Brigitte Lacombe at the DTFF


She is one of the most important portrait photographers living on the planet today and her body of work, mostly focused on actors and politicians, is largely a study in contrast from the real life. Contrast from the real life because what we see as real is in many cases are not so real. Let me explain.

Actors and politicians are some of the most photographed people on earth. They expect to be photographed every minute of their life. They know exactly how they look and what angle flatters them in the photographs. They know how every word they utter will be twisted and presented as ‘sound bites’ to an unsuspecting mass of readers, sometimes taken out of context. It is a cat and mouse game with the media. Every photograph that appears on mass media is well planned and executed. Even some of the scoops by tabloids are pretty well planted stories and images. It is a sad state we live where the lines of news and marketing is very blurred.

Brigitte’s gallery is, more than anything else, a breath of fresh air. She has this ability to remove the mask and present the real person behind the facade. This is the most striking aspect of her portraits. This doesn’t mean she presents her subjects in a bad light. She strives for aesthetic beauty as well as inner beauty and succeeds in presenting the real person as she sees, in a beautiful way.

Today, I had the opportunity to attend a photography master class presented by Brigitte as part of the Doha Tribeca Film Festival. Just blown away by the simplicity of the person. She confessed that she hates to be photographed and at times hid behind her team when someone tried to snap away. That doesn’t mean she wants to take away your rights as a photographer. I caught her in a dance-like pose twisting and cutting the slack from some of the questions the participants threw.

Tip: What does it take to get photographed by Brigitte? Somehow get featured in DTFF!! She is building an enormous archive for the Doha Film Institute that carries her inimitable signature – outer and inner beauty.

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