Galen Weston Jr.’s Bieber haircut, a commando mission to shoot Conrad Black, and the never-ending battle for fashion supremacy— George Pimentel has seen, done and documented it all. Tonight, the celebrity photographer shares 300 of his favourite Toronto society snaps at a VIP-filled bash at the Carlu. In case you didn’t get an invite, here’s a sneak peek at some of Pimentel’s most memorable shots.
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This is a classic Toronto society shot. The party is at Bruce Kuwabara’s home, and he’s giving a tour. It’s a great candid moment. I’ve been lucky enough to be invited into a lot of my clients’ homes over the years. It’s a lot of fun to shoot the more intimate get-togethers.
I shot this at the Material Ball at the ROM. It’s like an old rat pack shot, which is why I love it. That Joe Mimran smile just lights up a room. The silver hair with the dark skin photographs really well, and he’s just such a cool, approachable guy. He’s always interested in hearing what other people are into.
I don’t think you could find a more elegant couple. This was taken at the Vanity Fair Oscar party in L.A. Just as they were walking by, my cell rang, and it was a Holts PR person telling me to be sure to get a shot of the Westons. So I managed to get their attention, and then once I started snapping, all the American photographers did, too. They didn’t know who they were shooting; it’s just sort of a chain reaction.
Suzanne Rogers is the real deal. She is one of the most connected, powerful women in the city, with friends like Bill Clinton and Oscar de la Renta, and still she’ll take time to send a thank you note if I do her a favour.
Stacey Kimel is the most stylish woman. Everything she wears is about making a fashion statement. If she’s at an event, you won’t miss her. All of the magazines love publishing pictures of her, so I never miss a chance to shoot her.
This picture was taken at the Gillers, which is by far the most crowded event on the Toronto social calendar. I had to run around the room gathering the sons together to create this family portrait. It was a challenge, but so worth it. I am a huge Richler fan, which makes this shot particularly special to me.
The woman is just such an icon. There is no one in the Canadian entertainment industry who has managed to break through international borders the way she has. To me, she’s been an inspiration. And she will always pose for a shot. She knows how it all works.
I was shooting a cocktail party at the AGO when one of the publicists came up to me and said that Pierre Trudeau happened to be upstairs looking at art. So I left the event that I was shooting, walked up to Mr. Trudeau, shook his hand and told him what a huge fan I am. My father loved Trudeau, and I grew up in a Liberal house. He asked me what my background was, and when I told him, he said, “It’s a pleasure to meet you” in Portuguese. It was pretty remarkable.
I shot this at George Christie’s annual TIFF party, which the Mulroneys always attend. I swear they are the classiest family I have ever met. The parents are so proud of their kids, and Ben has become a sort of Canadian icon. Mila is such an extraordinarily attractive woman; she’s just gotten better with age. She’s like our Jackie O. I know people talk about them, but I only have great things to say.
These two are such a great-looking couple. Galen Jr. is a very low-key guy. He really doesn’t like to have his picture taken, so I will generally respect that. But sometimes, like at the Spoke Club party, where this picture was taken, he’s up for it. He’ll say, “Only for George,” which is nice.
I’ll admit that I am incredibly intimidated by Lord Black. This was taken at the Maclean’s magazine 100th anniversary party in 2005. They didn’t do the red carpet, and we weren’t allowed to shoot inside. But when I saw them, I knew I had to go for it. I was scared, but I just walked up and asked for the shot. I think it was the next day that Black was charged, and this shot ran in papers all over the world. It was a huge exclusive.