Monday, May 14, 2018

Tracy Morgan

Tracy Morgan, Toronto, May 2005

THERE'S NOT A LOT YOU CAN DO WITH A PORTRAIT SUBJECT WHO MUGS FOR THE CAMERA except roll with it and hope they run out of steam. Which almost never happens, especially if your shoot is only supposed to last a couple of minutes. So when Tracy Morgan immediately started making faces as soon as I raised my camera to my eye, my only option was to keep moving him around until he'd run out of faces.

As far as I can tell, Morgan was in town promoting his supporting role in the remake of The Longest Yard starring Adam Sandler, but I could be wrong. He'd finished his career-making stint on Saturday Night Live a couple of years before, and it would be a year before 30 Rock hit the air, with Morgan playing a variation on himself. Which means I photographed Tracy Morgan when he was on his way to being a big star, which is usually when I got most of my celebrity portraits.

Tracy Morgan, Toronto, May 2005

I did my shoot with Morgan on one of the balconies of the old Four Seasons in Yorkville - the same sorts of spots where I'd taken portraits of Vince Vaughn and Ally Sheedy for NOW seven years earlier. The more I do through my old work, the more I miss the Four Seasons, which was easily the most photogenic Toronto hotel I worked in for nearly twenty years.

I had to work fast with Morgan, partly because the shoot felt like an echo of the Vaughn shoot, and I expected him to get up and walk away at any time. The shot below is one of the last I shot, and it's my favorite, because it's the closest moment to getting Morgan to stop mugging. He's sitting in the corner of the balcony - one of the few places in a Four Seasons suite that I'd never shot before. It's a great spot for a portrait, and it makes me nostalgic for a Toronto that only just disappeared a decade ago.

Tracy Morgan, Toronto, May 2005

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