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#Play With Light

Brice Compagnon

How do you define “photogenic?”


I often think about what Odile Sarron said (she was Elle’s greatest casting director and she taught me everything), “My job is like attraction, it can’t be explained, it has to be felt.”  That’s so true.  There are women who shimmer and glimmer, that’s the way it is.  They have an aura.  It in their complexions, skin textures, a magical je ne sais quoi. One can be endowed with this light without necessarily being aesthetically beautiful.  Look at Simone Signoret in the film Madame Rosa:  she played an old prostitute, ravaged by alcohol, yet she radiates and is magnificent.


How do you realize a casting call?


It’s like divine intervention, I instinctually find those few people haloed with a special light.  I remember when I first saw Anna Mouglalis, she wasn’t very tall yet she was visible in the midst of more than 100 people.

What if you don’t have that light?


There are very beautiful and attractive people who aren’t photogenic.  You can create your own light, there are many techniques.  Icons like Marlene Dietrich and Ava Gardner would only work with specific photo directors who had very rigorous standards.  Poise and position, faces sculpted with light, they were sublime.


What’s your favorite light?


There are so many different kinds!  What immediately comes to mind is the very soft light of dawn and dusk of which Hans Feurer was so fond.  Or Steve Hiett, who plays with flash and overexposure, somewhat violent light, creating contrasts, resulting in crisp clean images.  In sum, an interior light can’t be explained yet it can be simulated with many techniques.  Everyone can access a beautiful image.

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