It was in 2015, while walking in the streets of Paris, where I live, that the idea came to me to make a photo work around the monuments. The idea was to stage heroes from Pop Culture by integrating them into the scenery in the place of existing Parisian monuments. A way for me to pay tribute to the creators of these characters who inspire us and feed our imagination for decades. But, due to lack of time, I only started working on this project in 2018. After 2 years of work, 13 visuals have been completed (divided into two separate chapters). It has been a long wait for me, but I am delighted to finally be able to present this work that has been in my mind for many years.
This project is the result of a collaboration with 2 fantastic partners : the studio 95 Magenta (who realized all the CGI elements, integrated to the photographs, of this 1st Chapter) and the CGI graphic designer Emmanuelle Vonck Lugand (who, as for her, realized the CGI part of the second chapter). They brought all their know-how in CGI for the realization of this project and have magnificently managed the modeling part and the integration of the different characters. A huge thank you to them for their work and their talent.
So it is in Paris, this "museum city" that radiates throughout the world, that my new series of photographs is set. Here, frozen on huge stone pedestals, cult characters from popular culture are raised to the rank of "Monuments". It is a way for me to underline that these heroes of fiction are today part of the world's cultural heritage. Unfortunately a choice had to be made and for technical or aesthetic reasons, many characters will not be represented here. But it is a work which is far from being finished, and many other characters will come to supplement thereafter this list which, I hope, will be the longest possible !
The pictures of this series were taken "à l'ancienne", in film. The negatives were then digitized, then retouched, to add CGI elements. The figurines, which served as a basis for this work, were "scanned" in studio with the photogrammetry process. I thus considered this series as a real laboratory for image research where old techniques are mixed with the most modern processes. A new way of looking at photography. And a way perhaps to reconcile the purists with the avant-gardists of photography ;)
I now let you discover these images. Good viewing to all.
Fine art prints are available (in limited editions of 15 copies, with worldwide free shipping) on : benoitlapray-shop.com
Monuments © Benoit Lapray (2018-2020)
MONUMENTS #01 / Pizza Eater 1984
MONUMENTS #01 / Pizza Eater 1984 (Close up)
MONUMENTS #02 / Servant of the Princess 1986
MONUMENTS #02 / Servant of the Princess 1986 (Close up)
MONUMENTS #03 / Kind ogre and his companion 1990
MONUMENTS #03 / Kind ogre and his companion 1990 (Close up)
MONUMENTS #04 / Pocket monster and its trainer 1996
MONUMENTS #04 / Pocket monster and its trainer 1996 (Close up)
MONUMENTS #05 / Amazon Princess 1941
MONUMENTS #05 / Amazon Princess 1941 (Close up)
MONUMENTS #06 / Troops of the Empire 1977
MONUMENTS #06 / Troops of the Empire 1977 (Close up)
MONUMENTS #07 / Cartoon couple 1988
MONUMENTS #07 / Cartoon couple 1988 (Close up)
Creative team of the first chapter
Photography & Art Direction : Benoit Lapray
CGI : 95 Magenta
Figurines shots (in studio) for photogrammetry : Benoit Lapray
Photogrammetry modeling : 95 Magenta & Digitage
Photo retouching : 95 Magenta & Benoit Lapray
Production : Benoit Lapray
Films processing and scanning, on an IMACON scanner, has been realised by a photo laboratory in Paris.
FINE ART PRINTS
BEHIND THE SCENES
The photoshoot, in the streets of Paris, has been realised in film photography with a Pentax 67 II camera and a Horseman Folding 6x9 camera. All photos has been taken with Kodak Portra films, and digitalized with an Imacon scanner.
360° photos for photogrammetry (of each figurines) has been realised in my studio (in suburb of Paris).
Photogrammetry shots of Pikachu & Red figurine, for CGI modeling.
CGI modeling result (before sculpt) of Pikachu & Red figurine.
Thanks for watching !