Photographer Marc Vallée’s new book challenges the forces dividing our cities
Art | 11 March 2020
Text Finn Blythe

BERLIN, GERMANY – 28.07.19. Artist BadYear85 posing for a portrait at the ‘Documenting Paris’ group exhibition and multiple publication launch at the Retramp Gallery on Sunday 28 July 2019 in Berlin, Germany. The exhibition showcased Paris based work from photographers Marc Vallée, BadYear85, Thomas Von Wittich and Émilie Désir. (Photo by Marc Vallée/ (c) Marc Vallée, 2019. All rights reserved.

Shooting in the dead of night, British photographer Marc Vallée stalks the streets of London, Paris and Berlin, documenting a nocturnal world of graffiti artists as they stamp their identity across buildings, subways and vans.

For over seven years this has been his raison d’etre, and with the release of his new zine, Number Thirteen, The Photographer’s Gallery are hosting an in-conversation with Vallée and former economics editor of Channel 4 News and BBC Newsnight, Paul Mason, to dissect the acute sense of urban politics in the photographer’s practice.


Writing in the zine’s introduction, researcher Alexander Clay highlights the critical value of Vallee’s work in probing the divisive economic forces that are transforming our cities. “Largely polemic in tone, Marc Vallée’s body of work focuses on the lives of his photographic subjects in their pursuit of desires and passions at odds with cities built for the safe circulation of commodities.”

“Implicated are socially-held views of his subjects as in some way undesirable, as they are pushed away from the eyes of the public. In these works, urban objects become set-pieces in a battle for control over space, with Anti-Skateboarding Devices (2012) and The Graffiti Trucks of Paris (2017) providing the most stark examples of this.”

Marc Vallée: Number Thirteen, book launch and talk will take place on Thursday 19 March from 6-8pm. Find out more here

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