Turns Out Amelie's Audrey Tautou Is Actually Very Good At Taking Photos

The actress is both subject and artist in her upcoming exhibition in France

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Audrey Tautou - French actress, face of Chanel No. 5 and ultimate Manic Pixie Dream Girl - is certainly used to being in front of the camera.

But it's arguably behind the lens where her true passion lies. The 40-year-old received a camera as a gift for her first communion and, as a child, was inspired by the primatologist Dian Fossey.

'The camera was, for me, more an expression of my desire for adventures," she told the New York Times in a recent interview. "It was not a photographer who made me want to become a photographer."

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At the height of her Amelie fame, Tautou used photography as a way of bringing her back down to normality.

'I needed to do it,' she said. 'Maybe because of what happened to me with this huge celebrity suddenly – it was a way for me to take a bit of distance from the storm.'

But it's been a lifelong hobby. Little known to her fans, as Tautou's on-screen career took off, she simultaneously evolved as a talented photographer on the sidelines. This relatively unseen side of her identity has gone under the radar - until now.

In July, the annual Rencontres d'Arles photography festival in France will be displaying the actress' photographic work for the first time.

The exhibition will include a range of self portraits, as well as annotated images of journalists who have interviewed her over the years and were, indirectly, responsible for creating her public image. The show plays with ideas of both the subject and artist, the nature of public image and constructed identity.

'For me it was a necessity to deliver myself from this work,' she explains in the interview. 'I've been keeping it to myself for so much time, even those around me don't know this work.'

Audrey Tautou, Superfacial launches July 3 – September 24 at the Abbaye De Montmajour, Rencontres d'Arles, France.

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