Award-winning French photographer Laurent Chéhère takes his viewers on an amazing journey in every piece he creates. Laurent Chéhère’s inspiration is rich and varied — he loves architecture, cinéma, reportage, conceptual ideas, manipulation, retouching, and photomontage. Admired for his magical realism and influenced by his love of architecture, travel, and fantasy, it is impossible to separate Chéhère from his masterworks, Flying Houses.
Ever since 2012, his tableaus depicting normal Parisian houses in the sky with amusing and colorful accents have wowed audiences at exhibitions all over the world. They are a feast for the eyes and the mind that give you insights into the imagination of a man who connotes the dichotomies of child-like and realist, innocence and guilt, and the rich and the poor. Online images of Laurent Chéhère’s Flying Houses do not do them justice. Seeing them in a gallery in their original large format allows you to truly appreciate the finer details of graffiti, writing, character, and anachronisms in each photo.
Born in Ménilmontant, France in 1972, Chéhère grew up loving film and French photographers. The artist counts dozens of moviemakers and photographers as influences in his early career. Many of his Flying Houses pay homage to them, including his iconic Red Balloon piece.
He started out as a commercial photographer for Audi and Nike before taking travel as his new love. It was during his travels that he decided to become an artist. His first professional photography exhibition didn’t occur until he was 40, in June of 2012. That’s when Chéhère’s photography for Flying Houses won a prestigious award at the Biennale des Créateurs d'images at Docks-en-Seine City of Fashion and Design in France. Laurent Chéhère’s photography has been exhibited in other numerous other places, in particular at Paris Photo2013, AIPAD 2017, The Fence Festival New York 2016, Seoul Lunar Festival 2015, Photo Phnom Penh Festival 2013, Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography in Moscow 2015, Fotográfica Bogotá 2015 in Colombia, Caumont Art Center in Aix-en-Provence 2015, John Michael Kohler Art Center 2017 and the MUCEM (Museum of Civilizations of Europe and Mediterranean) in Marseille.
Since then, Flying Houses have been his staple. Laurent Chéhère creates these designs through photomontages that blend several images into one cohesive masterpiece. What looks like a single flying house may come from an amalgamation of dozens or hundreds of smaller photos seamlessly blended together in a way that only this artist can fathom. Part homage to the past and part an experience of suspending your disbelief, Chéhère’s Flying Houses are truly breathtaking pieces.