Rory Lewis Portrait Selected for Portrait of Britain

Portrait of Britain is presented by British Journal of Photography. Photographer Rory Lewis portrait of Captain Anani-Isaac of The Royal Lancers. Captured for Soldiery (British Army Portraits), has been selected to appear in a Nationwide Exhibition. Shortlisted from 8000 entires, 100 Portraits of the exhibition will go live on Friday 1st September 2017. Portrait of Britain is being billed as the UK’s biggest exhibition of portraiture. Being exhibited across JCDecaux’s nationwide screens, appearing in public places throughout the UK. Limited Edition Prints are also on sale via the Portrait of Britain Website.

 

Simon Bainbridge, editorial director of the British Journal of Photography, said: “The portraits celebrate the unique heritage and diversity of modern Britain, as much as its thriving photography culture and the myriad styles and approaches they employ in their work. Yet, as much as our tribal allegiances are on show in many of the photographs, each image reminds us that, above all, we are a nation of individuals.”

Captain Anani-Isaac The Royal Lancers

Press

Portrait of Britain is presented by British Journal of Photography. Photographer Rory Lewis portrait of Captain Anani-Isaac of The Royal Lancers. Captured for Soldiery (British Army Portraits), has been selected to appear in a Nationwide Exhibition.


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Photographing Britain’s Cavalry

There are currently nine regular cavalry regiments of the British Army, of these two serve as armoured regiments, three as armoured cavalry regiments, three as light cavalry and one as a mounted ceremonial regiment. Soldiery has given me the opportunity to work with seven of these nine Regiments. Namely, The Household Cavalry, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, Queens Royal Hussars, Kings Royal Hussars, Royal Tank RegimentThe Royal Lancers (Queen Elizabeths’ Own) and The Light Dragoons.

 

They are probably the most famous of the mounted soldiers, symbolic due to their Buckingham Palace connections. The Household Cavalry now drive and operate both heavy and light tanks, and various other vehicles into battle. This is a Cavalry juxtaposing the old with the new; the ceremony with the duty.

 

When visiting Household Mechanised in Windsor, I was presented with the diversely mechanical contrast of the regiment. The Troopers I had seen parading in Knightsbridge, now have a duel role as both ceremonial soldiers and modern mechanised cavalry. Now I was photographing, reconnaissance light tank gunners and drivers, as well as armed troopers, and snipers.

Lieutenant Colonel James Gaselee LG Rory Lewis Photographer 2017 (Rory Lewis London Portrait Photographer)

Photographing these troops required meeting them on home turf, which in their case is both Knightsbridge and Windsor. The portraits needed to reflect these distinctions as well as allowing for the notable differences of technique in photographing mounted soldiers. Focusing on The Lifeguards and the Blues and Royal, I captured the soldiers mounted in their distinguished uniform. Conducting these portraits, whilst also witnessing the Guard Mount with its 350-year-long ceremonial history, was sharply in contrast with photographing the mechanised troops of the regiment.

Lance Corporal of Horse Wrighton Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment (Rory Lewis London Portrait Photographer)

They are the oldest and most senior regiments in the British Army split between two different units equipped to perform two quite different roles. The Household Cavalry Regiment (HCR) is an Armoured Cavalry regiment of the British Army based at Combermere Barracks in Windsor. It is the brother regiment of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment (HCMR) based at Hyde Park Barracks in London – both regiments together form the Household Cavalry. The regiment presented me with a challenge, with the opportunity to capture both the Ceremonial Household Mounted Regiment, as well as the Armoured Cavalry Regiment. Both grooms of horses and armoured vehicles.

Being based in Hyde Park, must be a remarkable experience for a young soldier, given your own horse and stationed right the centre of Knightsbridge. Riding out into Hyde Park each day must be a remarkable experience. In contrast they then transfer to the modern, cavalry regimental Barracks in Windsor, employed for more modern military duties. My sitting with the Household Mounted Regiment in Hyde Park, gave me the opportunity to view the Guard Mount, those troopers charged with guarding the Queens Official Residence and the Horse Guards.

The Blues and Royals (Officer)  (Rory Lewis London Portrait Photographer)

The Guard Mount occurs daily 365 days per year without fail. The Household Cavalry serve as the Queen’s official bodyguard. More than 350 Horses are occupants of the barracks, and it’s remarkable to see all the traditions of the regiment maintained. The uniforms of the Blues and Royals are remarkable to behold. When on duty soldiers wear the distinctive metal helmets, with a long plume of horses hair hanging on top, not seen on many other types of soldiers.

