The images that make up the series Façade were shot on various film sets that I have worked on as a stills photographer over the last ten years.
I am fascinated by what I see as the duality of the film making process – the elusive, emotional nature of acting and the subtle nuances of bringing a character to life, amidst the often strenuous technical work with lights, rigging, and cameras. The juxtaposition of these two ‘worlds’ and the hazy border of their meeting point became the basis for the series.
It is the actors in particular who have a foot in each of these worlds. I photograph them when their faces are somehow obscured, when it seemed they were half here and half somewhere else, one foot rooted in the reality of lights, cameras and action, and the other existing in a space of interior exploration and stillness. We see a performer lost in this space with suggestions of film equipment in the same composition to remind us of the duality of inner and outer worlds.
The fact that some of the actors were celebrities with recognisable faces added another dimension, allowing me to explore the question of fame versus privacy. The nature of the job requires many actors to endeavor to become recognisable yet there is often, and perhaps understandably in our celebrity-obsessed culture, an accompanying sense of shielding, of privacy and self-protection.
Additionally, the notion of observation exists on many levels in the world of film. Directors watch actors closely, actors watch themselves from the inside out, and are then in turn watched by many. Camera teams look for the ultimate composition and how the light falls, costume designers observe how a coat drapes, and boom operators watch carefully to avoid the frame. There are many people involved on a film set and each of them must be absorbed in the details of their own observations in order to create an effective working whole.
Perhaps these patterns of stillness, paradoxically caught on the run amidst hectic film sets, which depict the ideas of duality and observation are also relevant to the individual existing within a busy society and a confusing world. How does our inner life co-exist with the outer reality? How do we as individuals fit in to the functioning of our community? How much of ourselves do we actually reveal?