Monday, November 2, 2015


Jane Seymour, Toronto, Feb. 9, 1988

I DEFINITELY SAW MY FIRST JAMES BOND MOVIE ON TV. Goldfinger came out the year I was born, and by the turn of the '70s Bond films were showing up on television as "special movie presentations," heralded by weeks of hype. James Bond on film has been around as long as I can remember, like a public utility, regular if occasionally unreliable.

It goes without saying that the Bond films on TV synced up rather nicely with my adolescence, so the "Bond girl" pins down some ideal concept of femininity to the cork board of my worldview. I do not think I am alone in this, nor does it worry me unduly.

Jane Seymour, Toronto, Feb. 9, 1988

Jane Seymour was the first Bond girl I ever photographed, near the beginning of my career, not even three years after I bought my first camera. It had been a rapid ride at that point, learning on the job mostly at Nerve and Graffiti magazine, then gaining enough skill and confidence to get to the point where a national fashion magazine assigned me to shoot Seymour as she passed through town promoting - what, exactly?

I honestly can't remember. Her book, Jane Seymour's Guide to Romantic Living had come out almost two years previous, but Winds of Remembrance was set to air on TV that year, so perhaps that was it. Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman was still five years in the future, so whatever she was in town to publicize, I'm sure I'm not the only one who was thinking "Bond girl."

Seymour played Solitaire, the creole fortune teller in Live and Let Die, the 1973 Bond film made just as the onset of the Roger Moore era was dialing up the camp big time. Her character's virtue was a major plot point, something that couldn't be said about probably any other character in Ian Fleming's books. It had been fifteen years since she'd played the role, and she was one of a handful of former Bond girls who continued to have a career after Bond uttered his final innuendo to them before the credits rolled.

Jane Seymour, Toronto, Feb. 9, 1988

I was just 23 when I did this shoot, and intent on trying to prove to Fashion (then Toronto Life Fashion) art director Brad McIvor that I was up to the job. The magazine was a very big deal back when Canada had a relatively healthy magazine market; a regular credit there was good for your portfolio, and a stepping stone to potential fashion work and (more crucially) lucrative advertising gigs.

I remember showing up at Seymour's hotel suite with my antique-looking Mamiya C330 and not the standard Hasselblad, and just one tiny flash with an umbrella bounce. I must have looked like a nervous kid, because that was what I was. I chose a spot by a big window draped with shears hoping that it would produce a high key effect; in the darkroom this was difficult to achieve, digitally it's a matter of just a few clicks and swipes with the mouse.

Of my first Bond girl I don't recall much. She was very pretty and very tiny, and I remember that her big eyes and '80s hair made her head look too big for her body. She was also the first person I ever heard refer to themselves in the third person, which stuck with me, as I had no idea real people did such things.


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