“When I started working as a stills photographer on film sets, there was a lot more freedom than there is today; the set was an atmospheric place. There was something great and exciting about seeing a director on set or behind a camera. I would often have several weeks of free access to photograph everything behind the scenes.
Fellini is one of my favourite directors. His sense of story, drama, imagination, camera, lighting, costume, and set design is unmatched. Fellini’s world was extraordinary; every day something amazing would happen. Sometimes he would get very excited and yell at everyone in sight. And then he would apologize.
Fellini was wonderful in front of the camera. This picture of him with the megaphone was taken as he supervised a new set being built. Even though this picture is shot from behind it is still very much a portrait of Fellini.
This picture captures very much who Fellini was. He seems to be dancing gracefully, exactly like one of his characters in his films. This was just one moment, one frame, but it speaks to something larger, which is why it has become iconic. I always tell people, “You don’t have to shoot so many pictures; just wait for the moment.” (All quotes taken from Mary Ellen Mark: On the Portrait and the Moment, Aperture 2015)
The current issue (8/2020) of the LFI magazine presents a selection of pictures by the classic Leica photographer.