EK Interview: Laurent Chehere

Laurent Chehere was featured in July of this year for his series The High Life.  His interview follows:

What are your three greatest values?  Why are they so important to you?

Sea, Sex and Sun, it’s a song of Serge Gainsbourg, french dead singer.

Of all the places you have travelled La Paz, Lhasa, Bamako, Bogota, and so on, what were your favorites and why?  Can you talk about your travels in terms of what you have learned both about yourself and about the world?

I have no ranking. Every country was different, people were different, the weather was different, I was different and mosquitoes also. I learnt of every place where I passed.

Why have you chosen photography as your medium of expression?  What about photography do you find entrancing?  How do you think the media is limited?  How do you think it excels?

I did not have to choose because I did not ask the question. I was young when I had my first camera then I used it… It is a limited media but it is not new, a photo of report without text is dumb and interpretable in the good or the bad sense.

How do you approach a new series?  What steps do you take before beginning, how do you prepare yourself?

I like very much the abstract ideas so I am permanently thinking about it and looking around me to find the inspiration.

For your photos with the guns in them, are they real guns?  What is it like for you to handle a gun?  The two photos with the M4 are quite contrasting, one very classy with a leather chair and beautiful wood, the other with cigarettes, sun glasses and take out food, what was your goal portraying the gun in such polar settings?

Weapons are false because, luckily, France is not still the Wild West. For the anecdote, after 5 minutes, the cops arrived in the appartment (it’s rather reassuring). There is something disturbing to see a weapon in an environment so peaceful, so personal as a kitchen, a garden table or a design armchair. A weapon in the middle of a battlefield has something less terrible than the one who looks sleepy, harmless in the middle of innocent candies.

From a graphic point of view I think it’s more violent.

art blog - Laurent Chehere - Empty Kingdom

art blog - Laurent Chehere - Empty Kingdom

Tell us about The Flying Houses.  What was your inspiration going in?  What was your feeling of the series when you had finished?  How has it been received?  Were you surprised?

I live in Ménilmontant and Belleville, districts of Paris, it’s full of foreign communities, African there, of the Maghreb and China mixed with artists and “bobo’s” (Bourgeois Bohemian easy Middle-class person). Of my urban expeditions, I wanted to get out of the anonymity of the street these dirty houses without interest with their story and their craquelure.

I was influenced by 2 movies : ” the Red Balloon” shot in 1956 in Belleville and “The Castle in the sky” of Hayao Miyazaki.

The series is not ended.

Where are your photos for The Fog taken?  How were you personally feeling when you took those photographs?

It was in Pingyao, China. It was -10°c.

art blog - Laurent Chehere - Empty Kingdom

art blog - Laurent Chehere - Empty Kingdom

How do you think the media of photography will change, or will it, with the introduction of greater and greater resolution cameras, and 3D cameras?  Do you think galleries will begin to employ 3D projection?  If they do, how will that change the game?

It’s brilliant the speed with the cameras evolve. It’s a chance.

Who or what are some of your inspirations?  How do you get over ‘writer’s block’, how do you persevere?  Where do you go, what do you eat or listen to to give yourself inspiration?

It is not very complicated in fact, my inspiration I find it just by looking around me.

Who are you following currently, whether blogs, artists, or otherwise, that you think more people should know about?

“Le tampographe Sardon”.

What’s on your plate right now?  What’s next for you?

I “build” 10 new “Flying Houses” and 2 other series.

art blog - Laurent Chehere - Empty Kingdom

art blog - Laurent Chehere - Empty Kingdom

What is your current obsession?

To be ready to my exhibition of october 25th.