Richard Lautens, Staff Photographer
I love Christmas. I love the lights, the sights and the sounds. Most importantly, I like the feeling around town.
In among the murders, political intrigue and portraits of important people, we shoot some assignments of pure whimsy at this time of year.
A few years ago I shot a Christmas feature that was full of fun but took an awful lot of effort to produce.
A brainstorming session came up with an interesting idea for the Christmas Eve front page (the only day of the year we don’t publish is Christmas Day). The idea was to bring together a dozen or so well-known Torontonians, dress them up like Santa and invite the readers to guess who is who.
The first hurdle was to put together the list of luminaries. We came up with a selection of actors, musicians, news anchors and sports figures.
Next came trying to co-ordinate schedules-a mammoth task and in the end we could only arrange for 9 of the subjects to come together at one time.
Santa suits were rented and stuffing was bought. Catering was also arranged at our studio in our newsroom for the several hour shoot.
The day before the shoot the shoot I set up the canvas backdrops, arranged the five or six lights and had a group of kind reporters come in as stand-ins to work on the posing. After we had the posing and lighting down, a committee got together to decide the seating arrangement for the final photo.
The day of the shoot, many senior editors and managers came nosing around the shoot to make sure it went off well (as well as with a desire to rub elbows with some interesting folks). As the subjects arrived, each had hair and make-up done and then were dressed and stuffed by our team of 3 stylists.
Each was arranged in position and finally the picture was made.
All in all it was great fun and I think I
am still occasionally finding some stuffing in the corners of the studio.
Any thoughts on who is who?
Anchorman Lloyd Robertson wanders through the crowd
I give a few posing tips to Mike ‘Pinball’ Clemons
The shooting is underway
The final reveal shows (front row) Francis Lankin (pres. Of United Way), Lloyd Robertson (news Anchor), Patty Sullivan (actor), Pinball Clemons (Argos), Sonia Rodriguez (prima Ballerina with National Ballet Co.)
(back row) Austin Clarke (novelist), Tu Ly (fashion designer), Sonja Smits (actor) and Dave Baksh (singer with Sum 41)
Have a great holiday and if you need any
help with some of your holiday picture taking, check out this shameless
Richard Lautens/Toronto Star