Behind The Scenes

A look behind the scenes at photoshoots and film/tv productions. 

Portrait of Maureen O'Hara

In May 2012 I had the great honour of being commissioned to create a portrait of Hollywood icon Maureen O'Hara. She is the star of countless classic films (such as The Quiet Man, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Miracle on 34th Street) and is often credited with presenting Irish women on a global scale for the first time. I had my work cut out for me to direct an actress that was a long-time collaborator with John Ford! As it turned out, I didn't have to worry too much about directing. 

This was a typical celebrity portrait setup where I was given a nondescript meeting room and told I had 2 minutes with my subject. Myself and my assistant Peter spent two hours in advance setting up the lighting, doing test shots and finessing the tethered workflow. This meant that everything was standing by ready to go. I had to create a lighting setup around the restrictions that I had, which meant going for quite a safe option compared to what I normally do. This portrait was commissioned as part of her return trip to Kells, Co. Meath, where her family are originally from. 

Maureen may be advancing in years, but when she entered the room she owned it. She is sharp, witty and and the same time wonderfully warm. I could immediately see the feisty Mary Kate Danaher. There wasn't much in the way of directing that I could do- she has more experience at this than anyone I could possibly have in front of my camera. In less than 2 minutes we were finished. 

In November 2014 Maureen O'Hara will be presented with an Honorary Oscar. This is a fitting award for an actress that not only represented the Irish image of the 1950's and beyond, but also stole the show with strong female roles that changed the course of cinematic history. 

Finished portrait in my portfolio HERE