“It all started when I photographed Catherine Deneuve. Watching her, I immediately noticed her unusual facial expressions. At the end of the shoot, for fun, I kept asking her to make faces, and then we went on shooting. A good funny face assumes that you have an original face, as Sofia Loren demonstrated. You don’t need to be an actor to act, but it’s all a question of talent: the more talent you have, the funnier the faces you can make.”
Willy Rizzo & Sylvie Vartan
Salvador Dali was an icon of buffoonery, and something of a trail-blazer when it comes to funny faces. The first to wax his mustache, he used the photo shoot to play with what fascinated him the most about himself. He would do anything provoke, shock, and make people laugh. Other more shy and modest artists, like Sylvie Vartan, would let themselves go wild when a camera was around. She often told me that she liked herself better that way. Most of the shoots resulted in these funny faces, but some other more spontaneous actors like Jack Nicholson would put on a whole show, and Jean-Paul Belmondo had such a great sense of humor. Joking around with the subject is a great way to make a connection. It establishes a kind of complicity that makes them more relaxed, and more vulnerable.