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What's Darth Vader doing in Dubai?

By Barry Neild for CNN
  • French photographer Cedric Delsaux uses Dubai as a backdrop to his latest work
  • Delsaux says the city provides a perfect "fantasized reality"
  • Star Wars creator George Lucas has given his seal of approval for the project

(CNN) -- In a galaxy not so far, far away -- Dubai to be exact -- a French photographer has been feeling the force of the city's futuristic landscape.

Cedric Delsaux, who has already made a name for himself juxtaposing iconic images from the classic Star Wars films into locations on earth, has turned to the Middle Eastern metropolis in a recent project.

"Dark Lens: Dubai Invasion" uses the fast-developing city's vast building sites and urban desert as reimagined backdrop to a playful new chapter in George Lucas' "Star Wars" saga.

In Delsaux's images, the Millennium Falcon can be found parked in a vast construction project in the city's downtown, exhausted droids are seen hanging out around a clapped-out old Buick and terrifying At-At armored transports stride over freeways.

Here Delsaux answers CNN's questions on what inspires his work and why he was drawn to Dubai.

CNN: Why do you use "Star Wars" imagery in your work? Are you a "Star Wars" fan?

Dubai was born out of a dream, a fantasized reality, a city on the verge of reality.
--Cedric Delsaux, photographer
  • Star Wars
  • Dubai
  • Photography

Delsaux: I wouldn't exactly call myself a fan, I haven't seen the films 20,000 times like so many but I totally admire the saga and the impressive amount of work it took to create a whole cosmogony -- the storyline, the sets, the costumes, the characters, the ships -- everything is precise, thought through in minute detail.

CNN: Why have you chosen Dubai as a location?

Delsaux: What in my opinion makes Dubai unique, and the reason I devoted most of my "Dark Lens" series to this city, is its singular status: Dubai was born out of a dream, a fantasized reality, a city on the verge of reality.

CNN: How do you go about creating these images? Is it through CGI or using models?

Delsaux: All the characters in my photographs are figurines or models. The droids are the only CGI integrations. The landscapes come first, I then shoot a chosen character in the same light to integrate it back into the image.

CNN: Do you have a favorite among the images you've created?

Delsaux: It changes all the time! Nowadays, I really like one of my earlier images, C3PO and the white Visa [a compact car manufactured by Citroen] in a run down garage simply because of the memories of that particular shoot, the people I was with and the time spent scouting for the location.

CNN: How has "Star Wars" creator George Lucas reacted to the images?

Delsaux: George Lucas saw a couple of my prints in Orlando during Celebration V [An official "Star Wars" convention] last July and he really liked them. He has written a short introduction for the forthcoming publication of the "Dark Lens," scheduled for March 2011. I am still dazzled by this, his acknowledgment of my work is the best compliment ever.

CNN: Are you going to continue this project in other cities, or are you working on something new?

Delsaux: I am working on a new series, portraits this time. For now the "Dark Lens" is at rest, but you never know ... there is still so much to explore I just might get the urge to do just that one of these days.

"Dark Lens: Dubai Invasion" originally appeared in the Dubai's Empty Quarter art gallery. It is on show from November 18 at the Acte2galerie, 41 Rue d'Artois, Paris.