Tuesday, September 28, 2010


                                                                            (c) Estate of Ivaan Kotulsky

Ivaan was always on the lookout for photographic subjects for his Portraiture assignments at Ryerson.  He wasn't looking for pretty faces; he wanted interesting faces.  One of his subjects, who had a face that Ivaan described as being dramatic enough to belong on Mount Rushmore, happened to be a limousine driver.   In August, 1966, this limousine driver called up Ivaan, said he was being sent to the Toronto Airport to pick up an English rock and roll group called The Beatles, and asked if Ivaan wanted to come along and bring his camera.

Ivaan was not actually a Beatles fan; he preferred The Rolling Stones.  But he decided to come along for the ride, and borrowed an impressive looking array of photographic equipment from his employer, Eatons Camera Department.  Ivaan said some of the lenses he brought were so long, they barely fit in the front seat, where he was sitting next to the driver.

Arriving on the tarmac at the airport, Ivaan jumped out with his equipment and took this photograph of The Beatles getting off the plane.  This was their second visit to Toronto, having performed at Maple Leaf Gardens the previous year.  The Beatles climbed into the back of the limousine, and Ivaan was feeling too shy to say much.  The temperature in the limousine was getting hotter by the minute.  No one could figure out why.  The limo drove to Upper Canada College, where a police paddywagon was waiting.  The Beatles jumped out, climbed into the paddywagon, and Ivaan continued with the limo driver to Maple Leaf Gardens.  It was there he discovered that his extra-long lens had jammed the heat switch on, instead of the air conditioning.  Getting out at Maple Leaf Gardens, Ivaan was mobbed by screaming girls, expecting to find The Beatles inside the limousine.

Meanwhile the paddywagon proceeded uneventfully to Maple Leaf Gardens and The Beatles slipped inside unnoticed.  Ivaan met up with The Beatles again in the Hot Stove Lounge, and photographed them while John was explaining to the press about the remark that got The Beatles kicked out of the Philippines:  his "bigger than Jesus" comment.  Ivaan took over 100 photos of The Beatles.  Four years later, Ivaan had changed his mind about The Beatles; his favourite song was "Here Comes The Sun".

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