Face of Flanders — Carposers
For three years in a row, Ghent-based photographer Kris Dewitte asked the composers who had been invited to the city’s World Soundtrack Awards (part of the Flanders International Film Festival) to pose in a black, 1982 Mercedes. Some of these photos turned out to be simple portraits of musical masters behind the wheel. But others are slightly more inspired.
Take this photo of David Arnold, for instance, the man behind the music of the last five James Bond films. Like all the other conductors, he was delighted at the idea of posing in the car for the series. Another shot shows Argentinean composer Gustavo Santaolalla with his guitar in the back seat of the car. He is in fact playing his Oscar-winning score from Brokeback Mountain.
Dewitte has been making an art of shooting film personalities for many years, travelling from festival to festival and haunting the sets of Belgian film productions. He never stands with the hordes of photographers at the red carpet; he waits somewhere, across the street, say, for the shot of a lifetime.
The photo book Carposers has been published in Belgium by Roularta Media, and an exhibition of the series is now on view in the Flanders House Gallery in Osaka, Japan, during the run of the Osaka Film Festival. Alongside it is another Dewitte series called The Kissing Project. “I’ve been travelling the world to ask people to kiss,” the photographer tells me from his hotel room in Osaka. “Everybody loves kissing! They all responded enthusiastically.” In keeping with his low profile, many of the subjects are not necessarily world-famous or instantly recognisable. But they are people whose faces he admires for one reason or another.
Some relationships actually blossomed from the kissing photo shoot, while others ended. In one memorable scenario, a Polish girl returned to her home country after the kiss – the last – with her boyfriend of eight years. The nearly 80-year-old American actress Mamie Van Doren kissed her long-time husband; Ghent-based singer Gabriel Rios kissed his girlfriend – model and actress Delfine Bafort; Patricia Arquette kissed her daughter. Dewitte is continuing the series in Japan.
The curator of Osaka’s Suntory Museum was so intrigued by Dewitte’s work that he arranged a showing of Still Project – photos of actors, directors and other film personalities, including Peter Jackson, Michael Moore and Juliette Lewis. “The Japanese tend to respond more to black-and-white photography than to colour,” says Dewitte.