You seem to have been to a lot of fascinating places: from Japan to New York. How do you go about photographing places you are not necessarily familiar with?
I am professional and respectful to the people I meet. I try to show interest in their stories, even if I don’t understand what they’re saying!
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From portraits to landscapes to surreal, doctored images, your work is really multifarious in nature. If you were to describe your work and style in one sentence, what would it be?
I like exploring cities, suburbs, and countries as I like exploring all the fields of the photography, the report in the abstract image.
We really like your Fog series. Where were you when taking them?
Pingyao in China during winter.
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You’ve received a lot of attention recently, thanks to your ‘floating houses’ series. How did you come up with the idea?
I was born and live in Ménilmontant, a district of Paris rich in different cultures - you can cross the world by turning the corner. The flying houses are the result of my "travels" through the popular districts of Paris. I tried to break these sad houses from the anonymity of their streets, in order to help them to tell a story, whether true or fantastic.
I was interested in gypsies waiting for their eviction by the police, the immigrants in these unhealthy buildings ready to ignite, in the circus people living on the edge of the "périph" (it is the freeway which bounds Paris). I looked at everything from a 1970s adult cinema in Pigalle too suburban housing. This series is also a tribute to the movie The Red Balloon (shot in Ménilmontant in 1956 by Albert Lamorisse) and especially to Hayao Miyazaki (The Howl's Moving Castle).
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Technically, how do you go about creating them? Are they a kind of alternative to the bustling metropolises of today?
First, I choose the house and shoot all its little details in a good light I can use. After that, I piece it all together in Photoshop.
How would you describe your Gun series? Why do you think guns are such enduring images in contemporary culture?
This series is a way of showing the terrible ease of killing, something especially resonant with the Sandy Hook School shooting in the US.
The photographs of ‘dead’ people in various locations are really creepy. What was the inspiration behind it?
It is a sort of continuation of the series Gun.
Any exciting projects in the pipeline?
Yes, but it's a secret!
See more of Laurent's work at laurentchehere.com