 

The Blues and Royals is the only regiment in the British Army to allow troopers and non-commissioned officers, when not wearing headdress, to salute an officer. The custom was started after the Battle of Warburg in 1760 by the Marquess of Granby, who commanded both the Royal Horse Guards and the Royal Dragoons. These were separate units at the time. During the battle, the Marquess had driven French forces from the field, losing both his hat and wig during the charge. When reporting to his commander, Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick, in the heat of the moment he is said to have saluted without wearing his headdress, having lost it earlier. When the Marquess of Granby became the Colonel of the Blues, the regiment adopted this tradition.

Sniper Household Cavalry (Rory Lewis London Portrait Photographer)

When the Household Cavalry mounts an escort to the Sovereign on State occasions, a ceremonial axe with a spike is carried by a Farrier Corporal of Horse, which I managed to capture. The historical reason behind this is when a horse was wounded or injured so seriously it could not be treated, its suffering was ended by killing it with the spike. The axe is also a reminder of the days when the Sovereign’s escorts accompanied royal coaches when English roads were very bad. Horses often fell, becoming entangled in their harnesses and having to be freed with the cut of an axe. It’s also said in those times, if a horse had to be killed its rider had to bring back a hoof, cut off with the axe. This proved to the Quartermaster the animal was dead and hence preventing fraudulent replacement. Today, the axe remains as a symbol of the Farrier’s duties.

Corporal of Horse Mulholland Household Cavalry Mechanised Regiment (Rory Lewis London Portrait Photographer)

From The Household Cavalry I moved onto The Royal Lancers, to focus on wonderful ceremonial dress, and an experience to relish. Lt. General Everard, himself of the Royal Lancers, had conveyed the Regiment’s History. There was also a personal connection, with my Brother-in-Law having served in the Regiment. The Regiment was formed following the amalgamation of the 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s) and The Queen’s Royal Lancers on the 2nd May 2015. The Regiment has close family ties as my Brother In Law served in the 9th/12th during the Gulf War. General Everard, who helped to organise the sittings was former colonel of the Queen’s Royal Lancers, and it seemed fitting these sittings would be of interested to both.

The regiment is indeed iconic, with the Skull and Crossbones of the Queens Royal Lancers on each cap badge. The Regiment’s motto is ‘Death or Glory’. The Royal Lancers history stretches back more than 300 years, including Dragoons, Hussars and finally Lancers. The regiment’s distinctive cap-badge features the crossed lances with pennons of the 9th/12th Royal Lancers, and the Death’s head of The Queen’s Royal Lancers.

 

The Death’s Head originates from the coat of arms of General Wolfe, in whose memory the 17th Light Dragoons were formed. One of Wolfe’s ablest commanders and close personal friend, was Colonel John Hale of the 47th Regiment of Foot. It fell to Col. Hale to bring back to the King, the mixed news of victory over the French paid for in part with the death of Wolfe.

In thanks to the role of Hale, the King granted him a commission to raise one of the five new regiments of Light Dragoons, being planned as part of preparations for the Seven Years War. With a rich and varied history, the modern Lancer regiments have fought in every major conflict of the last three centuries, and its soldiers are rightly proud of this heritage.

 

The Regiment has moved on from stables and horses, now being armoured cavalry soldiers instead. This armoured cavalry are now the frontline reconnaissance soldiers of the British Army. These soldiers are trained to operate in advance of lead combat units, specially prepared to deploy early in any combat. Their crucial role is to deliver up-to-date and accurate information and intelligence about the enemy, in order to shape and aid the relevant commander’s decision making process.

Rather pirate-like, but in far greater esteem, the Regimental badge of the Royal Lancers depicts a Skull and Crossbones, containing the words ‘OR GLORY’. This is a somewhat pertinent motto depicting the strength of character forming the tradition and history, making the British Army unique. Staggeringly, The Royal Lancers can in fact trace their lineage as far back as the Battle of the Boyne, American Independence, and the Napoleonic Wars.

 

From here to The Light Dragoons in Catterick where, once again, the horse of olden day Cavalry has been replaced by an armed vehicle – this time going by the name of Jackal. The Cavalry portraits still needed extending and broadening, so it was on to the Queen’s Royal Hussars in Paderborn, Germany, as well as the Royal Tank Regiment in Tidworth. Here, there was the opportunity to capture the powerful Challenger II Battle Tank, as well as the troopers who man this titan of a vehicle.

 

Sergeant Cawthorne (The Light Dragoons) Military Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

The Royal Tank Regiment is the oldest tank unit in the world, forged out of the adversity of the First World War. The regiment is equipped with Challenger 2 tanks and based at Tidworth. Soldiers of RTR wear a black beret and black overalls, a custom reserved to the Regiment unlike any other tank regiment in the British Army. A black beret was selected as it would not show oil stains. I felt quite at home as many of the soldiers of the Regiment appeared to be from Liverpool. In essence the regiment appeared to be half Liverpudlian and half Glaswegian. Two peoples of a similar sense of humour, the soldiers regiment seemed to get along swimmingly. Again I had the chance to photograph the Soldiers posing with the Powerful Challenger 2 Battle Tank, and create a series of remarkable portraits of all the regiments states of dress.

