Yesterday I went to see work of photographer and filmmaker Vincent Laforet which has impressed me over the last year. His current project LAFORET AIR shows cities from above. Okay, this does not sound exciting since everyone can see such imagery via Google Earth.
But Vincent does a totally different job – he flies very high with a helicopter and shoots these cities at night. All the illumination becomes visible and produces different impressions for almost every city. Some look like electronic circuts, some like the vains of some creature and some like islands in the desert. Somehow every mental association seems to be connected to life.
He started this project as a more or less side effect of an editorial shooting in New York City. Since the results were raising a lot of attention due to their very special perspective and colourization he decided to shoot other cities, too. He moved to Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco. And now he is on a world trip. This month he visits European cities. London and Barcelona he as already checked. Now Vincent and his crew stop over in Berlin. Next locations will be Paris and later this year Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo.
A little bit hidden in an abandoned semi-industrial backyard of Berlins former labour district Wedding Vincent and his band had organzed a very nice welcome for those interested in this project. Vincent gave a short presentation of his previous work and showed some of his shoe commercials and then straightaway moved to his LAFORET AIR project. In most of the audience’s faces one could see jawdropping expressions for every image that appeared on the screen. And we became witnesses of the first time public showing of his Barcelona images. Such strange angles, such great detail, such wonderful and surprising patterns and such color. Wow!
Okay every photographer knows that this color cannot be achieved just by pressing the shutter release. Vincent also talked about this part of his post production workflow: It takes about 30 seconds – just pushing some sliders in his software. Nevertheless: the main part of this workload is sorting the multi-thousand images that he brings from every shoot and to find the final keepers, which easily can take up to 10 hours. And we learned: The other extremely time intensive factors are preparation, negotioation for permits (which was quite easy for Berlin as he admitted – the gouvernmental stamp went quite quickly onto his permit) and a vast marketing campaing. Vincent always needs to raise funds because such a single shoot could easily sum up to a few tens of thousands of Dollars.
And now Berlin. The idea behind his German assignment is to show if – even after a quarter of a century after re-unification – there will be still a difference between East and West in lighting and if the course of the former wall can be determined or not. Vincent hopes for fine weather when he will be flying over Berlin this weekend. We keep our fingers crossed.
P.S.: Unfortunately I was not amongst the winners of the prize draw at the end of this event and did not take home a signed Lithograph of one of Vincent Laforet’s AIR photos. But instead of this I have decided to pre-order the book with these wonderful images to be delivered later this year.