Author Topic: Boris Spremo  (Read 244 times)

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Offline Warren Toda

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Boris Spremo
« on: August 22, 2017, 05:14 PM »
Boris Spremo, one of the country's best known photojournalists has died. He was one of the very few photographers given the Order of Canada and also inducted into the Canadian News Hall of Fame.



I can't count the number of times when we, Boris and other photographers, were in a photo spot waiting for the prime minister of the day (Mulroney, Chretien) and even former PMs (Turner, Clark). When they arrived and spotted Boris, the politician always came over with an out-stretched hand and a "Hi Boris! How are you?"

The Toronto Star article mentions that Boris wouldn't hesitate to yell, "Hey Queen!" to get Queen Elizabeth's attention. He would also yell, "Hey prime minister, over here!" to get the PM's attention.



The Star article also reports: β€œHe was very famous for climbing up on skyscrapers and doing crazy stunts to get the best angle,” said Ken Faught, a former Star photographer and photo editor.

Throughout the 1970s-1990s, whenever some crazy, high-angle construction shot was published, the photo credit was almost always "Boris Spremo."


At his retirement party in 2000, Boris said one of the reasons he got into news photography was because he noticed that photographers had the best seats – right on the field – at soccer games.  Several years later, when he was sitting on the field covering a World Cup, Boris said he looked up and realized that he had made it. He finally had the best seat.

« Last Edit: August 22, 2017, 06:02 PM by Warren Toda »

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Offline Ken Gigliotti

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Re: Boris Spremo
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2017, 09:13 PM »
I started out in news photography as the era of the wild man news photographer was coming to a close. I never met him but his reputation and a free spirit was widely known along with his contemporaries Doug Ball and Peter Bregg . I think it would be really hard for photographers today to understand that the job could be pure fun in two wheels off the ground kind of way. He was Canada's best known photographer while he was working. A great free spirit, and an inspiration to many young shooters of the day. God bless him, be for he blesses him first.



Offline Steve Russell

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Re: Boris Spremo
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2017, 03:49 PM »
I built a little photo blog with some of Boris' photos and some of the many tributes that came in for him.

PHOTOS & TRIBUTES: BORIS SPREMO

If anyone has any memories or thoughts, please add them to this thread and I'll pass the link onto his family!

Offline Warren Toda

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Re: Boris Spremo
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2017, 09:02 PM »
On sunny weekday morning in the mid-1990s, I was sent to a house fire in downtown Toronto. When I got to the address, there was no fire, no firetrucks, nothing. A few minutes later, Boris Spremo arrived. After he, too, realized it was a false call, we started to chat on the sidewalk.

A police car quickly pulled up and the officer ran to the address to get a better look. The cop realized it was a false call and radioed back to his dispatcher. He then came over to Boris and I.

Now Boris and I were each wearing the obligatory photo vest, we each had two or three cameras dangling from our shoulders and we each had a two-way radio squawking away in our vest pockets.

"Are you two news photographers?" asked the police officer.

You have to know that Boris had a thick Yugoslavian accent.

Boris replied, "No, we turist. Which way to CN Towa?"

The surprised officer answered, "Well, welcome to our city!" and he proceeded to give us detailed instructions on how to get to the CN Tower.

Boris then put his arm around my shoulders and said, "Okay son, we go now CN Towa. Do picture."

The police officer wished us a nice day and we left.

(Much funnier if you knew Boris' voice and accent).




Boris worked at the Globe+Mail and Toronto Star from the 1960s to 2000. Add to this his book, "Boris Spremo - Twenty Years of Photojournalism" which, on the cover, had that crazy CN Tower construction photo that I still can't imagine shooting. He also did the photography for a few other books.

This means he probably inspired/influenced/helped a few decades-worth of Canadian news photographers, especially in the Toronto area. That equates to an entire generation of news photographers (1970s,1980s,1990s).




We were in the photo pen at some official function, waiting for then prime minster Brian Mulroney to arrive. When Mulroney walked by, he saw Boris and veered towards us.

"Hey Boris how are you?" asked Mulroney.

"Okay, prime minister," said Boris while shaking Mulroney's hand. "Now stand over there. I need picture."

Mulroney laughed and yelled, "Boris needs a picture!" He then went and stood in the middle of the arrival area while Boris snapped a couple of frames.

"Okay," Boris said, "Get wife."

Mulroney then called over his wife, Mila, and the two happily posed for Boris.


Maybe it was his voice or maybe it was his reputation but few people refused Boris' requests.


During a Toronto Film Festival, I believe Boris was sent to do a portrait of an actress in a hotel room. Her PR people said Boris could have only two minutes with her. Boris refused, saying he couldn't do his best work in two minutes. He turned and walked away.

The PR person and actress chased him down the hotel hallway, brought him back to the room and gave him as much time as he needed to do the pictures.

« Last Edit: August 24, 2017, 09:26 PM by Warren Toda »

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Offline Steve Russell

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Re: Boris Spremo
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2017, 08:34 AM »
Boris Spremo funeral and visitation
 
Visitation:   Monday, August 28
Mount Pleasant Funeral Centre,  375 Mount Pleasant Road
3-5pm & 7-9pm
 
Funeral:      Tuesday, August 29
Mount Pleasant Funeral Centre,  375 Mount Pleasant Road
2-5pm
 
Donations:  If anyone wishes, donations can be made to the newly established
Boris Spremo Photojournalism Award at Ryerson