Experience the magic of Harcourt and get your family portrait by world renown Parisian photographer!
Suite 321 at the Hotel de Paris has been transformed into a Harcourt Studio. Famous for their old Hollywood style portraits and their signature Harcourt lighting, entering the suite is like stepping back in time, to the world of black and white, with glamorous film stars and the mystique of the Silver Screen. The walls are always lined with soft glowing portraits of some of Hollywood’s most iconic faces.
Laurence Aina, in charge of international development at Harcourt Studios, describes the ambiance: “ When someone enters one of our studios, they get the impression of living with all the stars of cinema.”
The public has been lining up to get a chance to be photographed by the famed studio. But it’s not just the photographs that people seek. The Harcourt experience is just that—an entire experience. Mr Aina is particularly pleased with this project with the Société Bains de Mers.
“We have a habit of setting up ephemeral studios in hotels and palaces around the world, but we’ve never been far from this project with SBM, where we decided to recreate the universe of Harcourt Studios, so that when people walk into the suite, they get the impression of stepping into the ‘magic’ of Harcourt.”
Starting with the gorgeous surrounding of the Belle Époque Hotel de Paris, the inner studio’s ‘magic’ is enjoyed by the top members of society, from the Monaco Royal family to celebrities in film, sports and fashion. And the portraits lining the wall prove it: Karl Lagerfeld, Kate Blanchette, Novak Djokovic, and Alain Ducasse are among the faces in black and white.
The suite has been completely remodelled for the occasion, from the wall paint to the furnishings. “They’ve done a good job,” remarked Didier Bizos, the well-established Parisian photographer. The environment helps to bring out the ‘interior and exterior’ of the subjects glance, creating “expressionism, the language of the eyes.” He describes the ‘regard’ as the most important aspect of a photograph, and getting their soul across to the lens is something people work very hard to develop. If you’re good at it, he says, “everything flows from the eyes. This is what we care about, the quality of the look that tells us something about the person in the photograph.”
The studio is open to the public, and if you would like to immortalize yourself or your family, the cost starts at €1690 for a solo portrait. The transformed Monegasque studio quickly booked up with ‘anonymous’ citizens wanting a Harcourt photograph. The session was held from 18-24 October, but don’t worry, it will return in January for another session.
Mr Bizos actually spends most of his time photographing families. This past weekend he photographed a family of 20, including the newest addition, a 20-month-old. In Paris, he said, they “regularly get 80-year-old women who come with their young granddaughters.” They get the portrait because it’s exactly what they did with their grandmothers.
Harcourt has maintained its prestige and remained unchallenged as a top studio for the last 80 years. Something Harcourt takes very seriously. They maintain that the only important thing is the lighting, and the look. “We have meetings every 15 days with the photographers and the president, Francis Dagnan to ensure we don’t deviate from our basics, and if we do, to know why.”
Harcourt uses the same lighting they used in the 1930’s. “It’s a very specific lighting, timely and very precise. We work by the millimetre, which means that a badly placed shadow shows up instantly as a defect in the image, even visible to the untrained eye,” explained Mr Bizos.
Photographs in the studio will be held again from 22-31 of January in room 321 of the Hôtel de Paris. Prices start at €1690 for a single portrait; €1930 for a duo and €3010 for a family portrait. By appointment only, but the hours are flexible. Call 06.85.86.56.00 for reservations. The redesigned suite will be available for stay from 25 October to 21 January.