Picture power: A sea of flashes

Helen Mirren arrives at the Weinstein Netflix after party Image copyright Patrick T Fallon/reuters

When film stars hit the red carpet you can be sure their every step will be captured on camera and the recent Golden Globe Awards in Hollywood were no exception. Reuters photographer Patrick Fallon was on hand to capture this picture of British actress Helen Mirren and here he talks about the story behind it.

I like this picture not only because it captures the essence of the scene on the carpet, the sea of flashes, but also because it was a little long-shot victory for me. Helen Mirren didn't walk the entire red carpet and only stopped at about the first photo position. I still had to take a picture though and this worked out nicely as I am always looking to create something different from the pack.

I enjoy covering arrivals and parties at these events because I'm always intrigued by the living organism that is Hollywood. All the publicists and staff running around, celebrities promoting their acts, and of course the competition over taking "the picture".

Image copyright Reuters

An 8pm carpet start requires leaving home at about 4pm then going through traffic, parking your car, getting on a shuttle to be taken to where the event will be held, queuing for security and checking in, only to wait some more until the talent arrives.

There is also the uncertainty of who will actually show up. Like Helen, some celebrities skipped the carpet completely or paused briefly on the first position even though they had won Golden Globe awards.

Besides having my cameras charged and equipment ready I try to keep my creative edge sharp. That is the only way to come away with the best shots while competing with many other photographers.

If something intrigues me I try to work it and see what the result is. Sometimes it doesn't work out - but other times taking a risk and shooting differently from everyone else, pays off nicely.

The pressure is always strong. Other photographers and agencies will file thousands and thousands of pictures from the same event but I will only file a small selection, a curated set that tries to capture Hollywood in a more photojournalistic style than just direct-flash-eyes-to-camera posed shots.

In terms of backup we have a team of editors working in Singapore as well as photo editors working off site in coordination with the photographers on the ground. Each event is different. Sometimes photographers will edit and file their own pictures, other times a tech or editor will move pictures using Reuters' unique software so that the photographer can stay focused on the assignment, allowing the pictures to be moved faster onto the wire.

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