Tpr Millward Royal Tank Regiment  Military Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

Captain Hall Royal Tank Regiment  Military Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

Based in Tidworth, Wiltshire, The King’s Royal Hussars is a British armoured regiment with a long history and great cavalry traditions. The regiment currently serves in the armoured role, equipped with Challenger 2 tanks. The regiment wears the iconic crimson trousers when in ceremonial, No. 1 or No, 2 dress. As you notice from the portrait the soldiers wear the crossed kukri of the Gurkhas as an arm badge. This relates back to 1945 when C Squadron, 14th/20th King’s Hussars assaulted the town of Medicina in Italy alongside the 2nd Battalion, 6th Gurkha Rifles, inflicting heavy losses on the German defenders despite being outnumbered. In commemoration of this action the 14th/20th King’s Hussars adopted the crossed kukri badge, a tradition maintained by the regiment.

Officers of The Kings Royal Hussars Military Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

My inspiration of the portrait, came from a portrait by Emanuel Leutze, an American Portraitist. Who painted, Washington Crossing the Delaware. My subjects, the Commanding Officer Colonel Porter and the two-highest ranking NCO’s posed, as poised for battle. Carrying the regimental Guidon with pride, just as Washington is depicted profile, tall, and with the Star- Spangled Banner behind him.

 

My final Cavalry Regiment of the Soldiery Project and a trip to Scotland, Fife to be exact. Was to photograph the Troopers of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys) – or SCOTSDG – was formed in 1971 by an amalgamation between 3rd Carabiniers and The Royal Scots Greys. The Regiment has been deployed in numerous operations around the world in the forty- five years which have followed. Having served in Northern Ireland, the Gulf War, Bosnia, Kosovo, three tours in Iraq and three tours in Afghanistan, SCOTSDG is a cavalry Regiment with wide operational experience.

One of those troopers who sat for a portrait. Sergeant Keith Mitchell a recipient of The Military Cross. Risked his life to save wounded comrades in Afghanistan was commended for his “courage and selflessness” under re. He stood in open ground to draw enemy re away from his colleagues in an attack in Helmand in March of 2012. It was an honour to meet Sergeant Mitchell, who also gave me a tour of the Barracks and the incredible artefacts the regiment has acquired through their bravery.

Field Marshal The Lord Guthrie Portrait Sitting

Soldiery as a project, has given me the opportunity to indulge my historical ambitions. One of these creative urges has been to photograph a British Field Marshal.

 

Field Marshal is the most senior rank of the British Army. Higher than all the Generals I’ve captured thus far. Considered a five star rank in today’s modern militaries. In the British Army, Field Marshal has been the most senior rank since 1736.

 

Since the end of Empire, the rank has become somewhat redundant, this is due to the reduction in the size of Britain’s Armed Forces. The rank is now ceremonial, a gift of recognition from the sovereign to senior military figures, and bestowed on members of the Royal Family.

 

I wrote to several Field Marshal’s and to my delight a reply, Field Marshal The Lord Guthrie accepted my invitation to sit for a Portrait in London.

 

Field Marshal Guthrie, Baron Guthrie of CraigiebankGCBLVOOBEDL was Chief of the General Staff, the professional head of the British Army, from 1994 to 1997 and Chief of the Defence Staff from 1997 until his retirement in 2001.

Field Marshal The Lord Guthrie Portrait Sitting, London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

Guthrie’s military career saw service with the Welsh Guards and the Special Air Service; he was closely involved in military operations in Northern Ireland and provided advice to the British Government during the Bosnian War and the Kosovo War.

 

In 2012 Lord Guthrie was handed his Field Marshal’s Baton, in recognition of his remarkable leadership and service by Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II . You can view a Pathe News Clip of another Field Marshal Jan Smuts being handed his Baton back in 1941.

(Below Field Marshals Baton Presented to Field Marshal Jan Smuts OM, CH, ED, PC, KC, FRS)

The Baton is the main symbol of office, only given to Field Marshals. It stems back to ancient origins; namely those of the Roman Empire. A short heavy white Baton was a symbol of  the Imperial Mandate given to Roman Military Legates. The Legate would hold the baton upon high, proclaiming, “above your head and mine to represent the power of the emperor”.

 

The British Field Marshal’s Baton is a symbol of the magnitude of office. The figure of St George and the Dragon is at the top, and at the bottom an inscription from The Queen to Lord Guthrie. The body of the Baton is covered with red velvet.

 

Field Marshal The Lord Guthrie Portrait Sitting, London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

Looking for inspiration I started with Sir Thomas Lawrence, studying his portraits of the Duke of Wellington.  Neo Classical in Style; Lawrence painted the Iron Duke on several occasions. His most vivid depiction, a triumphant portrait of Wellington which dominates the Waterloo Chamber at Windsor Castle. Lawrence’s composition is that of victory, heralding Wellington as the finest of military commanders and the liberator of Europe.

Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830)
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (1769-1852) 1814-15

Then I moved on to looking at Singer Sargent’s portrait of Field Marshal Frederick Sleigh Roberts. The work similar to Sir Thomas Lawrence’s neo-classical depictions.  I turned to photography, browsing the National Portrait Gallery archive, I discovered the photographer Alexander Bassano, who photographed Field Marshal Hague. The portrait captured in a solemn and dutiful style, the depictions relay the finery, yet the obligation and commitment of Hague’s role.

Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig by Bassano Ltd whole-plate glass negative, 19 July 1921 Alexander Bassano

With all this in mind I set to work, with a desire to create my own interpretation. Using a red velvet backdrop, I aimed to recreate the symbolism of the fire and blood, that is the Red Coat. The British Military Uniform associated with energy, war, danger, strength and Royal power. These words associate with the office of Field Marshal. Full finery was the order of the day, medals, orders, and number one dress uniform. Wanting to portray Lord Guthrie as the man he is; the Commander held in immense regard.

 

The positions directed for the sitting are reflective, shooting from a low angle to make Lord Guthrie look prominent and tall. Harsh lighting is utilised to preserve the detail. To me the Portrait is historical , a document, all the detail must be safeguarded. With this in mind I hope I’ve done my predecessors, proud in this my first portrait sitting with a British Field Marshal. Currently I’m accepting public & private commissions both Military and Non Military for Portrait Sittings so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

HyperFocal: 0 (Rory Lewis)

Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry London Portrait Sittings

A company of the 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry took up the temporary role of mounting the Queen’s Guard at Buckingham Palace last month. The honour usually falls to the British Army’s Household Division. However, other Commonwealth Nations get a chance at protecting the Queen every now and again. Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry is based in Shilo, Manitoba, Canada. Named after Princess Patricia of Connaught, daughter of the then-Governor General of Canada. Contacting the regiment upon their arrival in London. I arranged a series of portrait sittings with the company at Wellington Barracks, before they mounted the Queens Guard. The sitting gave me the chance to record living History, Canadian Regiments rarely appear in London for state duties.

HyperFocal: 0 (Rory Lewis)

 

The 2PPCLI uniforms differ slightly to British Soldiers, especially their helmets. They are called Pith helmets, and the choice of helmet style comes down to historical precedent specific to each regiment. You may also notice that the helmets the officers wear are entirely white, while the non-commissioned members have a coloured fabric on theirs. In the case of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, that colour is ‘French Grey’ which is the colour of the Third Canadian Division.

HyperFocal: 0 (Rory Lewis)

Accustomed to photographing British Soldiers for my ‘Soldiery Portrait Exhibition‘ it was refreshing to work with a Canadian Regiment. A real pleasure to work with the chaps. Its true what they say, Canadians are among the most polite people in the world.

 

HyperFocal: 0 (Rory Lewis)HyperFocal: 0 (Rory Lewis)HyperFocal: 0 (Rory Lewis)HyperFocal: 0 (Rory Lewis)HyperFocal: 0 (Rory Lewis)

Soldiery (British Army Portraits) Liverpool Private View 24/06/17

Thank you to everyone who attended the open evening of Soldiery (British Army Portraits) at the historical Athenaeum Club in Liverpool. The evening held in aid of the Army Benevolent Fund raised over £2500.00 for the charity, which helps veterans and their families in need of support. I was delighted to show the work to the public for the first time. Many of those who sat for portraits where also in attendance.

 

The exhibition began with a talk about the work, followed by a speech by the projects patron General Sir James Everard, KCB, CBE. I’m now looking forward to taking the work to London, for a full public exhibition at the National Army Museum. If you missed the event, don’t worry the evening was captured on video, please take a look at below.


Soldiery (British Army Portraits Book)


Soldiery (British Army Portraits Book)

The British Army is a diverse and proud organisation with a cherished heritage. ‘Soldiery’, has been a project focusing on historically documenting the modern British Army in a contemporary reflection of historical portraiture of days gone by. Photographed by Professional Portraitist Rory Lewis. Foreword by General Sir James Everard, KCB, CBE NATO’s Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe. This book features portraiture of the Army’s Leaders and Soldiers from a range of iconic regiments. Each depicts the unique identity of the soldier, regiment and rank. Rory also explains his inspirations from the master portraitists of the past and the story behind the project.

