Sarah Dunn directing The Hobbit cast
She meets and photographs the movie stars we all admire. She manages 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,  Helen Mirren, 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!

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 favourite haunt! It is absolute escapism!

Dominic Cooper

What talent does a successful photographer need to have?

A great eye, patience, passion and sheer determination!

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!
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.

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!

Young Benedict Cumberbatch by 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 

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....


junewilliams7 said...

Wow! That must have been some one-on-one conversation, to get all these people to loosen up for the camera. What kind of questions do you ask that make them so relaxed? And will those conversations ever be recorded in a book?

Anonymous said...

It is interesting that Ms. Dunn reveals very little of herself during this interview. Her responses to questions are laconic. Perhaps that is one reason that she, as photographer and recorder, can induce some candour in body language of her subjects? If I were to describe her, it would be: self-effacing.


Anonymous said...

What a pleasure to read something about this photoshots/the photographer that only recently had us all delighted with various pics of RA, and so to learn a bit about Ms. Dunn and her approach on photography. Thanks Maria for being so investigative!

Gratiana Lovelace said...

I love Sarah Dunn's portraiture! She captures an "essence" of her portrait subjects that feels new and fresh to me--something we haven't seen before from them. And her portraits of Richard Armitage are extraordinary--the best I've seen so far! Cheers! ;->

Prue Batten said...

What a fab I/V, Maria, and perfectly posed questions. Succinct. And great answers from Sarah.

I love seeing how a photographer might interpret a view that I might be looking at - the same view but such a different dimension. I also like seeing how different creative types operate in different media, so thank you so much for this!

dstoutholcomb said...

lucky you

Mercedes said...

How did you manage to get an interview with her being an English teacher? Great interview and great questions by the way. I love the way she sums up Richard Armitage as unaffected. That is exactly how he comes across, so glad to have confirmation from someone who actually knows him.