French photographer Laurent Chéhère’s series of Flying Houses looks like they’ve floated straight out of a Lemony Snicket novel, a surrealist painting by Salvador Dalí or perhaps a scene from Moulin Rouge. He creates little worlds through photomontages of architectural structures that are seemingly detached from gravity — full of color, comedy, drama and darkness.
These levitating homes, apparently tethered to the earth only by thin strands of power lines, were inspired by the poetic versions of old Paris imagined by Jules Vernes, Hayao Miyazaki, Federico Fellini, Marcel Carne and other artists, authors and filmmakers.
Their attention to structural details throughout the city, as well as the way they portrayed the marginalized communities of Paris through their art, provoked him to build upon their visions by capturing the stories told in a series of isolated buildings removed from their urban context. According to his website, Chéhère’s goal was to release the houses from the anonymity of the street.
In order to create these unique scenes, Chéhère started each montage as a sketch. He then photographed hundreds of elements like graffiti, lamps, roofs, antennas, walls and even birds, digitally assembling them into the resulting melancholy images. Some of the structures take on an industrial tone, while others appear more playful and almost carnival-esque.
Chéhère’s artwork is currently on view at the Muriel Guepin Gallery in New York.
Images via Laurent Chéhère