Photos of parkour

Fine art and commercial photographers Alex and Cocco created a magnificent series of images documenting Parkour (l'art du déplacement). The photos, "as shot" with no retouching, are collected on their Distil Ennui site which, unfortunately, uses Flash navigation but they kindly updated me with a direct link. "Particle Parkour"


  1. Once again the word Parkour is used for stuff that would be more appropriately titled “Free Running”. As a general rule of thumb, the flips and more showy stuff (while admittedly very cool), is usually free running. Parkour is concerned with using the most efficient means to overcome obstacles. It may seem like splitting hairs, but you wouldn’t confuse Judo and Karate or refer to hacking when you meant phone phreaking would you? Parkour sounds cool, so the media runs with it.

  2. Fair comment, Brett — but there’s also the reality that it is exceedingly difficult to capture much of pure or true Parkour with static images (I’ve shot enough of ’em to know). Conveying fluid movement in one frame can be done, but it isn’t easy. This, and the desire of the shooter for a dramatic shot, can produce limited results in terms of demonstrating what Parkour motion is. Thoughtful comments though.

  3. Not surprised that someone has already commented (again) on the term distinction but somewhat amused that the post includes a link to the wikipedia article that clearly explains the difference between parkour and free running only to then confuse them.

  4. I emphatically challenge your spurious claim that these photographs are “‘as shot’ with no retouching”. In an age where correct use of terminology surrounding digital post-process is being eroded by high-profile journalistic “scandals” like the recent NY Times housing project feature, it would be refreshing for a site and a featured photographer to own up to the skill and work required to produce aesthetically pleasing photographs. These photographs are interesting and moody, and art shouldn’t be eagerly stamped with “unretouched” in a feeble bid at public approval.

    That said, thank you for an interesting link.

  5. Mmmkay – how about no more posting about “Parkour” until you’ve watched Banlieue 13. Once you’ve seen the movie it’s a lot easier to understand the difference between Parkour and, well, not parkour. It’s like mixing up Tai Chi and fighting.

  6. #4: Why do you say that the claim of untouched photographs is false? Granted, I only had a brief amount of time to study the photographs, but I don’t see anything that I couldn’t pull off with an SLR and a few extra takes.

    That said, touching up photos is fine, and can provide a simple means to recover a photograph that is otherwise unusable (say, to bring out the shadows when you forgot a reflector). But it takes skill to get the finished result right from the start.

    I used to be a huge proponent of the “Straight Shot.” Then I discovered greats such as Ansel Adams had been dodging and burning for quite a while. I now try to get the shot right from the begining, but don’t shy away from subtle manipulation to reveal the image I had in mind if the photograph fails to capture my original intent.

  7. Wow, lots to argue about. And to add something else (even more off topic): what’s so bad about flash navigation? Doesn’t show up on iPhone? Please explain why Flash navigation is bad (so I can be cool and know what to criticize, and why).

  8. @misterdna You can’t direct link to a certain page. So instead of saying go here to You have to say “Go to, roll over the context menu in the top left until the cool little animation plays that drops the menu down and select the third one down. ” It just ads more complication than its worth. Plus lots of mobile devices don’t support it, and it makes older machines slow to a crawl.

  9. As a photographer, I would say these are very likely “un-retouched”, but even then if the shooter was using RAW…. :)

    If you want to see a bunch of young Canadians in their own Parkour element, check out my own recent shoot: Park-Core.

    And for the fellow shooters out there, all my stuff was shot on a 5D (mark I) in RAW, colour correction in Aperture.

  10. I’m as much of a parkour/freerunning fanatic as the next man, but DAMN, these photos are beautiful. Unretouched or not, there’s a lot of skill on show from both traceur and photographer. Thanks for the link, David.

  11. I recognise the thrill doing FR / Parcour may have (anyone speak french – Courir). But it’s incredibly dangerous – looks amazing, but c’mon – fad right there with fixed gear bikes.

  12. Hi AJ here the photographer from Distil Ennui. It is a principle of my work practice to only present personal works ‘as-shot’ perhaps if you would look more closely at the website you would see for yourself that I am a leading exponent of this work ethic.

    with background info on the shoot on the BLOG..

    and the entire collection can be found at our stock & canvas print website

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