Creatives Commentary: Photographer Manuel Harlan on Sunset Boulevard

Mon 22 Jun 2020

In this commentary, photographer Manuel Harlan explains the art of being in the right place at the right time to capture a key moment of our 2017 Made At Curve production of Sunset Boulevard. See Manuel’s full-length shot below.

As a production photographer you normally just get one chance to capture the show on camera – the dress rehearsal, and at Curve this is usually an open dress with a full audience. It’s a bit like being a sports photographer: you don’t quite know what’s going to happen next but through a combination of concentration and experience you can try to anticipate when and where the key moments in the unfolding drama are going to happen, and be ready to capture them when they do. This shot comes from the 2017 production of Sunset Boulevard. I like it mainly because of the determination and self-possession in Ria’s expression and the directness of her gaze. There’s also a certain ambiguity I feel works for her character and the story. Is she walking towards something she wants or is she leaving something behind? Or both? The vertical columns of light add a graphic quality to the shot, as well as a sense of the Hollywood glamour in which the story takes place.