In his series Back to the Arcade, Franck Bohbot’s mastery of color, and ability to frame a narrative is on full display. Through his lens, arcades open to the viewer like a tightly woven short film, noire-esque even. There is a feeling of criminality within the photos, as if you’ve found your way into a speakeasy, where acts are taking place — hidden, fringe, and celebrated by those lucky few able to produce the password for the doorman. And in the midst of this are the machines themselves: grouped together in collections by those obsessed with them, tantalizing to touch, to play. Bohbot’s eye shows us this side of Los Angeles, where current-day inhabitants have grouped together to experience the arcane, to be solitary yet in groups, to revel in the fantastical pursuit of dreams. All of this is bathed in Bohbot’s unique light, much like the city of Los Angeles itself, a place where joy chases the sun, and when it sets, the occupants of the city find the hidden places.
Back to the Arcade is a masterful series that captures time. The time it takes for Bohbot’s fully opened lens to record the scant light inside each arcade. The time the subjects of the photos spend in front of each machine. And the idea of time itself, seemingly standing still inside these arcades.