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Matinee: 'Funny Face Series' Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

6 October 2018

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 170th in our series of Saturday matinees today: Funny Face Series by Guy Davies.

As a professional photographer, Guy Davies has observed that "over the years kids are sort of almost forced to smile and behave a certain way in front of the camera." That's what gave him the idea to cut them loose in his Funny Face Series.

The series is perhaps the perfect antidote to his role as the official photographer for the Steven Walter Foundation, which raises money for childhood cancer research.

In the end the project helps people break out of their shells, he says, and take themselves less seriously.

But how could he get them to cut loose?

Well, the Australian children's classic When the Wind Changed by Ruth Park inspired him. In that book, Josh is a little boy who likes to make scary faces. To get him to stop, his father warns him that when the wind changes, you could be stuck with that face.

Fortunately, there's no wind machine at CoHouse Studios, where Davies shot the series.

He does ask the kids to dress up in their best, as if for a formal portrait. It's part of the fun of misbehaving, he explains. And it makes a nice contrast between the prim-and-proper and the devilish.

In the end the project helps people break out of their shells, he says, and take themselves less seriously.

In this short clip, we see the studio sessions and prints rolling out of his compact dye sub printer as Davies narrates. And he tells us about his gear: a Nikon D800 and Broncolor studio lighting.

We also get a glimpse of his technique.

He gets down to the children's level and shoots quite close to them, only a few feet from their faces. They don't seem to mind at all. Instead, they relish the spotlight -- which inevitably leads to shared laughter.

You can see a collection of the images at Davies' site. But don't stare at them too long or, we've heard, your eyes may stay crossed.

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