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In the wings On camera, off duty

Behind-the-scenes jobs on film sets rarely get their moment in the spotlight. Make-up artists, costume designers – even script writers – fade into the shadows as big-name stars soak up the praise, not to mention prizes.

An exhibition at the Solothurn Film Festival gives a glimpse into the wings of the world of the big screen.

Many backstage jobs are a bit of a mystery to the average cinema-goer. Something that is probably even less well known is that the production team doubles as a miniature army of photographers.

Actors, outfits, hair-dos, make up, special effects, extras and sometimes even whole sets are captured on camera.

Known as continuity pictures, these shots help to recreate perfectly a moment within a scene to be reconstructed days later, without any glaring differences.

The snaps primarily serve a functional purpose, but also create an unusual record of the film making process.

The images are intimate but clinical, like police photographs of a crime scene. Actors are shown before and after plot twists, stressed or relaxed, but always captured in a particular moment.

Make-up artist Martine Felber received the “Prix d’honneur” at the Solothurn Film Festival. Over the course of her career she worked on feature-length films for cinema, TV movies and series.

Set photographs from Martine Felber and other production crew members can be seen in the exhibition, “Between backstage and on set: wardrobe and continuity supervisors and make-up artists as photographers”.

(Pictures: Martine Felber and others, Text: Felix von Muralt).

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