How I Got the Photo – Fred Lum

2016 NPOY PORTRAIT/ PERSONALITY, Finalist – Filmmaker Deepa Mehta is photographed in Toronto, September 7, 2016. Mehta’s film, “Anatomy of Violence”, looks at the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman in 2012, aboard a bus in India. (Fred Lum / The Globe and Mail)

“You can’t take photographs here,” said condo security when they saw me looking around with my cameras.

“But I’m meeting a resident. . . ”

“Doesn’t matter.”

I arrived early so I had time to look around outside. Best option was a laneway – some texture here and there – and a wall with great sun and shadows. But time was tight and the gorgeous shadow play disappeared.

I was here to photograph filmmaker Deepa Mehta for a pre-Toronto Film Festival profile.

We headed down the lane and while I had ideas, Deepa also made suggestions. So we’re going down this lane and trying some of her ideas and some of mine, something I do if if the assignment and subject are worth the collaboration.

After working our way up and down the lane, we headed back to the condo. The wind picked up and started throwing her long hair around in front of her face. She cleared it out of habit. I asked if she wouldn’t mind letting the wind do what it does and she let her hair flow in the gusts.

Being a creative, she understood what I was hoping would happen and I believe she put her trust in me because I didn’t impose my ideas on the portraits. It was a give and take that ended up giving me a portrait that jumped out during the edit. It was the hair and the eyes.

Always the eyes.


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