Batman in Paris

This artist turns pop culture icons into Parisian monuments

Batman, Darth Vader, and other fictional pop culture icons get put on a pedestal. Literally.

Batman statue in Paris
Benoit Lapray

Paris, when not busy hosting Midwesterners named Emily, is known for its deep cultural heritage. In addition to its architecture and museums, the city is littered with historical monuments and ornate sculptures. Creative photographer Benoit Lapray decided to bring modern culture to these classic statues with the help of design studio 95 Magenta and graphic designer Emmanuelle Vonck Lugand. Characters from Shrek to Wonder Woman ascend to new heights around the city in a series of modified photographs called Monuments.

Reimagining Paris — The project, split into two chapters, aims to underscore the significance of these characters in contemporary culture. Gilded stormtroopers guard the Palais de Chaillot while Darth Vadar looms over Les Invalides, probably on his way to visit Napoleon’s tomb.

MONUMENTS #06 / Troops of the Empire 1977Benoit Lapray
MONUMENTS #09 / Lord of the Empire 1977 (Close up)Benoit Lapray

Figurines of the 13 characters were scanned and added using CGI to digitized versions of Lapray’s photographs, which were shot on film. The CGI process was carried out by 95 Magenta for the first chapter and then Lugand for the second. Lapray desire to include more characters was thwarted by technical and aesthetic issues, “but it is a work which is far from being finished.”

MONUMENTS #12 / Grey pilgrim 1937Benoit Lapray
MONUMENTS #05 / Amazon Princess 1941 (Close up)Benoit Lapray
MONUMENTS #07 / Cartoon couple 1988Benoit Lapray

Limited edition prints of the characters in various sizes and framing options can be purchased for €550 to €5,200 (roughly $670 to $6,300) with free worldwide shipping.