Photographing… Liv Corfixen + Nicolas Winding Refn

On being a woman 365 days/year…

March 8. For some reasons, people suddenly feeling the ephemeral need to congratulate me for being a woman reminded me how inspiring I had found meeting Danish director LIV CORFIXEN, precisely two years ago.

I also remember I had been surprised and a bit disgusted by how patronizing were some of the reviews of her first film, MY LIFE DIRECTED BY NICOLAS WINDING REFN, a behind the scenes documentary made during the shooting of her husband’s film, ONLY GOD FORGIVES.

Some critics called it a “home movie” & seemed disappointed by the lack of insights into the “DRIVE” director’s creative process.

Poor them, they so totally missed the point…

The film was about Liv’s creative process.

And about how to feel smart & strong when your partner wanna be a genius but somebody still has to feed and bath the kids. Which is obviously something so many women (mostly) can relate to, even without being married to a world-famous director whose muse is called Ryan Gosling.

In other words, the film was precisely not about NWR’s work, but about claiming your own  creative territory when your loved one already occupies the whole space.

 

 

I’m glad Liv & I had 15 minutes to discuss before her husband joined us. Women talk, in the most glorious sense of the word. I liked the way she smiled, moved and occupied the space, with a bright and effortless elegance so I knew right away that I wanted some portraits “in action” of her.

I also wanted to see her interacting with her partner, because her film was also a reaction to him deciding to shoot a new movie abroad, which meant new upheavals for the family .

But first of all, I wanted to have her on the foreground and him in the shadows.

I bet you’re gonna shoot at the widest aperture to make me all blurry and focus on my wife”, said NICOLAS WINDING REFN when I suggested him to stand behind his wife.

Is that painful, to be the one in the shadows for a change?”, I asked.

Well, I’m a director, I’m self-centered, so I can’t say my ego adores it, but I guess it’s fair enough…

Photographing a couple that has been going on for twenty years, after having discussed their ups and downs was lovely, touching and fun.

Nicolas had his glasses in his hand and I considered for a brief second asking him how he felt more confortable, more him. But I liked too much how different his naked face looked, how vulnerable his gaze appeared.

 

***

If you’re curious about what it takes to love someone brilliant who loves you back but whose obsessions can make you feel small sometimes…

… if you have the intuition that creating something on your own could empower you in some way…

… watch LIV CORFIXEN’s behind the scenes documentary, MY LIFE DIRECTED BY NICOLAS WINDING REFN !

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