Game of Thrones Portraits

Game of Thrones is a remarkable television extravaganza. George R.R. Martin’s best-selling book series “A Song of Ice and Fire” is brought to the screen as HBO sinks its considerable storytelling teeth into the medieval fantasy epic. It’s the depiction of two powerful families — kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars and honest men — playing a deadly game for control of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, and to sit atop the Iron Throne.

Natalie Dormer Portrait Sitting Rory Lewis Photographer London Portrait Photographer

Over the past few years, I’ve had the pleasure of portrait sittings with several members of the cast, Iain Glen, Julien Glover, Natalie Dormer and Ian McShane. See below my portraits along with video clips of each of the Actors in Character on the Television Series.

Iain Glen (Ser Jorah Mormont)

Iain Glen is a Scottish film, television, and stage actor. Iain is best known for his roles in the Resident Evil films and for portraying Ser Jorah Mormont in Game of Thrones. Writing to Iain a few months ago to arrange a Portrait sitting for my ‘Northerners‘ Exhibition. Iain accepted my invitation, and the session took place in London last month. Iain arrived on his Cycle at London Portrait Studio, Cycling being Iain’s favorite pass time. After a chat about Iain’s recent projects, I explained the style of images I wanted to achieve. “I like to learn about each person I photograph, so I do my homework, this helps to start a conversation and put the sitter at ease.

 

Iain admired my recent Portrait Sitting with Sir Patrick Stewart and wanted his images to be lit in the same style. After setting up my equipment, we went to work, creating striking Frames, Iain took over posing without direction towards the end of the session, and we managed to capture a selection of spontaneous images which really stand out.


Julian Glover (Grand Maester Pycelle)

Julian Glover London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

I had the esteemed honour of Photographing Veteran Actor Julian Glover at the London Portrait Studio. Julian who Trained at RADA has had a rich illustrious Stage, Film and Television Career. Staring in Star Wars the Empire Strikes Back, Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade, James Bond For Your Eyes Only and of course Game of Thrones to Name a Few. The Prospect of working with Experienced Actors is a real treat for a Portrait Photographer.

 

With so much character and experience, I wanted to bring this through in the Final Images. To begin with we sat down to discuss the session I was interested to learn about Julian and his work. At present Julian is Staring in the Scottsboro Boys a Powerful West End Musical the Story of a Group of Nine Black Teenagers, brought together by fate in a case that sparked the American Civil Rights Movement. Julian has also played a great deal of Villains in his time and through our conversation I decided to create two looks; a Simple Plain Thoughtful Character Portrait, then turn it around and capture a Portrait of the Villain’s Julian has Played.


Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell)

Actress Natalie Dormer, star of Game of Thrones, The Hunger Gamesand The Tudors sat for a portraitat the London Studio this several weeks ago. I wrote to Natalie inviting her to sit for my Expressive Portraits Project just over a year ago; it just goes to show how many letters and requests she receives. Natalie is exceptionally talented with an incredibly natural beauty. As a realist portrait photographer Natalie was a little apprehensive of my style. In the modern world people are obsessed with removing the detail through airbrushing.

 

My style is to preserve even line every mark every mole. I try to present my subjects as they really are, flaws and all, while allowing for moments of candidness and vulnerability. Less austere and more deliberate than a mug shot, my work often brings facial features into high relief, allowing expressiveness to recede and making the sitter seem somehow up-close and removed at the same time. Natalie indulged me, enabling me to capture a series of wonderful frames. Her apprehension turned to excitement when she viewed the final results which edified her unique and Natural Beauty.


Iain McShane (Septon Ray)

Ian McShane is an English Actor, Director, Producer and Voice Artist. From Lovejoy to Deadwood and Pirates of the Caribbean, McShane is a Screen legend.

