Photographers' Blog

Over your shoulder

Cannes, France

By Yves Herman

“Over your shoulder, look at me, straight ahead, dead center, ooh la la, give me eye contact, sir, madam, on your right, big smile, show me your dress, you look gorgeous!” It’s all you can say to catch their attention, you need them to look straight in to the lens of your camera.

Yes, we are talking about the stars, the real ones, the big ones but also those who fill the pages of magazines. They can be actors, models, TV hosts or even socialites. They are popular and bankable for 1,000s of photographers standing on the red carpets in Cannes.

The annual Cannes Film Festival on the French Riviera is the biggest film festival in the world. Running for 12 days, it garners the attention of thousands of reporters and the entire world of cinema fans. Press photographers from everywhere gather in the south of France, equipped with a bunch of cameras and all their lenses and flashes, searching to immortalize celebrities.


At Cannes, a film needs to be advertised and the cast members must be seen. The photocalls are organized especially for photographers, helping to promote the cast and the film. The stars know that it is part of their job to play the game and give us something to photograph. It can be an attitude, a gesture or sometimes even a little show, spontaneous or maybe prepared in advance by the cast.

The photocalls are like a Colosseum, where photographers can be compared to gladiators, adjusting their cameras like sharpening swords, ready to catch the “moment”. The moment of the photocall can offer glamour, touching seconds or sometimes boring minutes, when the stars don’t offer anything. Photographers exchange some words with the stars but the big show is for the red carpet.

The crowd-pleasing MTV awards

By Mario Anzuoni

I was assigned to cover this year’s MTV Movie Awards. These awards are voted by audiences online and besides some of the traditional awards, they also give out unique ones, such as: the “best on-screen dirtbag,” the “best kiss” and “best fight” award.

The challenging part of the assignment was that my position was in a regular audience seat on the main floor, in a show that has much audience participation and standing up. It translated in me free handling the 400mm lens to get a clear shot, past the standing crowd.

Witty, British humor was provided by actor and comedian Russell Brand who hosted the show. Jennifer Aniston was the first to be recognized as the “best on-screen dirtbag.”

The room where no one says cheese

You’ve just won your Oscar, given your acceptance speech to the world and are whisked off stage. The world watching on television goes to a commercial break as you are escorted off to meet the press, first stop “The Photo Room”.

Actress Melissa Leo holds her Oscar for performance by an actress in a supporting role for "The Fighter" backstage at the 83rd Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, February 27, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Blake

You come around a corner and step up onto a 60-foot long low-rise stage. Behind you are three 10-foot golden Oscar statuettes, each surrounded by a bouquet of colorful flowers. In front of you is a grandstand of 60 well-dressed photographers who all want you to hold up your award and look at them, and no one says cheese.

In actuality “The Photo Room” has very little to do with the art of photography on Oscar night. We have all come in days prior and hung strobe lights, tested power packs, synced our data feeds out of our digital cameras, inputed IPTC codes, selected the IP addresses back to our editors and tweaked our lighting from edge to edge. On Oscar night it’s all about the winner looking at you.

The stars of Venice – Audio slideshow


View an audio slideshow from the Venice Film Festival here.

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