Cross: the encounter of photographers Julien Apruzzese & Malo | Profoto (UK)

Cross: the encounter of photographers Julien Apruzzese & Malo

28 May, 2020

Written by: Julien Apruzzese, Malo & Coraline Vialette

Image makers and Profoto ambassadors Julien Apruzzese and Malo represent in two portraits their creative process.


This is the story of an encounter between two photographers, a project that Julien Apruzzese wanted to propose to Malo. 

The story of that moment when the idea is born, this latent time, weightless,
where we take the time to find our imagination.

In the process of creating an image, the path is even more beautiful than the end result.

In our memories, there will remain this fleeting moment when this image touched our imagination, sum of the inspirations acquired through our visual experiences.

They then had offered a free cross look, without revealing the chosen staging beforehand.

Julien chose an indoor scene, Malo an outdoor one.

But both converged towards this same ambience, the night, its atmosphere, its lights, which they wanted to capture with the Fujifilm GFX 100 medium format camera.

Malo by Julien Apruzzese


This moment has been imagined pending for Malo.
Sitting at his desk, this idea creeping in intoxicates him to the point that the walls fade away, making way for a misty atmosphere that isolates him.
For a moment, Malo is his own imagination.
And he annotates everything he can.



I started first by carrying out a light study on the Set-a-Light software,
followed by various light tests upstream.
Here is the light plan.

• A first Profoto A1X main light in an industrial bowl, at small relative size for small penumbra size (hard light), short distance for short gradation and positioned above and slightly in front of the subject for a strong vertical projection of shadows.

• A second Profoto D2 light for transparency (1/16 ratio) with Deep L Umbrella and diffuser, at large relative size for large penumbra size (soft light), long distance for long gradation and in the lens axis for shadowless light.

• A third Profoto B1X projection light with an elongated Snoot and Lee Filter Half-CTB 202 gel, at small relative size for small penumbra size (hard light), long distance for long gradation and positioned to the left of the scene and very slightly above the subject to project the shadow of a window from a cardboard cut-out to the right of the subject.

• A fourth Profoto B1X light (1/8 ratio) with Beauty Dish White, diffuser and Lee Filter Primary Red 106 gel, at medium relative size for medium penumbra size (medium soft light), medium distance for medium gradation and positioned at low angle to obtain a red tinting of the subject's shadows.

• A fifth and sixth Profoto A1X background light with an elongated Snoot, at small relative size for small penumbra size (hard light), short distance for short gradation and positioned above the subject and close to the background to create two tight vertical beams.

Julien Apruzzese by Malo


An idea is something fleeting, which most often occurs at times when you least expect it.
An idea comes from the fullness of boredom.

That’s why I wanted to imagine Julien when he saw the birth of this idea and materialize it.
This cinematic atmosphere, sitting at the wheel of a stationary car, represents these endless moments, frozen in time as a freeze frame and suitable for wandering the mind when it is not parasitized by any distraction.



For these photos, everything is based on the atmosphere.
That is to say, even before lighting up my subject, I had to create the right lighting atmosphere that would set the mood for my scene.

Once the parameters of my camera were chosen - namely Iso100, 1/125s, f/8 and 63mm, which gave a completely black picture with no flashes on - i turned on the lights of my scene one by one with the chosen modeler to build my image as I wanted it.

• I started by placing two sources inside the studio facing the windows to turn on the workshop light and create an outgoing light towards my subject. These sources consisted of a D2 1000 with a Deep White Umbrella + diffuser and a D2 500 with a 3x4' softbox.

• For the exterior, I wanted my main light source to be a street light that I simulated with a source composed of a B1X with a Zoom Reflector and an orange gel above the car at windshield level.

• I placed two other sources to decontrast the scene. A D2 1000 with a Deep White umbrella + diffuser, placed behind a 2x2 diffuser in order to have a very soft light and slightly shape the top of the car doors. And a B1X 500 with a 2x3' softbox to deconstruct the back of the stage and the brick wall in the background.

• I placed a B1X with a red gel in the back of the car so that the light gently touches the doors of the car and can create a flare in my lens.

• Finally I played with two A1X:

An essential light to illuminate Julien's face inside the car. I made several tests by first placing him inside the car but I got a light that came too much from underneath. So I placed the A1X slightly diving from the front right of the windscreen.

Then I placed a second A1X on the ground at the level of the right front wheel and towards the hood of the car, in order to create a splinter under the bumper and to draw the front volume of the car.

Once I got the atmosphere I wanted with the 8 sources of my scene lit, I lowered my exposure time from 1/125s to 1/8s in order to make the neon lights go up inside the workshop.


Making-of film



Concept, Lighting, Photography (Image with Malo) : Julien Apruzzese Studio
Post-production (Image with Malo) : Stephan Lesger
Concept, Lighting, Photography (Image with Julien Apruzzese) : Malo
Post-production (Image with Julien Apruzzese) : La Souris (Sophie)
Assistants : Mathilde Petit, Louis Jay & Omar Aljiwari
Film : Chris Reist
Making-of Photography : Sarah Reuland & Omar Aljiwari
Photographic Equipments : Fujifilm
Light Equipments : Profoto
Full Resolution Image Solution : Prodibi
Light Simulation Software : Set-a-Light

Written by: Julien Apruzzese, Malo & Coraline Vialette

Products used in this story

Profoto D2

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OCF Softbox Rectangular

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Umbrella Deep White

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Softlight Reflector White

Our classic beauty dish
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