Media coverage of the Cannes festival requires an army of photographers. Some stand on duty alongside the red carpet while others are sent on sorties in the town’s streets and alleys. Away from the action, their editors sit in darkened rooms working furiously on images that will be seen across the world. But what is it like being at the front line in Cannes? What goes on behind the camera? euronews is following a team from Getty Images to get their unique perspective of life on the Croisette.
Marc Pont, networks and transmissions:
“In general we don’t have too many problems. If we do it’s usually that there’s something up with the equipment: a computer or a server that crashes. In those cases we take five minutes to re-boot it. So most of the time I’m just overseeing everything. On the red carpet or at photocalls, all the photographers take more or less the same photo. It’s the first photo that will sell. So I try to make sure that the first photo to go out is one of ours.
“The technicians’ world is quite a closed one; we all know the other technicians from the other agencies and we all stick together. There’s a fairly ‘matey’ atmosphere which helps you deal with the pressure. The lunch break gives us the chance to get some fresh air and talk. If it’s all boys, we’ll watch the pretty ladies go by…
“In the heat of the action the photographers can get quite rough with the equipment. If one of the cables gets cut I morph into a “runner” and have to rush around getting photographers’ memory cards from their cameras and bring them back to the office as fast as possible. So you can get quite a lot of exercise!
“For Cannes I’m at work for around 12 days or so but sometimes I’m away for up to seven weeks, which was the case for the Olympic Games for example. I have to set everything up before the event and then take it all down after. I do like the job but you never really get the chance to make the most of the actual event, contrary to what most people believe. At Cannes our office is underground so we don’t often see the light of day except on cigarette breaks. We go for a smoke just to find out what time it is, whether it’s day or night!
“My day at the office starts at 9:00. I’m usually one of the first people there. I check what has been saved the night before and that the internet and computers are working properly. Then I get to work on the first photocall. The afternoon is usually a bit quieter until the first red carpet session, which requires much more attention than a photocall because we have five photographers on the job at once. Then I’ll go back to the office and work with the editors and save everything into the computer until about two o’clock in the morning.
“I don’t like to disturb the stars, who are already kept very busy and besides, I don’t really have the time. Once though, at the Venice Film Festival, I had a nice five-minute chat with Quentin Tarantino. He refused to take the car to go 200 metres down the road and ended up walking next to me, which was nice! There was another nice surprise at Cannes this year: at the photocall for the film ‘Le Havre’ I saw someone in the team who I knew, one of the musicians from the group ‘Little Box Story’ that plays in the film.
“Although I do like cinema, I prefer working on sports events. The pressure on the photographers is even greater; they can’t afford to miss any of the action, so that makes it more interesting. As well, the technicians get a great view because, unlike the photographers, we can move around much more.”