Trump Tower apartment, Toronto, Canadian Interiors
Canadian Interiors magazine assigned us to write about and photograph the first apartment to be completed in Toronto's Trump International Hotel and Tower, now the St. Regis Hotel. What follows is an excerpt from the published text:
Shooting after 3p.m. on an early January day, I figured, would be crucial. No camera has the dynamic range of the human eye. If I shot during the bright mid-day, I would have to make a choice. I could show the dramatic views from each room—and those views are a big part of what makes this apartment special—but the interiors would appear in shadow. Or I could show the interiors, but the views out the windows would morph into an ugly white haze; in photography parlance, the highlights would be blown out. By shooting late in the day, the balance problem between bright interior and (relatively) dark interior would solve itself. (There’s a workaround solution, to shoot in “high dynamic range” by merging multiple exposures, but such images tend to lack sparkle.)
Another reason to shoot late in the afternoon was the hope of enhancing my shots by capturing the beauty of the sky at the moment when time is poised on a knife edge between day and night. The evanescent nature of twilight, I believe, stirs an emotional response. Twilight is a metaphor for the transience of life.
Then, too, as a purely practical matter, I knew that a twilight-blue sky would improve my shots by desaturating and dimming the bank towers at King and Bay that loom up close and personal on the exterior. I didn’t want the dramatic background to take attention away from the interior décor. Those colour-coded towers had the potential to present quite a distraction, what with Scotia Plaza’s warm red Napoleon granite, Commerce Court’s silvery stainless steel, the cream (precast?) panels of Brookfield Place (formerly BCE Place); T-D Centre’s bronze and Royal Bank’s gold. (The apartment faces away from First Canadian Place.)
Those interiors, intended to evoke an art gallery, are not very colorful apart from hits here and there such as the Day-Glo dining-room chairs. So I deployed some hard-working red-and-purple flowers, which you may notice recurring in several shots, as part of the fluffing.
The very idea of a twilight shoot was ambitious. Is execution depended on timing, speed and luck. There would only be a short window of opportunity to give every shot a matching degree of background blueness. The difficulty was compounded by the need to set up and schlep reflectors and lights in every room. The assistance of Alan Martin of Refraction Arts ensured the shoot’s success.
As for the Trump’s location at 325 Bay St., if you were a hick from the sticks and didn’t know how prestigious this address is, the parking fee alone for the afternoon shoot would tell you: $40. The alternative was valet parking at The Bay, where if you spend $300, they throw in “free” parking.