In the fourth and final part of uncube′s short series on photographers and artists who like to bend the built truth, Jeanette Kunsmann showcases the artistic personal projects of the French commercial photographer Laurent Chéhère.
When Laurent Chéhère puts his abandoned or burning brick buildings up in the clouds the result is a series of fairy tale-like collages. He takes real buildings as his starting point, snapped in popular districts of his hometown of Paris such as Belleville and Ménilmontant. Using a combination of imagination and Photoshop, he frees the buildings from their original contexts and sets them in the sky like balloons. He is inspired, he says, by “poetic visions of old Paris”.
But, as with Chéhère’s work McDo for example – a small McDonald’s branch building with its plain rendered façade, these fairy tale castles-in-the-air are anything but romantic. “I tried to get these sad houses out of the anonymity of the street”, he says, “to help them to tell their story – true or fantasised”.
Chéhère has been working on his sombre Flying Houses series since 2007 and it has brought him many admirers, a considerable amount of press interest, an award (Prix Special at the Dock en Seine City of Fashion and Design, 2012) and a first exhibition in the noted French gallery Paris-Beijing. When he is not busy making his art, Chéhère earns his daily bread shooting portrait photos and advertising for clients such as Nike and Audi – a different kind of fairy tale imagery entirely.
– Jeanette Kunsmann is a freelance journalist and editor at Baunetz