From Russia with love

This is the second and last post about my latest digital adventures.

The main goal of shooting Gérard Depardieu was to come up with a picture that could work as an advertisement for the new collection from Cvstos watches called Proud to be Russian.

Before I go on let me just say something.

Yesterday, after posting, I got 4 comments from readers saying that Gérard Depardieu this or that or Gérard Depardieu does not pay taxes or whatever.

Yeah, I know everything about Mr. Depardieu moving to Brussels and getting a Russian passport and all the issues with France but… that’s none of my business as photographer or graphic designer.

Mr. Depardieu was chosen by the brand to be the ambassador of the new collection and I was hired to take pictures. No more, no less.

I’ve been around famous people that have the nicest “press” image and turned out to be absolutely unbearable persons and I’ve been around famous people hated by the press that turned out to be the kindest, humble and easiest to work with.

My own personal feelings about the person have nothing to do with my professional behavior on every single moment. So please guys, this is about photography and such, not about the personal life of someone.

That being said I do admire Mr. Depardieu and, on the set, he was the nicest, willing to deliver good pictures, kind of person. He made my job so easy and I do admit we had a few laughs.

So… back in the game… creating a “product image” for the brand.

Starting point: Cyrano de Bergerac. Why?

Let me just say that, as a grown man, it’s one of the two movies that can make me cry. The other one is Breaking the Waves by Lars Von Trier. Bloody intense piece of movie making guys.

Cyrano is intense, mysterious, intimidating, a gentle and shy awkward big nose passionate poet…

Cyrano comes out at night, always hiding behind something, he never takes the center of the stage…

These are the pictures that inspired me.



I liked the idea of hiding, not showing everything. A long coat as the new “cape”.
I liked the idea of “night” and a somehow melancholic loneliness…

The gesture of grabbing the coat to hide the face allowing to show the wrist and the watch, of course, would fit the creative idea. It could be the gesture of someone walking through the night in a deserted city.

© Espiral do Tempo/Cvstos Genève

© Espiral do Tempo/Cvstos Genève

So we went for it. Twenty shots after I got the image I was looking for. Great expression, love the hair, love the simple makeup. Love the hard light coming from above like from a street lamp.

© Espiral do Tempo/Cvstos Genève

© Espiral do Tempo/Cvstos Genève


© Espiral do Tempo/Cvstos Genève

I wanted a night scene but it was absolutely impossible to take a stroll with Mr. Depardieu at night and the photo session was around noon so… the rest of the image had to be digital.

Hair is one of the biggest nightmares of any Photoshop image editor. The fact that the background would be darker helps a lot so I started to “path” around Mr. Depardieu.

I ended up with this image. I really didn’t use the path tool, only a big eraser set to 0% hardness and I also didn’t care about the outline being accurate, I would fix that later. This was the core of what I wanted to show visually.

© Espiral do Tempo/Cvstos Genève

© Espiral do Tempo/Cvstos Genève

Second part. Filling the contour of Mr. Depardieu but making it blend into the background.

This was “stage one” over a dark background.

© Espiral do Tempo/Cvstos Genève

© Espiral do Tempo/Cvstos Genève

“Stage two”, the contour filling, set to Multiply on Photoshop.

© Espiral do Tempo/Cvstos Genève

© Espiral do Tempo/Cvstos Genève

Final result at the time.


© Espiral do Tempo/Cvstos Genève

Since I arrived to Brussels I kept on capturing night scenes and lights. During the reperage, which was at night, I had the change of shooting some reflections too, so I had a big library of bits and pieces of night textures I could use. I was not really looking for a complete night scene background image. I wanted to create the image myself using parts of other images.


So I did. I made it dark and cold and sad greyish/blueish but I also added those little warm yellow and orange lights to match the warmth on Gérard’s face as if illuminated by a street lamp.


© Espiral do Tempo/Cvstos Genève

It toke me about 2 days and 50 layers to do this.

Bottom line… that image made the brand happy and it was printed for the presentation of the watch collection in Moscow.



All the images are copywrite protected.

  1. Dan said:

    Your’s was a very fair reply/rebuttal – I accept the point; you’re right, insofar as you are the photographer – not an ethics committee… Apologies.

    • Oh no Dan, please. No need for any apologies whatsoever!

      I also think by my own head, just as you, but I must keep some things to myself as you might understand.

      On the other hand I do aim to share my photographic adventure and I do thank you for visiting.

      Have a wonderful Christmas.


  2. anette said:

    I really enjoyed your article, being able to follow the process and the great results! Congratulations!

    • Thank you Anette.
      Very often I find online, articles and tips that help me a lot so I like to share my way of doing things. Who knows, it might help someone too.

      Wishing you a wonderful Christmas.

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