Saturday 23 February 2008

The Spotlight Project - Charlotte Rampling

The Spotlight is the actor's casting directory. Since 1927 thesps have had their photo taken and submitted it to the now mammoth books used to cast film, television and theatre productions. It is an annual ritual which means the wallet being lightened by many pounds and occasionally the rigmarole of having a new headshot taken because every now and then you have to admit that you're no longer 21 with just the one chin.

I remember vividly having my first shot taken as a drama student. I hated it. I was stiff, uncomfortable and way too serious. Oh and my hair was from another era. I may well post it up here at a later date but I want to explain where all this is going first. Given that experience I hit upon the idea of reuniting various famous actors with their first ever Spotlight headshot and capturing their reaction on seeing this earlier incarnation of themselves again after all these years. How would they react? Would they remember the photo? And how would they compare themselves now?

When I was lucky enough to be in a play with Charlotte Rampling I proposed the idea to her and asked if she would become my first subject. She said yes. At which point I started to worry. This is one of the world's most photographed women, never mind how she might react how about me? The results are below and I must say that given the frantic nature of the shoot in between matinee and evening shows I'm pretty pleased with the results. Charlotte was fantastic, absolutely remembered the photo and was very calm and collected during the whole session, as you might expect. Some of my other subjects weren't quite so calm as you will see. I'll post up the other 5 in the weeks to come and welcome any comments you might have about them. Click on any image to see a larger version.

Click here to see other portraits from The Spotlight Project.


John Self 29 February 2008 at 14:43  

What a tremendous idea! Look forward to seeing more of these. The pics of Jonathan Pryce and Sophie Thompson are wonderful.

It might be an interesting challenge for you to select one shot to sum up each reaction, and only give us the others by clicking on a link, say.

William Rycroft 2 March 2008 at 09:37  

Thank you John and thanks for the suggestion. I'll have a little think about the best way to achieve that. Perhaps I could show the original headshot first and then you could click through to see the reaction?

John Self 4 March 2008 at 11:55  

Yes that might work. So how easy was it to get access to what are, after all, pretty big names? Have you worked with them all?

William Rycroft 4 March 2008 at 12:06  

No, Charlotte was the only one I actually worked with. I wrote to the others, sending them copies of the work as it grew, and they said yes. There were plenty who said no of course. I was expecting the men to be more forthcoming than the women (who I was worried might not fancy the comparative side of things) but I was proved utterly wrong.

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