Ian McShane is an English Actor, Director, Producer and Voice Artist. From Lovejoy to Deadwood and Pirates of the Caribbean, McShane is a Screen legend. From a lawless saloon owner to the sexiest of beastly British mobsters, award-winning actor Ian McShane has, time and time again, captured the public’s attention by playing bad guys, scoundrels and thieves. “The devil has the best tunes!” he has said with a gleam in his eye. McShane was named “TV’s Sexiest Villain” by People Magazine, and was one of GQ’s “Men of the Year,” which described his portrayal of Deadwood’s Al Swearengenas “infectious” and “irresistible.” McShane haling from Blackburn, was a must for my Northerners Portrait Exhibition. I wrote to Ian’s agency and touched lucky as he was in London promoting his new Film Cuban Fury.

 

Arriving at Bleeding Heart Yard Photography Studios, Ian had the energy and drive of a man half his age, it’s very easy to forget that he is 71. Before the session I had a good chat with Ian he mentioned he had to skip his last term at RADA to make a movie “The Wild And The Willing”. “They told me, ‘If you do this film, you might not get your certificate.’ What, I need a bit of paper on the wall telling me I’m an actor?” Still, they gave it to him in the end. “Signed by John Gielgud! I spoke to him about it much later on when he did an episode of Lovejoy. I said, ‘Thanks for signing my RADA certificate, John.’ Ooh, dear boy, not at all…‘He kept calling me Loveboy. ‘Loveboy, I say…’ Um, John, it’s Lovejoy.‘‘Lovejoy, Loveboy, who cares?’”

 

It was an amazing experience to photograph Ian. I am a BIG fan of Deadwood, and during the photoshoot I said jokingly “give me the Al Swearengen look“ Ian Replied in his signature voice “You will have to pay me for that.“ Plain simple expression was my theme for the Portrait Session, shot on black backdrops the images really show the texture and character of Ian McShane.

 

Limited Edition Prints Available from Sittings Click Here

Caravaggio Inspired Sir Patrick Stewart, Limited Edition Print Released

Recently National Portrait Gallery Acquired Photographer Rory Lewis Fine Art Portrait Photographer. Captured a series of exceptionally detailed chiaroscuro portraits inspired by Caravaggio of actor, Sir Patrick Stewart. In these portraits Rory Lewis attempted to emulate Caravaggio’s naturalism and dramatic lighting with photographic effect. Creating super detail of skin tone, texture and colour. Using inventive art direction Rory Lewis opted for vivid and stark expressions from the contemplation, to the emotionless.

 

Caravaggio Inspired Sir Patrick Stewart, Limited Edition Print Release 100 Supplied Hand Signed & Numbered By Photographer. Certificate of Authenticity Signed & Numbered by Photographer.
£129.00 Worldwide Postage Included

Limited Edition 100 Available, supplied Fine Kodak Endura Metallic Paper Print A2 Size, 420 x 594 mm 16.5 x 23.4 in  

ONLY 100 will be Issued Don’t Miss Out!

 

Caravaggio Inspired Sir Patrick Stewart, Limited Edition Print Release 100 Supplied Hand Signed & Numbered By Photographer. Certificate of Authenticity Signed & Numbered by Photographer.
£129.00 Worldwide Postage Included

Renaissance portraiture and the use of chiaroscuro by the masters has been of immense inspiration to my photographic style. For those unfamiliar, chiaroscuro is an oil painting technique, developed during the Renaissance. The technique uses strong tonal contrasts between light and dark to model three-dimensional forms. Artists such as Caravaggio used chiaroscuro for dramatic effect. Painting vivid religious depictions of light and shadow.

Hugh Bonneville Portrait Sitting

Hugh Bonneville was the subject of my latest Portrait Sitting at the London Studio. Bonneville is a remarkably talented British actor. Best known for playing Robert Crawley in the ITV period drama series Downton Abbey. On the day of the sitting my Phase One Body was somewhat acting up. Being resourceful I always carry a backup. Therefore I reached into my Peli Case for my Fuji X100F and TCL-X100, 50mm Teleconverter Lens. The Fuji performed swimmingly in the studio environment, not outperforming my Phase One XF, but still providing amazingly detailed results.

