Steve Russell - Staff Photographer
"You don't need me in the picture do you?"
"Can you get rid of my second chin?"
"Try to get my good side"
"Try not to make me look too goofy"
"Can you make me look smaller"
These are a few of the requests I get all the time on assignment. Some of them from people in the public eye all the time.
Like civilians, politicians have the same concerns when a lens is pointed at them.
Unfortunate for them, being in front of cameras is part of the job.
Some politicians are naturals, Jack Layton was one of those that shone in front of the camera.
However, not every politician is that comfortable in front of the camera.
Each politician has his own nuance, Stephen Harper gives the worst thumbs up ever and Michael Ignatieff had some pretty goofy facial expressions before he toned it down.
This brings us to Mayor Rob Ford, it seems that every time we do a story on him or something at City Hall some of the comments readers have made are why do we have to run an unflattering picture of the Mayor.
It's tough, cameras are rumoured to add ten pounds to the subject. Being a guy with a high BMI, I can relate. I'm on the operational end of the camera for a reason! I think my love of taking pictures spawned from how much I dislike being in pictures.
Mayor Ford also doesn't talk to the Toronto Star, which is fine, but it does also mean that us photographers never really have opportunity to photograph him in settings where we can work around the issue and take a more flattering picture.
I never got the impression that Mayor Ford really cared too much about his weight, but, his recent "Cut the Waist" campaign shows he does. I wish him luck in the endevour. Hopefully he can shed some of the weight while in office like David Miller did.
Some tips on photographing people that are a little heavier than average?
•Try to photograph from a higher angle. Usually you just have to be slightly higher that eye height.
•If you have to shoot from a low angle, at least have the light source coming in from a higher angle. Shadows from the light will hide or minimize any double chin. Try to keep your flash off camera.
•Try to not shoot the subject sitting down and if they have to be sitting down make sure that they sit up straight.
•Selective framing, you do not have to include their entire body.
•Try a shallow depth of field, a selective focus point on the eyes and a sharp drop off in sharpness will bring the reader to the feature that is sharpest.
Here is a quick look through the Toronto Star photo archive and some of our more flattering Rob Ford pictures.
After more than 36 years at The Star as a reporter/photographer, Jim Wilkes is taking early retirement at age 60. He leaves today.
In that time, he's won more than 75 awards for writing and photography and has helped mentor many of the profession's young stars.
He has covered stories around the world and around the corner, bringing a personal perspective to events of the day.
The following is a selection of some of his photos from over the years.
They are the same, but different, outside of the obvious difference, of course.
He is Canon, she is Nikon but they are both photographers.
Jim Wilkes and Michelle Shephard's path to photography was much different. Jim was a photographer first who early on discovered he could write. Michelle Shephard, a writer, whose beat and the expense of covering it meant she had to pick up the camera, discovered she had an eye.
Their beats mean they both cover a lot of ground. He puts a lot of miles on a Ford Fusion and she collects a lot of air miles.
They are both based out of Toronto, but their work is rarely in Toronto or about Toronto. It is mostly about what interests the people of Toronto.
Jim covers the Greater Toronto Area, basically everything but Toronto, Beat and Michelle covers the Terror beat.
Here are their favourites from 2011, notice that the Toronto place line is nowhere to be found.
JIM WILKES - @newsboy
MISSISSAUGA - Alexander Palubjak, 5, gets relief from 30 Celcius plus temperatures at a splash pad at Mississauga's Lake Aquitaine Park. Kids and their parents beat the heat at pools and splash pads across the city. July 12, 2011.
Tannis Toohey - Staff Photographer
Toronto Argonaut Joe Eppele planned to climb the CN Tower in a Sasquatch suit (because he is from Squamish, BC) to raise money for the World Wildlife Fund. Regulations state he can't climb in the suit, but can wear it around before and after his climb. April 12, 2011
Ariel Stagni 'ollies over the hip' in the newly opened Eighth Street Community skatepark in Etobicoke. Seen at lower right is J.J. Harrison, wearing a white t-shirt and white and red shorts. July 16, 2011
Ayisha Spence, (middle leaning over crime scene tape) doubles over in tears, and Lesley Parker, (right), react with cries and screams of disbelief as they watch the removal of the body of Clifenton Ford, 38, victim of an early morning shooting at G's Chill & Grill on Eglinton Ave. East near Midland. Both women have children fathered by Clifenton Ford, 38, Spence has 2 and Parker has 4. Ford was shot and killed this morning at 2:20am. March 28, 2011
Darren Smith removes Ivan, a North American bald eagle, from his truck to return to his perch after free flying at the north end of the airport. Smith is one of a whole team of Wildlife Control experts are utilized by Pearson Airport to use falcons, hawks, a one bald eagle and a dog to keep birds out of the engines of airplanes at Pearson. March 25, 2011
Tally, a female Harris Hawk flies out fast from the passenger side window in what they call "car hawking" - where the trainer drives the perimeter of the airfield looking for unwelcome wildlife and rolls the window down when they or Tally see something she can scare off. Darren Smith is one of a whole team of Wildlife Control experts utilized by Pearson Airport to use falcons, hawks, a one bald eagle and a dog to keep birds out of the engines of airplanes at Pearson. March 25, 2011
Portrait of Cathy Anagnostopoulos, middle, in her hospital room at Princess Margaret Hospital, with her husband Nick and their three children, Angela, 11 and Gregory, 10, and Alexander, 15 . In mid-February Cathy was a part-time pharmacist, raising her three children and kickboxing. She'd been having headaches. In the span of one week, she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia. She will need a stem cell transplant, but doesn't have a match in her family. The family is making a public appeal for people to join the registry -- which only takes a mouth swab and what is essentially a donation of blood. April 7, 2011
Jim Rankin - Reporter/Photographer @jleerankin
Carlos Osorio - Staff Photographer @carlososorio
Bernard Weil, Chief Photographer/Multimedia
Viewed from beneath the wing over the West Arrm of Lake Nipissing, Harley Lang, 77, a 30 year retired veteran of the Royal Canadian Air Force, flies his 1961 deHavilland DHC-2 Beaver, one of 1692 that were built.
Richard Lautens - Staff Photohrapher
Rachel Heap-Lalonde looks on as Alice Heap sleeps and Dan Heap gets ready to get into bed. The sad housing situation of former Spadina MP Dan Heap and his wife, Alice who have no secure residence and are sick. They rely on family to camp out in their room at night to help them. October 12, 2011.
David Cooper - Chief Photographer @whatzname07