These striking photographs are glimpses of Paris framed by quirky portholes in a group of largely unloved tower blocks. They're vistas most visitors to Paris won't see, being reclaimed by the French documentary photographer Laurent Kronental, who specialises in capturing the lives of those who reside on the darker margins of the City of Light.
Laurent Kronental calls the views from the porthole windows a "spaceship gallery". The tower blocks in this metaphor are just coming into land on Planet Earth - and the view beyond is anything but idyllic.
These towers, like so many at the time, were meant to represent the future when they were built in the 1970s. The architect, Émile Aillaud, had a vision of spiralling apartment blocks, decorated in frescoes to represent the sky and punctured by windows of varying shapes that resemble those of some visiting spacecraft.
There are 1,800 apartments in all, in 18 futuristic cylindrical buildings, collectively known as Tours Aillaud. Laurent Kronental’s images suggest that for their residents the future has still to arrive and he deliberately includes reminders of their everyday lives. The portholes that frame the views are themselves framed by floral curtains, wallpaper and mounted plates.
Beyond the arresting beauty of Laurent Kronental’s images there’s a question: how much have these portholes and the wilfully off-beat design of the towers added to the lives of residents? We’re not sure, but we love this very individual photographer’s vision.