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How a Photographer Used a Stray Flash to Make Star Greta Gerwig Look Ethereal | national news

CANNES, France (AP) — Daniel Cole, a freelance photographer who works extensively for The Associated Press, mostly in southern France, spends most of his time covering hard news. But he takes great pleasure in spending almost two weeks every May in a tuxedo, glamourously covering the Cannes Film Festival, where he can push the creativity of his photos even further. Here’s what he had to say about making this extraordinary image.

Why this photo

As a news photographer, being dressed up and shooting the biggest stars as they waltz down the red carpet is not my usual routine. However, the Cannes Film Festival has become one of my favorite assignments: two non-stop weeks with no shortage of glamorous looks or Hollywood star power. It is an event that constantly invites you to photograph people, a rare occurrence in the everyday life of a news photographer.

I have come to see Cannes as a privilege to indulge in the aesthetics of my pictures in a world where everyone is constantly inviting you to look at them.

During red carpets, hundreds of people pose in front of you in magnificent outfits and flashy style pieces. It’s a visual feast that invites you to photograph every detail. The goal for me, and for most of my colleagues, is to make the most aesthetic pictures of the biggest stars.

Many celebrities walked the carpet the night I took this photo and there were many pictures I didn’t take. But I immediately knew I had something interesting when I noticed the captured flash — the light from another photographer’s flash — on the face of “Barbie” director Greta Gerwig, president of this year’s festival jury. When you manage to get some nice pictures of big stars, you feel like you’ve added something to AP’s coverage of this strange world.

How I took this photo

At the festival, I have more creative freedom to look for the brighter and more unusual moments. I like to use wide aperture lenses without flash to contrast a bit with the typical entertainment aesthetic.

I took this picture from the base of the red carpet steps, which is a position with many angles to photograph. As Gerwig passed me, I decided to follow her up the steps through my 135mm lens. I committed to what I thought was going to happen and was determined to wait for a reaction from her when she reached the top step.

Finally he returned and I was lucky enough to get both his hand wave to the fans and the added capture flash while pressing the shutter button. The dimming of the lights at the Palais des Festivals added to the eerie image that combined her gesture with an interesting light show.

Why this photo works

Many of my favorite images from Cannes are made in a similar way: trusting your intuition that the moment arrives when you think it will, and getting a lucky burst of light that lifts the moment.

If you manage to balance the right moment of the right star with some serendipitous visual magic, you have an image that can stand out.


For more great AP photos, click here.

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