Steve Russell - Staff Photographer
It's my Toronto International Film Festival joke.
It all starts with the publicist saying the same thing, "You have about a minute"
My reply is always the same, "I only need a sixtieth of a second"
My filmfest was relatively tame, I covered portraits mostly.
And was almost spared the press conference room and the sardine can sized photo pits of the red carpet.
The portrait sessions almost all work the same way, the paper is allocated 10, 15 or 20 minutes for an interview with a actor or director. The photographer will get a minute or two to shoot the portrait. The reporter will get the bulk of the time for the interview. Most of the interviews happen in the same hotel, ergo, almost the same room.
The result or the challenge is to try to make the pictures as diverse as possible.
The strategies for pictures vary and depend on how much time I have between assignments. If you have to do a picture at the beginning of the allotted time it is usually window light. If it is at the end of the interview there is some time to set up a light. And sometimes we have the option to shoot during the interview.
Sarah Polley was my first Toronto International Film Festival portrait. She directed Take this Waltz, I shot her in the hallway of the Sutton Place Hotel. I wish that the reporter would have clued me in that she was pregnant, but, the next couple groups of media teams were waiting so there was no opportunity. The Star had the exclusive on the story.