As a regular at the Cannes Film Festival for 12 years, Parisian photographer Francois Durand is definitely in his element at glamorous events. While many of his assignments have an elegant atmosphere, occasionally there are moments where craziness ensues.

For example, that time at the Fall 2015 Valentino fashion show in Paris when Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson stormed the runway to announce their upcoming film, Zoolander 2 .

Since the reveal was top secret, Stiller and Wilson were kept in a private room backstage where Durand was one of two photographers allowed inside.

“The backstage of fashion shows are crazy and full of people so they kept them separated so no one would find out,” he said. “The only photographers allowed in the room were me and a Vogue photographer. Anna Wintour was in there as well and they were all taking selfies.”

Once they hit the catwalk during the show’s finale, the crowd went wild.

“It was amazing. For the first time you could hear people enjoying a fashion show rather than just sitting there and watching — everyone was clapping and laughing,” Durand said. “I think everyone walked away with a souvenir.”


While this experience was definitely memorable, it wasn’t until after the show when Durand was sent to take photos of Stiller and Wilson by the Eiffel Tower that the real craziness occurred.

“I wasn’t allowed to call them by their real names and instead was told to call them Derek and Hansel,” he said. “They were acting as if they were in the movie and giving me the Blue Steel face, it was really fun.”

He wanted to photograph them pretending to take selfies, but since neither of them had a cellphone on them, Durand gave them his own. It wasn’t until the following day when he realized his phone was filled with selfies of Stiller and Wilson.

“I didn’t know they were actually taking real selfies,” Durand said. “It was great because I wanted the photos I took of them to look authentic and it turns out they were.”


While this shoot was definitely a career highlight, Durand has several upcoming assignments that are sure to be memorable. In May, he returns to the Cannes Film Festival to shoot for Dior for the fourth year. In addition to photographing the glamorous events taking place inside the Dior suite at the Hôtel Barrière Le Majestic Cannes, from the suite’s balcony, Durand is able to capture all the red carpet action.

“The balcony overlooks the red carpet and is situated towards the back, so I really only see people from behind or their profiles — it’s a really unique angle,” he said, “When you can’t shoot people’s faces you have to focus on something different, so I try to focus on the light and the fashion with the big long dresses. When it’s windy it can be really beautiful.”

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This June, Durand is bringing his unique perspective to the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity as well. There, he will be shooting from the Getty Images portrait studio, where he will be taking portraits of industry legends and this year’s Young Lions, the top up-and-coming talent from around the world.

“I’m always looking to shoot things in new, interesting ways. I’ve been shooting Cannes Lions for 10 years, but this will be a great opportunity for me to challenge myself,” Durand said. “I’m excited to shoot them. These young people might be the next big thing in the creative industry.”


Explore more of the glamorous—and sometimes crazy— moments Francois Durand captures at