Now to the sitting, so much of the portraiture commissioned in the press and print industry is reluctant to take risks. I’d love to challenge that safety and introduce moments of spontaneity and awkwardness into my portraiture. In this instance I gave Hugh a character of a fallen hero. Hugh obliged me with a performance of tiny nuances creating a series of remarkable expressions.

Hugh Bonneville London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

Hugh Bonneville London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

Phase One

Thank you to Phase One for interviewing me about my recent projects. It was wonderful to share my experience with the XF IQ1 40MP Camera System. If you are considering medium format you should take note, whether shooting fashion, landscape or products; detail is paramount. Take a look at the article below.

London & Los Angeles Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

Stephen Graham Portrait Sitting

Stephen Graham Portrait Sitting Rory Lewis London Portrait Photographer

Actor Stephen Graham is an English film and television actor and fellow scouser. Who is best known for his roles as Tommy in the film Snatch (2000), Andrew “Combo” Gascoigne in This Is England (2006), Billy Bremner in The Damned United (2009), notorious bank robber Baby Face Nelson in Public Enemies (2009), Scrum in the Pirates of the Caribbean films and he starred as Al Capone in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire.

Stephen accepted my invitation to sit for a portrait at the London Studio last week. I’ve admired his work for many years. Graham is a screen icon, exceptionally talented and known for playing no-nonsense gritty characters. I aimed to capture Stephens métier in my portraits, asking him to pose as emotionless, then changing to capture fierce and angry expressions.

Stephen Graham Portrait Sitting Rory Lewis London Portrait Photographer

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John De Lancie Portrait Sitting

February and back in Los Angeles to teach a Portrait Masterclass at Samy’s Cameras Photo School. During my short visit, I was able to fit in a Portrait Sitting with Actor John De Lancie.

 

De Lancie is an American stand-up comedian, actor, director, producer, writer, singer, musician, and voice artist, best known for his roles as Q in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Donald Margolis in Breaking Bad.

 

I wrote to John last year and was finally able to arrange the sitting in Studio City. De Lancie a very talented actor was a joy to work with. Using inventive scenarios, I directed John as to assume a series of characters.

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Equipment Used

15 Minutes with Bill My tale of photographing a screen icon

William Shatner is best known for his role as Captain James T Kirk on the Starship Enterprise. I’ve had the honour and pleasure of having him in front of my lens on two occasions. In total my time spent photographing him has equated to 15 minutes. 15 minutes with Bill.

 

Being an ardent Star Trek fan, as well as prolific portrait photographer with a strong reputation for icons of stage and screen, this short time with the screen legend has amounted to an extraordinary experience. Yes I’m just a little star struck.

 

To meet one of your childhood heroes can be both awe-inspiring and utterly terrifying at the same time. Now try operating a camera under the pressure!

William Shatner Portrait Rory Lewis Photographer Los Angeles, Portrait Photographer

Where it All Began

 

My first sitting with William Shatner was back on 12th February 2015. At the time I was travelling to LA and wanted to take the opportunity to include Shatner in my Expressive Portraits exhibition.

 

Prior to my LA trip I had written to Shatner expressing my wish to include him in the project. I have to admit it was a stab in the dark. Nonetheless, the reply came that he would do me the honour of accepting my invitation.

 

In preparation for the shoot, I arrived at Shatner’s office at 10am feeling a mixture of nerves, apprehension, and barely-concealed excitement. As I approached the window I could see a large looming figure behind the blinds. It was him. There, right before me stood one of my childhood ‘greats’. Gulp.

 

The door was opened by Kathleen, Mr Shatner’s PA, who kindly informed me I had just 10 minutes to set up and 5 minutes to shoot as he was due to take a flight. No pressure then! I couldn’t let my nerves get the better of me, but how to shoot a living legend in just 5 minutes?

 

Fortunately experience prevailed and I was ready and waiting as Bill entered to take his seat on the stool. In my mind’s eye he was, until this point, a flamboyant character. As I took a deep breath and introduced myself I realised I was completely wrong. Rather than brash and larger than life, Shatner is a very quietly spoken man of only a few words.

