Focusing on people rather than places, Ximena Echague’s photographs present such cruel and contradictory still from life that even the most depressing wreck can leave a smile on the onlooker’s face. Chasing after two different Ostends – one in Belgium, one in Argentina – for the frames you’re about to see, the photographer reveals the striking aesthetic behind crushed dreams and lost ideals. It’s up to you to decide whether Ximena’s world is melancholic or reviving.

“I am interested in the contradictions of life and how people and places go through ups and downs over the years. In this case, I have got fascinated by the superficial similarities of two very distant places that share a feeling of decadence but have a very different story, one of past grandeur now lost, the other of dreams never fulfilled.”

“More generally, I am very interested on migration flows (I come from a country, Argentina, where everyone is a migrant from some other continent) and Ostend Argentina is an example of European migrating very far away with big dreams and, although facing difficulties, finding a land of opportunity much more welcoming that migrants coming to Europe face at nowadays, unfortunately.”

“Life is transient even if we all (empires, cities, and people) behave as if we are eternal.”