Behind the mask – Interview mit Cover-Fotograf Paul Green

Marina Prudenskaya by THEPAULGREEN

Eine Aufnahme des australischen Fotografen Paul Green von Marina Prudenskaya in »Il trovatore« ist das Cover unseres neuen Magazins! Es ist ein Einblick in seine Portraitserie »Behind the Mask«, die er seit 2013 an der Staatsoper realisiert. Bei Vorstellungen von »Don Carlos«, »Die Zauberflöte«, »La Traviata« und zahlreichen weiteren Produktionen hat Paul Green backstage fotografiert. Ab 26. September stellt er erstmals eine Auswahl dieser Werke aus. Wir haben mit ihm darüber gesprochen, wie er auf die Idee zu diesem Projekt kam und was ihn an der Oper und ihren Darstellern fasziniert.

Could you please first of all describe your project and its premise for our readers?
»Behind the Mask« is an exploration of the masks of operatic characters and an exploration of the characters underneath the make up and wigs. The surface is the creation of talented people guided by the premise of the show. However when you look again, when look closer, you begin to see the structure of the disguise, the technical artistry, the lines of the wig, the make-up, the fake scar and discover the real people underneath, who are in themselves talented creative characters.

How did you come up with the idea?
I was allowed backstage access to the Staatsoper, photographing the players before and when they came onto stage. Then I recognised the separate personas that were within the one guise. From there I felt the impulse to explore the people and the characters deeper.

What fascinates you about the aesthetic of the close-up portrait? Within a close up portrait the viewer is able to see the outside person, and through the eyes the person underneath There is no hiding, it is all reality, created or otherwise.

When did you get in touch with opera and what interests you about this art form?
I was invited to a photo probe and from there I fell in love and wanted to explore more.

The portrait of Marina Prudenskaya in “Il trovatore” has become the cover of our new magazine. Could you describe what you feel when you look at it, what you see in it?
Marina is a special character. Within the serious talented performer is a little girl who likes to pretend. She is playful and down to earth. The photo with the blood dripping is almost a challenge to the viewer saying can you see me now?

Do you have a favourite image?
I love the cover image of Marina and I also have an artistic crush on Yehudit, a class act who’s a member of the Staatsopernchor. Every photo with her is fun and unashamed.

What was most challenging about the working process?
I have very limited time with the performers. At best 2 minutes at worst 30 seconds. My challenge is to create something strong and memorable with in an almost impossible time.

How did you experience the artists?
Generally all the people I photograph are amazing fun willing participants. I feel we share a mutual respect for one another. It is a true pleasure to work with them all.

Why did you decide to make a benefit exhibition for Junge Staatsoper? I feel opera is on the low spectrum of popularity and yet is one of the most beautiful art forms that has been existing for centuries. It is very important that such things are available for the next generation to explore.

Hier noch eine kleine Vorschau auf weitere Portraits aus der Serie!

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Fotos die auf Instagram mit #staatsoperberlin getagged wurden.