 

As a portraitist I have learned to separate the individual’s character as an actor from the characters they have played. In the interests of simplicity (bearing in mind the 5 minute window) I opted straight for this method. However, my initial direction didn’t receive the response I’d hoped for. My request for a plain expression was met with “I don’t do plain!” I quickly took the opportunity to explain my reasoning: that as a character actor the viewer needed a blank canvas, an expressionless person, on which to hang their own thoughts. No good, no bad, no love, no hate, no character, just an opportunity to view and assume. In my experience it is this essence which makes an image thought-provoking and memorable.

 

With my explanation, Bill became more amiable. Deep breath again, using the word “emotionless” in preference to “plain”, this time he agreed. Mr Shatner took his own breath, closed his eyes, and then looked up directly in to the lens, clearly having cleared his mind of thought or question.

 

I clicked. The result was my first thought-provoking portrait of William Shatner. In 5 minutes magic had been created.

William Shatner Portrait Rory Lewis Photographer Los Angeles, Portrait Photographer

 

Second Time, Double Time

 

The second time I photographed Shatner was when I returned to LA in April 2016. Once more I got in touch to arrange a sitting. I had so much more I wanted to explore in the subject that is William Shatner. I was truly delighted to learn of his acceptance. Even more, Shatner himself was ecstatic with my first efforts. I’d done it, in just 5 minutes!

 

The sitting took place on 4th April 2016. Once again I turned up at the office to be greeted by Mr Shatner’s assistant. This time I met a more relaxed Shatner with nowhere to go, and a little more time on his hands. He was more casually dressed, wearing a black shirt as I had requested, and was available for the double the previous five minutes.

 

Preparation for a Portrait Sitting

 

Before any sitting I always spend time planning. This ‘behind the scenes’ time is invaluable for the ultimate portrait. In the case of Shatner I spent hours looking at material from both films and television programmes, as well as reviewing and assessing the other available portraits of Bill to date. There was a common theme running through 99% of them: Bill as the hero.

 

Speaking about this type casting, Bill has quipped: “I always play the hero and always get the girl.” To make a portrait of Bill that was different and unique I wanted to draw him out of his comfort zone. I wanted to polarise him away from the ‘hero’ and instead get him in the camp of the villain.

 

Take Robin Williams for example: a face well-documented in comedy and farce. Yet, when he was given the creepy and darker character named Sy in the psychological thriller One Hour Photo, we saw something utterly new, unnerving and compelling.

 

This became my impetus for the sitting with Shatner. I wanted this to be about Shatner the ‘bad guy’. I took the time to explain my reasoning and idea to Bill and he was very happy and compliant to give it a go.

 

The Portrait Sitting

 

In directing the screen icon, I drew on Shakespeare. I asked Bill to think about a Shakespearian villain and to assume this as his muse. This enticed Bill to gaze leeringly in to the lens as we transformed the heroic Shatner in to the evil alter-ego.

 

After 10 minutes, my sitting with Shatner came to an end. In total, I had experienced 15 minutes with one of my absolute screen heroes in front of my lens.

 

Lessons Learned

 

In order to direct an actor who you have admired for many years is an incredible opportunity. Photography is about so much more than merely clicking the shutter and getting some lighting tricks right. Successful photography, and successful portraiture, is about evoking a feeling. This process is impossible without direction. Direction is key.

 

When I teach photography workshops, students are frequently overawed by the number of different camera and lighting techniques available. This is the stuff of textbooks. However, what transforms you from someone who can operate the equipment to a talented photographer is what happens in that moment when the lights are set up and the camera is ready, and you are alone with the subject. This transcends the techniques and instead becomes about invention. A good photographer, therefore, is a good director.

 

Shakespeare, in Henry V, once penned:

“Oh, for a muse of fire that would ascend

The brightest heaven of invention!

A kingdom for a stage, princes to act,

And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!”

