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The Esplanade du Trocadéro offers the best view of the Eiffel Tower. Swarms of visitors are inspired to reach for their cameras. For photographer Laurent Scheinfeld, the Parisian square has become the perfect stage for his long-term project, which revolves around people’s interactions with this iconic building. You will find a comprehensive presentation of his work in LFI 7/2015.

Your long-term project is based on the interaction of hordes of tourists and the Tour Eiffel. How did you get the idea for the project?

It’s the story of typical characters crossing in front of the Tower whether young or elderly, male or female, tourists or workers coming from all over the world. I’ve selected a representative sample of what can be seen at the Trocadero Esplanade, which is one of the most spectacular places from which to admire the Tower. After focusing on the Tower itself in 2013, I came to the Esplanade du Trocadéro 15 months ago with a precise idea: even if a hyperfocal setting is not that easy with a Leica, I tried to shoot at knee-level without looking at the viewfinder. Hopefully, the first results were interesting ... On the one hand, I got a nice perspective, an unusual point of view; on the other, post-processing was mandatory and a lot of clichés had to be deleted. At the end of the day, I decided to go on with it and some of my friends now like to call it “the Scheinfeld method”, which makes me laugh a lot …

How often do you visit the Esplanade du Trocadéro? Approximately how often have you already photographed the Tour Eiffel?

I try to get to the icon once a week. As I take nearly 700 pictures a week, I would say that I’ve pressed the trigger in front of the Eiffel Tower about 30,000 times! Throwing away a lot of pictures, but getting some good images at the end of the day.

When do you find your best subjects?

Trying to bring a fresh look to an over-photographed place is a challenge. I like challenges (laughs)! When you go there, that strange ballet of people taking shots of themselves in front of the Eiffel Tower is impressive. They play with its image, as if getting a picture posed or in a grotesque attitude in front of the Tower is their main goal in life. Through a social and psychological analysis of the viewers, I catch the decisive moment when people and the Tower are harmony. I try to arrive early at 6am when newly-weds go there to create their best souvenir shots. Sometimes I stand there for half a day and nothing interesting occurs, but there are always the pigeons interacting with both people and the Tower, which offers good material for nice images …

At what point do you think you’ll become bored with the Tour Eiffel?

Never. It’s a gorgeous monument that attracts gorgeous people. As long as my creativity drives me, I’m there for a while !

Laurent Scheinfeld

Born 1963, lives and works in Paris. Exhibitions: Tout est possible and Fantastic Tower (Paris 2014), En Noir et Blanc (Paris 2015).


His series at the LFI Gallery caught the attention of the LFI editors. You can find the photographer’s profile here.
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