Yorgos Lanthimos’ eerie photographs from the Poor Things set are now compiled in a book

The elaborate selection of images offer a portal into the Poor Things universe and mark further collaboration between Lanthimos and Emma Stone, who developed the images together by hand.

3 June 2024

Behind-the-scenes shots from films have a strange charm about them – the absurdity of seeing actors dressed in costume and on set but out of character, conversing with the director, or staring intently at a camera screen, rewatching their performance. It’s a reminder of the fabrication of cinema, an image that can single handedly break the bubble of suspended disbelief that’s often so vital to losing yourself in a film. Though rarely are they so artful as Yorgos Lanthimos’ from the Poor Things set. The images have an anachronistic, slightly eerie feeling about them, as if plucked from a bygone era. And not only do they provide a precious insight into the inner workings of the film, but some – completely devoid of behind-the-scenes elements – act as a further portal into the film, offering deeper exploration of Yorgos’ magnificent world building.

The book, Dear God, the Parthenon is still broken, is published by Void, a photobook publisher based in Athens. Founded by João Linneu and Myrto Steirou, the pair were first invited by Yorgos to his studio to take a look at the Poor Things series. “We were amazed,” Myrto says. “The set was stunning, and the portraits were captivating.” João continues: “We knew we wanted to do it, right then and there. Everything was there: good photography and an artist we felt compelled to work with. These two factors don’t always align.”


Yorgos Lanthimos / Void: Dear God, the Parthenon is still broken (Copyright © Yorgos Lanthimos, 2024)

Though the images were taken by Yorgos, he collaborated with Poor Thing’s lead actress Emma Stone to bring them to life. During filming Yorgos would set up a large and medium format camera, taking shots during, and in moments of rest in between filming. Then, he and Emma would develop the negatives together in a makeshift darkroom. “We saw some mobile snapshots of this process,” says Myrto. “It was a mix of unwinding after a long day’s work with creative practice and fun on top.”

João and Myrto gravitated toward the images that didn’t include any behind-the-scenes elements, and they provide the “backbone” of the book, a portal into the Poor Things realm, says Myrto. The behind-the-scenes shots provide a “subplot”, often featured on foldout pages and offering commentary on the project. Despite being the subplot, some of the behind-the-scenes shots are the pair’s favourites; an image of Mark Ruffalo lounging in a chair (in a manner that’s hard to tell if he’s in or out of character) and one of Emma in a wedding dress, a coffee keep-cup in hand. “There’s a sense of this combination that makes it incredibly captivating,” says Myrto. Here, the form of the book really comes into its own. “We particularly love how this image is presented in the book: in the middle of a fold-out, requiring readers to unveil the pages to see more than just Emma’s gaze.”

The cover of the book matches the tone of the images perfectly, a dusky cloth binding, with an abstract face emblazoned across. This image and the title are based on the concept of God, referencing how Bella (Emma Stone) refers to Godwin Baxter (Willem Dafoe) as God throughout the film. As a visual springboard, Void looked to historic masks of the god Jupiter, for his resemblance to Dafoe. “We gave Jupiter some of Godwin Baxter’s scars and voilá, we had a cover,” says João. The book also has an exposed binding to allow it to lie flat, as well as a five-colour printing process instead of the usual four, to allow the black-and-white photographs to have depth. With such care and attention to detail, “we’re confident that the book does justice to all the effort and fun that Yorgos and the Poor Things family put into it,” ends Myrto.

GalleryYorgos Lanthimos / Void: Dear God, the Parthenon is still broken (Copyright © Yorgos Lanthimos, 2024)

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Yorgos Lanthimos / Void: Dear God, the Parthenon is still broken (Copyright © Yorgos Lanthimos, 2024)

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About the Author

Olivia Hingley

Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English Literature and History, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.

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