Elsa Bleda : Jo’Burg

Through her dreamlike nocturnal photographs, the young artist Elsa Bleda succeeds in a master trick: to give Johannesburg (South Africa) the air of an Asian metropolis. Inspired by the films of Wong Kar-wai, Dario Argento or David Lynch, his shots take us into a mystical universe that is revealed in the light of neon lights.

Born in France, then wandered from European capitals to European capitals by her mother, Elsa Bleda sets her bags in South Africa at the end of the 2000 years. A country she will never leave, and for which she will develop a particular affection. A fascination that will be exerted in particular in one of the most populated cities of the continent: Johannesburg.


A complex territory marked on the architectural level by Art Deco constructions dating from the 1930 years, then skyscrapers of the 1970 years; a territory mostly damaged by the politics of apartheid. A troubled past that we guess in the photographs of Elsa Bleda. Some areas are overpopulated and continue to live at night while others become completely deserted, as uninhabited. Disparity due to the segregation that has raged in the country and which drove black people out of the city center and, although these practices are now over, the sequels are nonetheless present. This is what interests the photographer who, in his work, transforms these isolated parts of Jo'Burg into whimsical and out of time places, thus pushing the spectator to wonder about the history of each shot and the context that it presents, to forge itself an alternative reality. From the brutalist building to the Art Deco facade, passing through the Chinatown stall, the artist captures a chimerical world of which she alone knows the codes.

"Our perceptions are different worlds. [...] They are surrealistic. Dystopian. Not natural. And elusive. I feel good by being elusive. " Elsa Bleda, photographer

A cinematic aesthetic at the Blade Runner - that the artist often quotes as one of his main sources of inspiration - who uses color as a means of expression and vector of emotions. Between azure lights and glowing streets, this treatment of shades reinforces the dreamlike character of Elsa Bleda's work.

An invitation to travel in a world in his image: elusive.

To learn more, visit the site of Elsa Bleda

Photographs: Elsa Bleda

Post your comment

  • No comment on this article.

ADC Awards

ADC-Awards-logo-2017 250-01
The most outstanding architectural achievements elected by the professional community

>> Learn more


miaw white logo ok

An International Award to the best products for architects and layout professionals

>> Learn more


5, Saulnier Street - 75009 PARIS

T: + (33) 1 42 61 61 81

F: + (33) 1 42 61 61 82

[Email protected]


my account

Mobile version