Shadow and Light

Meet the pho­tog­ra­pher who is turn­ing a lens on Hol­ly­wood’s next gen­er­a­tion.

ELLE (Canada) - - Radar - BY sarah laing

main­tain­ing some sort of Garbo-es­que mys­tique. “It was such a gift to shoot these ac­tresses be­cause they give ev­ery­thing,” says Swan­son Frank. “There’s so much vul­ner­a­bil­ity.”

Each woman shares her of­ten-unglam­orous strug­gle to “make it”—from bombed au­di­tions to body-im­age is­sues to con­stantly chas­ing the part that got away. “So of­ten in our ob­ses­sion with celebrity, the re­al­ity doesn’t quite match the story,” re­flects Swan­son Frank. “It’s amaz­ing that they wanted to share the truth of the jour­ney—the beauty of it and the hard­ship of it.”

Sim­i­larly, Swan­son Frank bat­tled to make this book hap­pen. Af­ter draw­ing up a list of dream sub­jects, she be­gan cold-call­ing. For all their out­ward pol­ish, the shoots were hardly glam­orous ex­pe­ri­ences. “It was lucky if we had a ca­ter­ing bas­ket,” she says with a laugh. “But be­ing be­hind the cam­era is ac­tu­ally the most Zen place for me. It’s the most self­less space in my life, be­cause my work is re­ally about cel­e­brat­ing the sub­jects.”

It has been as grat­i­fy­ing for Swan­son Frank to see girls in the book get their big break. She shot Dakota John­son just be­fore the ac­tress got cast in Fifty Shades of Grey. “I have a great love of catch­ing that ‘right be­fore’ mo­ment—just be­fore peo­ple be­come who they came here to be.” n

the day that Clai­borne Swan­son Frank pho­tographed Ri­ley Keough could have been a dis­as­ter. The ac­tress’ vin­tage tulle dress was per­fect—the weather, how­ever, was a to­tal diva.

“We waited and waited for a break in the rain,” re­calls Swan­son Frank. “When the open­ing in the sky came, Ri­ley rose to greet it. We got that shot in five min­utes. It was amaz­ing.”

Swan­son Frank, a Los An­ge­les-based stylist and pho­tog­ra­pher, was shoot­ing Elvis’ grand­daugh­ter for Young Hol­ly­wood, her forth­com­ing book of por­traits of stars in the mak­ing. “This is not just about beau­ti­ful girls and beau­ti­ful pic­tures,” em­pha­sizes Swan­son Frank. (Al­though the im­ages, sat­u­rated in the redlipped iconog­ra­phy of old Hol­ly­wood, are gor­geous.) “It’s about the jour­ney, the strug­gle to ar­rive and make your own way in Hol­ly­wood.”

This new co­hort of movie-busi­ness in­sid­ers is no­tice­ably dif­fer­ent. (Swan­son Frank also in­cludes makeup artists, pub­li­cists and an en­ter­tain­ment lawyer in her glossy tome, a fol­low-up to 2012’s Amer­i­can Beauty.) “This gen­er­a­tion is cross­ing in­dus­try lines in ways that have never been seen be­fore,” she says, adding that many young ac­tresses also pro­duce, write and di­rect.

The women, tal­ents like Lea Michele and Hannah Si­mone, are also not in­ter­ested in

From left: Ac­tresses Isabelle Fuhrman, Olivia Thirlby and Imo­gen Poots

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