 

Emotive and powerful, and rousing to boot, in portrait photography is of utmost importance to set the scene. You must find your muse and use it to direct. You must think outside of the box, and take your inspiration from cinema, art, or simply by digging deep in to the wealth of your own experiences to find something new and original.

 

 

Los Angeles June 2016

June, I was back in Los Angeles for a few days to photograph a series of Portrait Sittings with three very talented actors. Bo Foxworth, Tony Amendola and Saul Rubinek. 

 

Bo Foxworth is a wonderful stage Actor and recent star of screen and Stage Play All The Way in which Brian Cranston leads the cast as President Lyndon Johnson. My first Portrait sitting of the trip; Bo is a natural in front of the lens, a pleasure to photograph. My theme for the portrait sitting was ‘Expressive’. Directing Bo to assume extreme emotions. To achieve my goal I asked Bo to assume a Shakespearian Character. He obliged me with his favourite Richard III. To my astonishment, Bo became the Machiavellian King presenting me with the true theatrical talent.

Actor Bo Foxworth Rory Lewis London Portrait Photographer

Actor Bo Foxworth Rory Lewis London Portrait Photographer

Actor Bo Foxworth Rory Lewis London Portrait Photographer

Tony Amendola has an instantly recognisable face and was the subject of my second LA Portrait Sitting. I had the delightful pleasure of seeing Tony on stage, playing Judge Brack in Hedda Gabler at the LA Antaeus TheatreAmendola is a wonderfully versatile actor appearing on screen in the Mask of Zorro and in the television series Stargate SG1.

 

Seeking once more, expressive and animated portraiture. I reverted again to the Bard. Tony obliged me with a unique performance of a soliloquy from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. When working with exceptionally talented actors, truly great things can happen. As Tony performed I clicked away at the shutter; capturing a series of remarkably animated and expressive portraits. Movement is essential in portraiture, so many photographers keep their subjects static, whereas I prefer movement and animation.

Tony Amendola Rory Lewis London Portrait Photographer

Tony Amendola Rory Lewis London Portrait Photographer

Tony Amendola Rory Lewis London Portrait Photographer

Tony Amendola Rory Lewis London Portrait Photographer

Tony Amendola Rory Lewis London Portrait Photographer

Tony Amendola Rory Lewis London Portrait Photographer

My final Portrait Sitting was the most powerful. Actor Saul Rubinek has been a prolific presence on both the stage and screen for many years. Starring in films such as the Unforgiven to television series Warehouse 13. Saul was very familiar with my style of portraiture and when we sat down to discuss the sitting he had a very simple idea. Instead of Acting to the lens, he would tell me a story. The sitting was very profound as Saul regaled a tale about a traumatic time in his life, as he spoke I clicked the shutter and each frame I captured was emotional and thought-provoking.

 Saul Rubinek Rory Lewis London Portrait Photographer

Saul Rubinek Rory Lewis London Portrait Photographer

 Saul Rubinek Rory Lewis London Portrait Photographer

Saul Rubinek Rory Lewis London Portrait Photographer

Natalie Dormer Portrait Sitting

Natalie Dormer Portrait Sitting Rory Lewis Photographer London Portrait PhotographerActress Natalie Dormer, star of Game of Thrones, The Hunger Games and The Tudors sat for a portrait at the London Studio several weeks ago. I wrote to Natalie inviting her to sit for my Expressive Portraits Project just over a year ago; it just goes to show how many letters and requests she receives. Natalie is exceptionally talented with an incredible natural beauty. As a realist portrait photographer Natalie was a little apprehensive of my style. In the modern world people are obsessed with removing the detail through airbrushing.

Natalie Dormer Portrait Sitting Rory Lewis Photographer London Portrait Photographer

Natalie Dormer Portrait Sitting Rory Lewis Photographer London Portrait Photographer

My style is to preserve even line every mark every mole. I try to present my subjects as they really are, flaws and all, while allowing for moments of candidness and vulnerability. Less austere and more deliberate than a mug shot, my work often brings facial features into high relief, allowing expressiveness to recede and making the sitter seem somehow up-close and removed at the same time. Natalie indulged me, enabling me to capture a series of wonderful frames. Her apprehension turned to excitement when she viewed the final results which edified her unique and Natural Beauty.

