Monday, November 20, 2017

Vince Vaughn

Vince Vaughn, Toronto, Sept. 1998

THE BEST - AND WORST - THING ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHING ACTORS is the likelihood that you will be confronting their persona before you get a glimpse of the real person. It's a gift if you don't have a lot of time for a shoot or if the client you're shooting for isn't expecting more than that public personality on their pages. But it's an obstacle when you're aiming for something a bit more interesting or revealing.

Some actors are willing to let you see that, either because they're young and still developing that persona, or older and bored with it. There's nothing wrong with actors and their personas - the profession in general and Hollywood in particular are built on performers who can deliver some unique variation on a character convincingly.

Nearly every major star has refined their persona carefully, and the golden age of Hollywood is a gallery of indelible characters who marketed their onscreen personas to a receptive audience: Bogart, Garbo, Stewart, Gable, Wayne, Hepburn. Cary Grant, an actor whose persona was vividly drawn, famously admitted that it existed in a realm utterly separate from Archie Leach, the mere mortal born in Bristol to an alcoholic father and a depressive mother: "Everyone wants to be Cary Grant - even I want to be Cary Grant."

Vince Vaughn, Toronto, Sept. 1998

Vince Vaughn was at the film festival promoting his role as Norman Bates in Gus Van Sant's (wholly unnecessary) remake of Psycho when I photographed him for NOW magazine. As a result, I was confronted with a combination of Bates and the slightly comic lounge lizard he had built his budding stardom on in the movie Swingers a few years previous.

I can tell immediately that I shot this on the balcony of one of the suites in the old Four Seasons in Yorkville - the same place where I'd done the Ally Sheedy shoot earlier that year. I knew within a couple of shots that Vaughn was delivering the "looks" he had on call, and moved him around every few frames to try and shake them loose - to little avail.

Vince Vaughn, Toronto, Sept. 1998

The closest I got to something a bit different is the middle shot, where I fit his very tall frame into the square viewfinder of my Rollei. Apart from that, I got some Norman Bates (top photo) and a bit of the ladies' man (bottom photo.) I'd barely gotten through half of my second roll before Vaughn got up from the chair and began leaving the room, with a sort of half apology that felt like I was in one of his films: "Thanks, bro. That was great. Yo, bro, I gotta get going. Thanks a lot, bro."

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