£32.99

By Rory Lewis Photographer

Foreword by General Sir James Everard, KCB, CBE Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe

 

  • Paperback: 188 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (1 April 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1542989256
  • ISBN-13: 978-1542989251
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 1.1 x 27.9 cm

 

Book Preview

 

This volume is about the images themselves telling their own story. However, behind each sitting there is something greater than the individual alone. This record of the project shapes the context, aims, and achievements. It speaks of inspiration and the key factors behind each image. It is not a history of the British Army. In the words of military historian, Sir John Fortescue: “the civilian who attempts to write a military history is of necessity guilty of an act of presumption.” Instead this book is a document: Of stories.

 

These portraits represent 12 months of one man’s work to represent others. The result is a remarkable collection of portraits. Perhaps it is my own coming of age. This way of life, as a photographer with passion, combining art and portraiture, hasn’t been a straightforward journey.

 

 

 

Soldiery (Liverpool Preview Evening)

Soldiery as a portrait project has been a labour of love. For a year, I have collaborated with the British Army holding 100’s of portrait sittings. The results feature the Army’s Leaders and Soldiers from a range of iconic regiments. Each inspired by visual art, depicts the unique identity each soldier, their regiment and rank. Now the project is completed, I will be previewing the collection at an open evening to co-inside with Armed Forces Day Liverpool. Taking place on 24th June 2017, at the Historic Athenaeum Club.

  • Venue
  • The Athenaeum
  • Church Alley
  • Liverpool, L1 3DD
  • Saturday 24th June 7.00-9.00pm
  • Dress Formal/Lounge Suit/Mess Dress

Tickets £20.00 including a drinks reception and canapé’s and talk about the project by Rory Lewis Photographer.

 

Rambahadur Limbu VC Portrait Sitting

The Victoria Cross & George Cross Portrait Project has been an exceptionally challenging, yet rewarding portraiture project. Individuals who have been awarded the Victoria Cross have been selected because they are worthy of Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand’s highest military award for their bravery and conduct in the field. Similarly, those awarded the George Cross are civilians or military personnel who have displayed conspicuous bravery in and away from the field. These awards are not issued lightly. They are the very greatest honour for individual valour and merit. These individuals are the modern day heroes.

 

Over the next few week’s I’ll be posting all the VC & GC recipients in a series of Blog Posts. Here is my Fourth post in the series, recipient Rambahadur Limbu, VC, MVO. (View Full Series of Posts)

 

Rambahadur Limbu VC London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

 

Extracts from citation

“On 21st November 1965 in the Bau District of Sarawak Lance Corporal RAMBAHADUR LIMBU was with his Company when they discovered and attacked a strong enemy force located in the Border area… Leading his support group in the van of the attack he could see the nearest trench and in it a sentry manning a machine gun. Determined to gain first blood he inched himself forward until… he was seen and the sentry opened fire, immediately wounding a man to his right. Rushing forward he reached the enemy trench… and killed the sentry, thereby gaining for the attacking force a foothold on the objective… with a complete disregard for the hail of fire he got together and led his fire group to a better fire position…

 

…he saw both men of his own group seriously wounded… and… immediately commenced… to rescue his comrades… he crawled forward, in full view of at least two enemy machine gun posts who concentrated their fire on him… but… was driven back by the accurate and intense… fire… After a pause he started again…

 

Rushing forward he hurled himself on the ground beside one of the wounded and calling for support from two light machine guns… he picked up the man and carried him to safety… Without hesitation he immediately returned… [for the other] wounded man [and] carried him back… through the hail of enemy bullets. It had taken twenty minutes to complete this gallant action and the events leading up to it. For all but a few seconds this Non-Commissioned Officer had been moving alone in full view of the enemy and under the continuous aimed fire of their automatic weapons… His outstanding personal bravery, selfless conduct, complete contempt of the enemy and determination to save the lives of the men of his fire group set an incomparable example and inspired all who saw him.

 

Finally, Lance Corporal Rambahadur was responsible for killing four more enemy as they attempted to escape…

 

He displayed heroism, self sacrifice and a devotion to duty and to his men of the very highest order. His actions on this day reached a zenith of determined, premeditated valour which must count amongst the most notable on record and is deserving of the greatest admiration and the highest praise.”

Johnson Beharry VC Portrait Sitting

The Victoria Cross & George Cross Portrait Project has been an exceptionally challenging, yet rewarding portraiture project.  Individuals who have been awarded the Victoria Cross have been selected because they are worthy of Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand’s highest military award for their bravery and conduct in the field. Similarly, those awarded the George Cross are civilians or military personnel who have displayed conspicuous bravery in and away from the field. These awards are not issued lightly. They are the very greatest honour for individual valour and merit. These individuals are the modern day heroes.

