A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Sarah Strange Starlet - Not
Saturday, November 24, 2007

In 1999 the National Post was actively trying to compete and even bury the Globe & Mail. This meant they spent money trying to get original photographs in their paper and specifically in their Saturday paper. I was dispatched by National Post art director Antonio De Luca to photograph Sarah Strange who at the time had a not so big part in Da Vinci's Inquest. When she entered my studio and looked at me directly I was stupified.

And I can see why so many see her as a starlet or a TV actor. She has a presence that trancends all that but it is a quality that our Flickr, You Tube and review-movies-ad-nauseum society can never understand or appreciate.

The newspapers, even when they may have a week's lead time will dispatch their stringer or city photographer who in a few seconds will take the shots and leave for the next job. Other papers with more interest in profits, than quality, will simply demand that the star, starlet, dancer, actor, director provide their own picture. The result is that you see the same photograph everywhere. In some cases the overworked "art" directors try to crop them to make them look different.

As the use of good lighting is in decline more and more photographs have that Flickr look. And since everybody is shooting like that, a trend is seen, and untrained/computer course art directors or photo editors send photographers and command them to get that look.

The paradox is that as our ability to understand and appreciate quality imagery (consider the prices that vintage photographs fetch these days) rises, the overall quality of our everyday imagery is in decline.


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