Friday, August 17, 2018

Leelee Sobieski

Leelee Sobieski, Toronto, Sept. 12, 2007

IT'S ALL ABOUT LIGHT. And yes, about your subject and your bedside manner and your skill and perhaps a little bit of luck, but if you can't find - or create - the light, you'd might as well shoot everything in a bus station photo booth. (Do they even have photo booths in bus stations any more?) Which might actually work, in some situations, but real photographers spend their lives chasing the light.

Like a moth.

I actually felt a bit like a moth when I found this light in a hotel suite at the Intercontinental at the end of a long week of film fest shooting. It had taken me three years to find the elusive quality of light in that hotel after the luxury of shooting at the Four Seasons around the corner, so when this undistinguished suite of rooms managed to catch the late afternoon light and wrap it around my subjects, something in me went a bit weak and buzzy.

Leelee Sobieski, Toronto, Sept. 12, 2007

It helped, of course, to have a lovely subject. I know a lot of people who've never been sure if Leelee Sobieski was a really good actress or simply utterly beguiling to look upon. (And to be honest, major movie stars have built whole careers on little more than this.) Frankly, this sort of beauty can be something of a curse, since it will obscure talent, like anything backlit by the sun turns into a hazy shadow.

I love these photos. I'll probably put them in my new portfolio as a way of selling myself as a glamour shooter. (Good luck with that.) But I can only take so much credit for them. Off the top of my head, I'd say 55% Sobieski, 35% light and 10% me. Maybe 40% light. Even at the time I remember thinking that I was just the guy lucky enough to be holding the camera in that room, at that time, and I haven't changed my mind.

Leelee Sobieski, Toronto, Sept. 12, 2007


  1. Beautiful shots Rick!! Did you retouch at all, or is it natural, like the light?

    1. Very, very little retouching, Greg. Just a few small things smoothed out.