 

Over the next few week’s I’ll be posting all the VC & GC recipients in a series of Blog Posts. Here is my second post in the series, British, recipient Johnson Beharry VC. (View Full Series of Posts)

On 1 May 2004, Beharry was driving a Warrior tracked armoured vehicle that had been called to the assistance of a foot patrol caught in a series of ambushes. The Warrior was hit by multiple rocket-propelled grenades, causing damage and resulting in the loss of radio communications. The platoon commander, the vehicle’s gunner and a number of other soldiers in the vehicle were injured. Due to damage to his periscope optics, Pte. Beharry was forced to open his hatch to steer his vehicle, exposing his face and head to withering small arms fire. Beharry drove the crippled Warrior through the ambush, taking his own crew and leading five other Warriors to safety. He then extracted his wounded comrades from the vehicle, all the time exposed to further enemy fire. He was cited on this occasion for “valour of the highest order”.

 

While back on duty on 11 June 2004, Beharry was again driving the lead Warrior of his platoon through Al Amarah when his vehicle was ambushed. A rocket-propelled grenade hit the vehicle six inches from Beharry’s head, and he received serious shrapnel injuries to his face and brain. Other rockets then hit the vehicle, incapacitating his commander and injuring several of the crew. Despite his life-threatening injuries, Beharry retained control of his vehicle and drove it out of the ambush area before losing consciousness. He required brain surgery for his head injuries, and he was still recovering in March 2005 when he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Johnson-Beharry-VC (Rory Lewis Photographer 2016)

Help me to turn the Victoria & George Cross Project Into a Book Click Here

2016 Year in Review

Rory Lewis Photography: 2016 in a Nutshell

2016 has been another exciting, challenging, and hard-working year at Rory Lewis Photography. Work has been diverse and interesting, ranging from portrait projects with their own unique scope and approach, to commissions which have involved Hollywood actors such as Toby Jones and Natalie Dormer. Likewise, I’ve been caught snapping esteemed Military and Political Leaders from some of the staunchest UKIP Brexiteers to decorated British Generals, Admirals and Air Marshalls.

 

The boundaries haven’t stopped there, and I’ve even photographed an Austrian General, the German Actor Wolf Kahler, the Danish Ambassador to the UK, hundreds of our soldiers, and many valiant Victoria and George Cross Veterans. A challenging, diverse, and international year!

Brigadier Günter Eisl Portrait Sitting (Rory Lewis London Portrait Photographer)

Beyond sittings, I’ve been found leading teaching at the National Portrait Gallery and The Victoria and Albert Museum. Alongside this, it’s been a developmental year for myself and the business, seeing more of my work acquired by the National Portrait Gallery.

 

Portrait Exhibitions 2017 and Beyond

The culmination of many of the 2016 portrait projects which have seen my dedication and soaring mileage, will be a series of portrait exhibitions which will be held throughout 2017 and beyond in to 2018.

 

Soldiery

Soldiery, the portrait project, started at the end of 2015. It has been a labour of love (and roads!) and has seen me catalogue a vast range of the British Military personnel across the length and breadth of the country. Not only that, I’ve had to hop over to Germany to complete the project. Soldiery has been immense in scope, and it’s only with hindsight that it is possible to truly comprehend this. It has seen me complete around 250 portrait sittings with soldiers of varying stature and rank, from a huge variety of the diverse and iconic British Army.

Soldiery has resulted in an in-depth historical and inspiring record of the British Army in the early 21st Century in both exhibition and book format. Capturing the stature and essence of the individuals, the rank, and the regiment required adaptable skills to create powerful portraits whether dealing with the colourful pageantry style uniform of the Black Watch 3rd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland, or the dark and muted tones of the 1st Battalion Rifles.

General Bashall (Left) Lt General Poffley (Right)

I drew my inspiration from the prolific military portrait artist George Dawe, famed for his immense number of paintings of Russian Generals. I simply stand in awe at the number of portraits he painted, having seen my own artistry challenged and extended by my ‘mere’ 250 sittings!

 

London Expansion

As my reputation as a leading portrait photographer continues to grow, a great deal of my work is regularly focused on London. It’s not unusual to see me, and my gear, pounding the pavements of the capital, three or four times a week. These shoots see me flitting between portrait sittings to my bread and butter work of actor headshots and model portfolio creation.

Rory Lewis Photographer London Actors Headshots

London also draws me for another key reason. Much of my photography teaching work has focused on London in 2016. This usually takes the form of one-to-one photography workshops and also group photography workshops. Beyond London, my photography teaching and courses have continued and expanded in Dublin, Edinburgh, Belfast and Los Angeles.

 

Home Roots

Photography sittings and teaching have continued in Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds. I am still pleased to be able to offer headshots and portfolio services in the thriving screen areas of the north.

 

Reflections on the Year of Learning

National Portrait Gallery Workshop, Rory Lewis Photographer 28th & 29th May 2016

New Year 2016 saw me label the year ahead as a ‘Year of Learning’. I kept this goal in mind at every opportunity the year presented. Most notably, 2016 presented me with the opportunity to teach photography at two iconic institutions: the Victoria and Albert Museum, and The National Portrait Gallery. What an honour! These experiences were not just learning opportunities for the attendees and delegates, but an opportunity for me to solidify my ideas and creative style of portraiture. I have felt privileged to teach literally nudging up against my own artistic inspiratory character, Holbein, the Renaissance Portraitist.