Natalie Dormer (born 11 February 1982) is an English actress. She is best known for her roles as Anne Boleyn on the Showtime series The Tudors (2007–10), as Margaery Tyrell on the HBO series Game of Thrones (2012–present), Moriarty on the CBS series Elementary (2013–15), and as Cressida in the science-fiction adventure films The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014) and Part 2 (2015). She has been nominated for Best Performance at the Gemini Awards for her work in The Tudors. She has also been nominated for a Screen Actor's Guild Award for her performance in Game of Thrones. (Rory Lewis)

Lastolite Collapsable Backdrops

Those of you who follow my blog and twitter feed, see me using Lastolite Collapsable Backdrops on the majority of my Portrait Sittings. As a travelling portraitist collapsible backgrounds are a quick and easy solution. They take seconds to set up and pack away making them equally convenient to pop-open in offices & clients homes.

Harry Groener Rory Lewis Photographer

Harry Groener Rory Lewis Photographer

I enjoy shooting portraits with the collapsible backdrops. As a one man band, I can easily accomplish the background set-ups by myself since they fold and unfold like a giant reflector. They are easy to carry on public transport, which is a blessing. The majority of my sittings take place in London. As a regular passinger on the London Underground they are easy to stow in a large suitcase.

 

As well as single sided backdrops, Lastolite offer reversible backdrops giving you more options. The backdrops I most frequently us are the Black/White, White/Light Gray. I also utilise the dyed/muslin backdrops Wyoming/MississippiVirginia /Kentucky. Muslin backdrops give you the choice of colours and patterns.

Left (Virginia Dyed) Capt Reilly Royal Irish Regiment, Right (Wyoming Dyed) Actor Brent Spiner

Left (Virginia Dyed) Capt Reilly Royal Irish Regiment, Right (Wyoming Dyed) Actor Brent Spiner

What are Dyed/Muslin backdrops you may ask; well they date back to the 17th century. They where mostly used in dressmaking back then, as it’s a breathable fabric that drapes niceley. But it also holds dye and paint very well, which moved it into the world of theater, and, eventually, photography. I know what you are thinking, your mind is going back to your days at school, when the school photographer would capture your portrait against an awful dyed backdrop. I thought the same thing, but after looking at the work of the portrait artists of old, Muslins where widely used. Utilising the right lighting and mood these backdrops can help unleash your creativity.

Lastolite Black/White Left Actress Helen Bench, Right Actor William Shatner

Lastolite Black/White Left Actress Helen Bench, Right Actor William Shatner

I mostly use the Black/White Collapsible, I love shooting on black so much and this makes my life very easy. The black is especially handy for when I want a completely dark background that has no light reflection. Most of the locations I shoot in are not ideal, sometimes their is a little too much daylight I can’t block out! I find the backdrop absorbs light from the strobe far better than seamless backdrop paper which in my experience seems to catch the light.

 

Lastolite Urban BackdropsLastolite also offer a selection of Urban Backgrounds bringing the outdoor look, indoors; with a wide selection available. Urban Backgrounds help to save time and costs especially when you trying to find the right location for you portrait photoshoot. (Left Lastolite Urban Collapsible 1.5 x 2.1m Tarnished Metal/Container) The uncontrollable weather and the risk of distractions in the background no longer present challenges. Whether in a studio, or a client’s home, you can create the outdoor look in any location. In conclusion, I couldn’t imagine going back to the days of carrying roles of seamless backdrop paper around, or hunting for a suitable location and in turn praying for good weather.

 

It is also worth mentioning if you are going to invest in Lastolite Collapsable backdrop system. Make sure you purchase the Magnetic Background Support Kit. The Kit enables photographers to quickly and easily attach any collapsible backgrounds with a steel rim to a traditional lighting stand. The background can be attached to the support at a comfortable height. It is also quick and easy to switch backgrounds; simply pull one off and snap another on.