LUCIA FARAIG: "As a film photographer you have to be coordinated with the team in a sort of joint choreography, to be discreet and empathetic, to know how to fit into complicated spaces.".

10/28/2021

This month we interview Lucia Faraig, a photographer specialized in film and still image, who has worked on films like Gun City, Black Bread, Summer 1993, The Last Days, Sunday’s Illness, The Pact, The Impossible, Mediterráneo and The Skin I Live In, as well as in television series such as Perfect Life, Félix and El día de mañana. Many of them were shot in our city. We talk with her about her work.

How did your vocation for photography arise?

I can always remember myself observing, especially people. Photography was the ideal medium for a spectator like me.

 

How did you begin to work in the world of photography for films? Was it your initial idea or did your work take you there?

Through a series of coincidences and my sister Núria, a film was shot in my town, Dénia, and the producer, Antonio Chavarrías, offered me the possibility of taking the photos.

 

Do you remember what your first job as a still photographer was?

My first film was The Cherry Tree, by Marc Recha, which was shot in La Vall de la Gallinera. You couldn’t hope for a better start.

 

Not long ago we interviewed Miquel Àngel Pintanel, the documentalist at the Filmoteca de Catalunya (Film Archive of Catalonia) specialized in the photographic archive and curator of the exhibition "The keys to the still image: Spanish cinema in the 40s" and he told us that at that time the person in charge of still images had a lot of time during the shoot to take the photos. The shoot stopped so that they could do their work. We suppose that it’s very different now. What’s the process of taking promotional photos for a film?

You need to know the dynamics of the shoot, when your moment is and not let it pass and, very occasionally, if the photo is important and it’s difficult due to the space and other impossibilities, to agree on a time to repeat it with the help of the director, and the complicity of the actors.

 

What challenges are involved for a still photographer in a shoot? Do you have to be invisible? It must be very difficult in the complex framework of a shoot.

As a film photographer you have to be coordinated with the team in a sort of joint choreography, to be discreet and empathetic, to know how to fit into complicated spaces.

 

Are there many differences between considering the photographs for a still image during a shoot and what you do for the posters of the films?

They are two different concepts. The photos taken during the shoot convey its essence, what is shot and how. In general, the photos for the poster are considered together with the producer and the designer of the poster before the shoot begins and a day is sought to materialize the proposals in a photo shoot. Occasionally, as occurred with the poster for Mediterráneo (a film directed by Marcel Barrena), a photo taken during the shoot is selected as the photo for the poster. This is very stimulating as it tends to be more representative of the shoot and more personal.

 

Can you work on the concept of the poster or is it just presented to you?

Normally, it’s the designer of the poster who considers different proposals and suggests them to the producer. I’m in charge of bringing those chosen to fruition. The fact that you form part of the project and that the actors are used to you makes it more natural and gives you more possibilities.

 

Do you think that your other photos not related to films have a certain cinematographic style? Are you influenced by the world of cinema when you take your photos?

Undoubtedly. A whole life lighting up and framing for directors of photography influences and, unconsciously, marks you.

 

In the interview we mentioned earlier, Miquel Àngel Pintanel told us that in the 40s there were no women doing still photography or at least none have been found, although later there were. Toward the end of the 50s, there was Joana Biarnés, Colita and Montse Faixat, for example. Has this changed? Are there more female still photographers?

When I began, there were very few female photographers on the shoots. One who was a benchmark was Teresa Isasi; now there are many and very good ones.

 

What obstacles have you encountered on being a woman when it comes to doing your job, if you have encountered any?

I’ve always been very well received by my male colleagues. I would have liked to see a greater female presence in certain departments, above all in the camera department, which is mine. Fortunately, everything’s changed. It makes a difference and I’m grateful for it.

 

Who are your benchmarks as female or male photographers?

There’s a wide variety: Larry Friedlander, Mary Ellen Mark, Diane Arbus, Robert Frank, Saul Leiter, Harry Gruyaert, Alex Majoli...

 

Which project gave you the most personal satisfaction? And which was the most complicated to carry out?

The Impossible and Mediterráneo were difficult, exciting and left a lasting mark. They were both aquatic shoots, extremely difficult on a technical level, but a gift on the creative level.

I like to form part, with my camera, of films by authors with whom I identify in view of the project, sensitivity and outlook.

 

With which director would you like to work?

Those which spring to mind now are Neus Ballús, Lucrecia Martel, Alberto Rodríguez, Wes Anderson, Chloé Zhao, to work again with Marc Recha and Agustí Villaronga.

 

What are you working on at the moment? 

I’m beginning Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s new film, a project about which I’m really excited.

 

 

 

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