London Portrait Masterclass Rory Lewis Photography School Tuition

I have also enjoyed continuing my long term partnership with Calumet Photographic. This partnership has enabled me to deliver over two dozen workshops throughout 2016 specifically focused on the medium of portraiture. One-to-one portrait photography lessons have once again been a mainstay of the year, with various bespoke and tailored workshops for clients with their own individual learning requirements. 2017 will see this element of Rory Lewis Photography flourish, with over two dozen exciting workshops currently on offer over the coming year.

 

Portraiture in Essence

2016 started with an assignment which, for me, encapsulated my core aims and ambitions: to become ever more focused on the niche of portrait photography, and establishing myself as an accomplished Portraitist. My own unique style has been welcomed in sittings that have captured figures of historical and artistic importance. I challenge myself to capture every detail whilst revealing the character and eminence of the individual or their role.

Army Recruitment

Portraiture Sittings

The year, with a focus on portraiture, started off on the right foot with a sitting with actor Toby Jones. Jones, being one of my favourite actors, was a pleasure and a challenge all wrapped up in one. I wanted to encapsulate his bohemian image in an intrinsically unique and unadorned style. I wanted the images to disarm the viewer with Toby Jones’ distinctive and individual character. This work was great fun, Toby Jones was a joy to work with, and seeing his incredible talent first-hand was pretty rewarding!

Actor Toby Jones, London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

From here, I was commissioned by the RAF to complete a portrait sitting with the outgoing Air Chief Marshall, Sir Andrew Pulford. Rapidly finding myself at ease in military settings thanks to my Soldiery project, this was a sitting right up my street. Sir Andrew Pulford is a helicopter pilot with over 5000 hours of flying time clocked up, and is a veteran of campaigns ranging from Northern Ireland, to the Falklands, to the Gulf War. This portrait sitting needed to capture Pulford’s vast experience and leadership. It was an enjoyable challenge. My reputation as a military portraitist has snowballed, largely due to the Soldiery project. Since the sitting with Sir Andrew Pulford I have been called on to create portrait sittings with a vast range of Army Generals, Admirals and Air Marshalls. 2016 is the year that much of the British Military Leadership paraded in front of my lens! I’ve photographed the likes of General Sir James Everard, to Lt. Generals Bashall and Poffley, as well as Admirals Zambellas and Jones.

Lt General Sir James Everard, Military Portraits, London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

Back to Acting

Not far into the year, at the end of January, I enjoyed working with Actor Julian Bleach. Bleach is an actor whose skill I have admired for some time. I particularly love Julian’s portrayal of Niccolò Machiavelli in Showtime’s series The Borgias. It was wonderful to work with, and photograph, him. His amazing bone structure made it brilliant for me with an opportunity to play around with shadows, highlights and back-lighting as I created the portrait.

Julian Bleach Rory Lewis London Portrait Photographer

With a Spot of Ambassadorial Spirit

Whilst visiting the capital in 2016 you would have been as likely to see me popping in to an Embassy as getting up close and personal with Holbein in The National Portrait Gallery. My Ambassadors Portrait Project started in 2015 and was extended this year when the Austrian General & Defence Attaché to UK, Brigadier Günter Eisl, commissioned a portrait to be held at the Austrian Embassy in London. Following this sitting, London’s only uniformed Ambassador of the Kingdom of Denmark, Claus Grube, sat for a portrait. Whilst focusing on their portraits it has also been fascinating to learn about our European allies and understanding their customs and traditions.

HyperFocal: 0 (Rory Lewis)

Featured Work

I’m pleased that 2016 saw my work features in Photo-Plus Magazine. Photo-Plus published a 5-page feature on my lighting techniques (one of my secret ingredients!) along with practical guides.

The Royal Photographic Society also featured a similar sized feature focusing on my lighting, specifically with the 3rd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment. In the RPS feature I guide readers through the technical aspects of the shots providing you with an insight in to the unique nature of barracks photoshoots.

Thank you to the Royal Photographic Society for Publishing one of my latest Portrait Sittings with the men of the 3rd Batalion the Parachutte Regiment.

 

Headshots Galore

Throughout 2016, headshots have been continually commissioned. I’ve had actors, barristers, solicitors, corporate directors and office personnel all appearing before my lens. Notable characters have included American author Akemi Dawn Bowmen as well as X-Factor Winners Beau Dermott, and Richard and Adam Johnson.

