Matt Lucas, Daniel Radcliffe and Colin Firth among stars for Simon Annand special

By Laura McArthur | 27 February 2012
A photo of a man in colourful make up grinning
Matt Lucas
© Simon Annand
Exhibition: Simon Annand: The Half, Idea Generation Gallery, London, until April 8 2012

For more than 25 years photographer Simon Annand has captured the intimate moment when the actor enters psychological negotiation in the final half-hour before curtain up.

This exhibition showcases these photographs, including shots from his 2008 book The Half, as well as a series of new and unseen images of some of the world's most illustrious stage actors.

The Half (or "final call") is the 30-minute period before the curtain rises, when an actor is left in solitude to focus on the performance ahead of them.

Portraying each actor as a worker, Simon’s portraits allow the viewer to see the physical and mental preparation that is required as the actor leaves the day behind, in readiness for performing on the stage that evening.

Annand’s eloquent photographic style reveals the private time of some of the world’s best-loved entertainers including Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench, Jude Law, Michael Gambon, Martin Sheen, Felicity Kendal and Kevin Spacey.

“Simon Annand is one of the most amazing photographers I have had the pleasure of working with in the theatre...he is an individualist with an eye for the unusual. The results speak for themselves,” says Dench.

He is able to capture the conflicting emotions of anticipation, humour, happiness, fear and nerves. Simon Annand’s subjects revel in the success of musical theatre and his photographs have captured this thriving industry as never before.

Two features of the theatre landscape remain constant throughout Simon Annand’s established career; the theatre productions themselves and the dressing rooms that act as his studio.

“Each evening an actor enters the building as themselves but will go on stage as somebody else. To achieve this transformation, a dressing room is provided, which allows him or her to make the psychological negotiation that is required between themselves and the fictional character,” says Annand.

“Live performance is a unique hand-made piece of work, which is created in front of you and cannot rely on another take if something goes wrong. The performer is therefore very exposed. There is something endlessly romantic and heroic about it.”
  • Open Monday-Friday 12pm-6pm (12pm-5pm Sunday). Admission Free.

More Pictures:

A black and white photo of a young actor in a dressing room
Daniel Radcliffe
© Simon Annand

A photo of a woman in a red Father Christmas costume lying on a bed
Kelly Brook
© Simon Annand
A black and white photo of a man in a military suit standing in a dressing room
Colin Firth
© Simon Annand
A photo of a young woman in a light green dress lying on a lilac rug
Amanda Holden
© Simon Annand

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