Photographing Robin Williams and George Miller

I had a very brief opportunity last week to photograph Robin Williams and director George Miller, who were in town promoting Happy Feet 2 and gave an interview to Time Out.

It was one of those 1 minute shoots in a hotel bar type deals, with Robin and George on a production line from AAP to me, then on to the Daily Telegraph. But i’ve got to be happy with a brief window of face time, as often there’s just a mass media call where they plonk the talent in front of a Sydney landmark while dozens of photographers yell out to get their attention and eye contact down the lens. Or worse, the red carpet.

In terms of lighting this, i used my little photoflex octobox that mounts over my Canon Speedlite. It’s a nifty bit of kit because it’s so portable and light, doesn’t need mains power, and is super quick to assemble.

I’m a little disappointed in my shots with Robin.  He’s such a livewire personality onscreen and i was anticipating catching an element of that in a picture. But he was really not in that headspace. He was extremely calm and measured and not giving much on camera. But perhaps a more introspective picture of him isn’t a bad thing?

Admittedly i was rather intimidated, its Robin Fucking Williams in front of my camera, so i was less pushy and creative than i might otherwise have been.  Before i knew it the publicist was saying “last picture” and that was that.

I felt like i got just that little bit more from George Miller. He was very warm and happy to goof around with his glasses for me.  It’s little moments bits of collaboration in a picture, where the subject brings something to the table that make me walk away from a photo feeling more satisfied.


  1. I quite like the honesty of the Robin Williams shots. Probably because we see him jumping around like a jack rabbit all the time. The George Miller shots with his glasses away from his face suit the animated film style really well.

  2. that 2nd last one of Robin is killer! agreed they are calmer than everywhere else i see him pictured – but his eyes are looking right through me on that 2nd last one. does it have some vignetting applied in post or is that all straight off the camera?

    • Cheers Pete. There’s a very subtle vignette, but most of that look is caused by the light dropping off toward the edges of frame.

  3. I agree – calm, thoughtful, introspective Robin Williams is interesting – it’s not what we see every time – well done…

    I really like both sets.

  4. The man has been described as downright morose when he’s not working. Probably the flip side of being so manic when he is ‘on’.
    Your shots bring a different perspective of him to light, I wouldn’t be disappointed at all.
    George looks great too, good move with the glasses as a prop.

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