Art & Design Magazine

Picturing the Stars - Interview with Sarah Dunn

By Mariagrazia @SMaryG

PICTURING THE STARS - INTERVIEW WITH SARAH DUNN

Sarah Dunn directing The Hobbit cast

She met and photographed the movie stars we all admire. She managed to capture very special smiles, looks, intense expressions and beautiful moments. Have you seen her photos of the Potter cast, the Hobbit cast, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch,  Jennifer Lawrence, Cate Blanchett, Tom Hanks, Jamie Campbell Bower, Shailene Woodley and more? Have a look at her site! I bet you've seen her photos on the covers of the most important magazines. I  did and thought: "Sarah Dunn must know things about those people which nobody else knows". I was so curious that... I dared ask. And Sarah Dunn was kind enough to answer. She was very professional, no gossiping!  Here's the interview. 
Well , Sarah, first of all thank you very much indeed for taking the time to answer my questions. Where to start an interview with you? What about a quote? Karl Lagerfeld said, “What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.” What do you, Sarah, like in photographs?  
Drama and emotion
And do you agree with Ansel Adams? That you don’t make a photograph just with a camera but you bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved? How much of yourself is there in one of your photos? 
You are creating something, it would be difficult not to bring some of yourself to the table!

PICTURING THE STARS - INTERVIEW WITH SARAH DUNN

Domhnall Gleeson


What was your dream job as a child? 
Film director, still is!
When and how did you understand photography was your chosen profession? 
When I was presented a camera at the age of 8, I would look through the viewfinder and pretend I was at the cinema, my favorite haunt! It is absolute escapism!

PICTURING THE STARS - INTERVIEW WITH SARAH DUNN

Dominic Cooper


What talent does a successful photographer need to have?
A great eye, patience, passion and sheer determination!

PICTURING THE STARS - INTERVIEW WITH SARAH DUNN

Richard Armitage


You’ve photographed many celebrities in the latest years, British and not. What I noticed is that your portraits of the stars convey the sensation of great intimacy, as if you could access the most remote of their thoughts through your lens. Is your job, as I imagine it, something like stealing secrets from the stars? 
I believe it is about understanding human nature, we are all equal!

PICTURING THE STARS - INTERVIEW WITH SARAH DUNN

Daniel Radcliffe


The impression I have from your shootings with actors is one of intensity. Do you usually ask actors to perform, to interpret a role you create for them or you just ask them to be themselves? 
I always want to capture something that no one else can get, very few actors can be themselves in front of a still camera.
I’ve also noticed that in one shot you manage to capture a very peculiar or very unexpected trait in a personity.  How do you get to catch those aspects? Do you usually talk with actors much on set or do you let them freely move to get to those results? 
It' s all about the conversation, the one on one time is crucial!
I know generalizations are never fair nor simple but … Are men easier or more difficult than women to deal with in your profession?
Each subject is different.

PICTURING THE STARS - INTERVIEW WITH SARAH DUNN

Helen Mirren


Do you have any funny/sweet/unpleasant encounters in your career you’d like to share? 
The funniest: escaping paparazzi with Ewan McGregor in Cannes.
The sweetest: being asked by Cate Blanchett to photograph her first born son.
The most unpleasant: it would be indiscreet of me to say!

PICTURING THE STARS - INTERVIEW WITH SARAH DUNN

The majority of FLY HIGH! readers are female who love movies, TV series and books. May I ask you an adjective for each of the following actors you’ve met and photographed, and whom I’m sure they love? 

Hugh Jackman: generous
Richard Armitage:  unaffected
Martin Freeman: camera shy 

Tom Hiddleston: charming
Benedict Cumberbatch: unassuming 

Luke Evans: professional
Dominic Cooper: fun
Jamie Campbell Bower: witty

Daniel Radcliffe: hyperactive 

PICTURING THE STARS - INTERVIEW WITH SARAH DUNN

Jamie Campbell Bower

My final question is : “What about Sarah Dunn and being on the other side of the camera, being photographed”? 

Never, rarely, usually under duress, depends who is asking! I happily had my picture taken with Hugh....


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