Ryan McGinley: Entrance Romance

Carolyn Murphy Lights Up the Photographer's Daringly Spiritual New Film

“I knew it was going to be wild when I signed on,” says Carolyn Murphy, who stars in Ryan McGinley’s exclusive short film Entrance Romance (it felt like a kiss). “Next thing I know, my manager is telling me that they're going to break glass on my head and my leading man's a dog. I'm like, 'That's it?' I was so sure I'd have to take my clothes off,” she says, laughing. Shot with a Phantom camera (capable of capturing video at over 1000 frames per second), Entrance Romance sees the all-American beauty (since 2002 the face of Estée Lauder) cheerfully turning a can of WD-40 into a flame thrower, passionately kissing a dog and smiling serenely as a bowl of goldfish smashes over her head. Murphy notes: "We did the fishbowl scene in just one take. As soon as it cracked against my head, everyone dove down and scrambled to pick up the goldfish. None were hurt in the making of this film!" The film's collision of innocence and thrill should be familiar to fans of the photographer's previous work—carefree, hazy shots of teenagers jumping off cliffs, skinny dipping or cavorting in remote locations (earlier this year, McGinley debuted a film for Pringle of Scotland featuring Tilda Swinton in a forest and caves)—but here the action is exquisitely drawn out, with the camera registering the most minute changes in Murphy's expression. Despite the relentless focus, her face remains unflinchingly calm, emphasized by beachy makeup, luminous golden lighting, and a meditative, chant-led soundtrack, all of which provide an intriguing contrast to the film’s explosions of glass shards. “We thought about going with a really rough punk rock look,” makeup artist James Kaliardos says. “But Ryan loved the idea of showing this iconic, fresh-faced California girl in an entirely new context, so I did fresh, 70s “no-makeup” makeup. We wanted her to look happy and in control, but still vulnerable.” So she does—and her bliss is infectious. 

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Conversations (6)

  • Marlon James
    Inspiring video art. I love it for it's simplicity, lighting and beautiful composition
    • Posted By Marlon James
    • January 02, 2014 at 8:22AM
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  • Misty
    The fact that you claim no fish were hurt in the making of this film still does not justify how you treated them! They are living, breathing animals that could have been seriously injured when the glass was smashed, not to mention the suffering caused when you threw them out of their water.
    • Posted By Misty
    • August 09, 2012 at 7:55PM
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  • SlimAndDynamic
    BTW Carolyn Murphy was not violated,upset,traduced,denigrated or humiliated in the above entrancing super slow-mo film..she comes out smiling! Hoorah!
    • Posted By SlimAndDynamic
    • December 30, 2011 at 12:23PM
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  • SlimAndDynamic
    moi aussi ..wow! (The unsettling eerie music similar to/reminds me of Eyes Wide Shut scene.) Startling Carolyn Murphy? yes please! Not sure I like the current vogue by trendy photographers for seeing beauties violated,upset,traduced,denigrated or humiliated ..e.g. Mischa Barton chasing raw meat on all fours.
    • Posted By SlimAndDynamic
    • December 30, 2011 at 12:20PM
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  • luismcardenasp
    beautiful, put me in mood reflexion about how sometimes if we have the patience to appreciate,and observe" life " as in good and bad things even smashing a fishbowl in someones head can be epic......beautiful
    • Posted By luismcardenasp
    • November 09, 2011 at 11:41AM
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  • adrianr
    just wow
    • Posted By adrianr
    • October 15, 2010 at 5:16PM
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