy Photo Series is Ruin Porn at its Most Ruinous

Blighted urban fabric got you down? Then keep away from Paris-based photographer Julien Mauve's latest photo series at all costs. What's Left of Utopia finds him documenting somber urban landscapes in gray, gloomy weather, often with one or two lost-looking figures in the foreground. On his website, Mauve describes the project as aiming to acknowledge "an impoverished landscape and loss of space due to the inhumanity of the structures we choose to build." Fun, right?

At least when a photographer takes on the imperial pomp of post-Soviet construction, there's a bit of hubristic architectural absurdity to lighten the mood. Not so with Mauve, who stages his human subjects as "disembodied witnesses... actors in a play of which the ending is uncertain." He leaves the locales unidentified, presumably to give them a kind of post-apocalyptic, this-could-be-anywhere vibe, but makes one obvious allusion to a work of art, arranging one photograph to look like Andrew Wyeth's Christina's World. Naturally, the woman in Mauve's photograph is turned toward an anonymous skyscraper instead of a pastoral farmhouse, adding a dash of dystopia to an already desperate-looking image. Get ready for bleak, people:

· Julien Mauve Visualizes What's Left of Utopia [Design Boom]
· All Artistry posts [Curbed National]