Kitchens of Paris

In 2012, I set out to visualise (and visibilise) the social classes of Parisian citizens, by looking at the space of their kitchens.

Paris is one of the most expensive and populated cities in the world. The housing crisis dates back to the golden years of the belle époque in 19th Century, when the city was unable to satisfy the demands of a population that was freed after the revolution. On the one hand, rapid changes and phenomenas of the era—urbanisation, industrialisation, gentrification—increased the standard of living for the average Parisian, but on the other it augmented the gap between the rich and poor enormously.

Prior to the 19th Century, Parisian society established its hierarchies through lifestyle, occupation, living conditions and leisure. Today, there is no one thing that can define the social class of Parisians; it is a mix of facets of authority, wealth, occupations, living and working conditions, lifestyles, among others. My photographic essay seeks to provide a distinct feel of a specific space: the kitchen.

The kitchen is a recurrent space in most households. Not only does it serve the function of a place to cook, but is also a rather compact, multipurpose social space—it is common to be invited into the kitchen when visiting someone, whether it is a friend, a colleague, a lover or family. It can also be a room where people take breaks during the day, or even be part of the bedroom itself. As a private space, the kitchen represents the domestic spirit of the La Ville-Lumière, mirroring its citizens. Through this photographic essay, I aim to hint at several social problems, while also giving a glimpse of how domestic life unfolds in Paris.

The Working Class:

The Middle Class Bourgeoisie:

The Upper Class Aristocracy:

Karolina Sobel is a Polish photographer based in Germany.

All photographs courtesy of Karolina Sobel

To see more of her work, visit her website here.