Monday, August 13, 2018

Hayley Atwell

Hayley Atwell, Toronto, Sept. 11, 2007

TOWARDS THE END OF EVERY FILM FESTIVAL you find yourself in ever more unfriendly spaces to take photos. The spacious hotel suites with convenient windows give way to the patios of busy restaurants of the corners of windowless boardrooms. I'm not sure just where in the Intercontinental on Bloor I shot these photos of Hayley Atwell, but it was definitely a room without a view.

The original colour jpegs from this shoot were a mess - a mix of two different light sources with clashing colour temperatures that must have made providing a serviceable image or two to the free daily a nightmare. Thankfully I can revisit this shoot in black and white today, which lets me paper over the colour issues by pretending I was shooting for a newspaper at least a decade previous to the actual date these photos were taken, when spot colour was expensive and even the front pages of a paper might have featured a black and white shot.

Hayley Atwell, Toronto, Sept. 11, 2007

I have posted portraits of Atwell here before - a session I did at the film festival a year after these were taken, when she was in town promoting a film of Brideshead Revisited with Matthew Goode. In 2007 she was still fairly unknown - a young British actress whose credits had mostly been on television, but who had made a splash with a role in Woody Allen's latest film earlier that year. Now, of course, she has had become part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and play's the wife of the grown-up title character in Disney's Christopher Robin this summer.

The room where I took these must have been particularly unpromising - besides the lighting issues, there wasn't a wall or corner worth considering as a backdrop, so I went very, very close for these portraits. Atwell - just twenty-five at the time - was obviously able to handle the scrutiny, and met my camera with confidence admirable in someone whose career was really only just beginning.

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