Wednesday, May 16, 2018

David Boreanaz

David Boreanaz, Sept. 10, 2005

THERE IS A LOT OF TALK THESE DAYS ABOUT EQUITY BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN. It's got me thinking about the difference between male and female portrait subjects in my own work. I'm not sure celebrities are a fair demographic to sample for a reading on gender politics, but I'm not sure we're all talking about the same thing when we use the word "equality" either, so I guess that makes comparing them as valid as anyone else.

I've observed before that most female movie stars have shown up for shoots with hair and makeup people, and that while they almost never get the same perks, I'm sure at least a few male celebrities I've photographed would have loved to face the camera with the aid of someone to do their hair and makeup. Which led me to wonder about those rare situations where my male subject is perceived as looking "pretty," in the same way that an actress is judged on her looks. Which is where David Boreanaz comes in, I suppose.

David Boreanaz, Sept. 10, 2005

For the record, I'm pretty sure Boreanaz didn't arrive for our shoot at the Intercontinental on Bloor with hair and makeup people. He had finished up his star-making role on Angel the year before I took these photos, and had just begun his dozen seasons playing Seeley Booth on Bones.He was at the film festival to promote These Girls, a Canadian-made comedy where he played a man blackmailed into sleeping with three young women. It was the sort of role someone who looked like Boreanaz could plausibly play - a hunky vampire who wins the affections of a plucky vampire killer; an aimless but good looking guy who lets himself become a sexual trophy for three girls.

Boreanaz has maintained his status as a (mostly) small screen male sex symbol for quite a good run; he began his role as Angel on Buffy over twenty years ago, and is currently starring in Seal Team on CBS. He's one of the few portrait subjects that my teenage daughter recognizes. And as with nearly any really good looking actress I might have photographed at a time when I was mostly concerned with getting a quick, flattering portrait to run in a busy newspaper page bordered with ads, I simply got out of the way and let him project physical charisma into the camera. It's really about that simple, and makes the "accomplishment" of capturing a decent portrait of an attractive celebrity feel less creative than technical.

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