Beau Dermott Portrait Sitting Rory Lewis Photographer

Undertaking headshot sittings plays to my strengths as an experienced Portrait Photographer. The 10 years’ of headshot experience that I have feeds in to the reputation I have established as a portrait photographer of our time. I understand the skills and direction needed whether dealing with actors or managing directors, business leaders or politicians. I am able to lead the shoot and guide the individual in their portrayal to the camera. For headshots this is essential, as these pictures exude the image that ‘sells’ whether that’s as an image for a certain role, or as a business leader eminent in their field.

Author Akemi Dawn Bowmen Portrait Rory Lewis Photographer Portraits London

This is all possible because of a sitting that is relaxed and informal and accessible to everyone, whether a budding child actor or an established public figure. My portraiture expertise and experience enables me to assist you in developing styles, emotions and incorporating lighting that will make your headshot stand out.

 

From Army to Navy

Whilst Soldiery has seen a great deal of focus on the Army, just before jetting off to Los Angeles again this year, I was given the honour of photographing a truly historic series of portraits.

Recently I had the honor of photographing a very historic series of portrait sittings. Commissioned by The Royal Navy. To Photograph the outgoing First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas and his incumbent Admiral Sir Philip Jones.

These portraits were commissioned by the Royal Naval and were to photograph the First Sea Lord Admiral, Sir George Zambellas at Admiralty House in Portsmouth. Embarrassingly, this was my first ever visit to this historic naval city. Not to worry: I also was able to take the opportunity to capture portraits of the First Sea Lord’s Staff, the Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Jonathan Woodcock, Flag Lieutenant (Capt. Sam Shepherd GC), and Master Seaman Rob Martin.

Master Seaman Rob Martin, London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

I felt very much part of naval history undertaking these portraits at Admiralty House. I was just a stone’s throw from the majestic and imposing HMS Victory, as well as looking out at the Royal Navy’s powerful arsenal of warships. It wasn’t hard to find some inspiration, as I only needed to look up at the array of Naval Portraits adorning the walls.

 

Back to the Army

Similarly, before my LA trip, I had the opportunity to enjoy one of my most interesting military portrait sittings to date. In March, Major John Melville, late of the Commandos, and currently serving in The Royal Artillery, commissioned a Military Portrait to be held at the barracks in Liverpool. It was wonderful to meet John and fascinating to speak to him about his incredible career. Melville is a soldier of considerable experience, serving through the ranks as an enlisted man all the way to becoming an officer. His service in the military spans from the Falklands Conflict in 1982 to the Gulf War in 1990, and even the recent conflicts in Iraq 2003 & Afghanistan 2001–14. It was incredible and humbling for me to come face-to-face with such experience in toil and conflict.

 

Los Angeles – Rory Lewis Stateside

Once again, for a period of 2016, my base became Los Angeles. I spent a jam-packed four weeks in springtime, in the City of Angels, on various portrait assignments. This first 2016 jaunt saw me moving swiftly away from the formalities and uniforms of the British Military, and donning instead a pair of Converse, and exhibiting a more Californian, laid-back style.

William Shatner (Rory Lewis Photographer)

In Los Angeles I undertook six equally impressive actor portrait sittings. First up was William Shatner at his offices in Studio City. This was followed by a memorable opportunity to get behind the lens with Richard Herd, an 83 year old legend who you might recognise from the classic film FIST or the sci-fi series ‘V’. A couple of Trekkies of course made their way on to my agenda, in the form of Jonathan Frakes and Jeffrey Combs. My last two LA sittings of that visit were of Harry Groener and Kitty Swink, both notable for their acting works.

Harry Groener (Rory Lewis Photographer)

I was once again back in LA later in the summer when I undertook sittings with Bo Foxworth, Tony Amendola and Saul Rubinck. I love this work for the passion and energy I get to capture.

 

Bo Foxworth, icon of both stage and screen, saw me directing an expressive shoot with extremes of emotion played out. Proving a natural to the static picture, through my ability to utilise movement, this shoot was a great success. I was treated to seeing Tony Amendola on stage at the Antaeus Theatre, well known from Mask of Zorro and Stargate SG1. Once again, movement was the key to a successful shoot. Finally, I became absorbed in a shoot with Saul Rubinck, star of Unforgiven and Warehouse 13, whereby the actor regaled a traumatic story and I captured the essence of emotion in each moment.

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.

This visit to Los Angeles also saw me teaching my first portrait photography workshop with Samy’s Camera. This has been an interesting and exciting endeavor.

 

Brexit and Portraiture

Yes, Brexit got everywhere in 2016, including photography! With the headlines dominated by this moment in modern British and European history, I found myself commissioned to photograph UKIP spokesperson and Brexiteer, Suzanne Evans. Personally, being a die-hard Remainer, I put on my most neutral and composed manner, and got on with what would prove to be a fascinating sitting.

Suzanne Evans, UKIP Brexit Portrait Rory Lewis Photographer (The Times London)

Victoria & George Cross Portraits

One of the highlights and honors of 2016 has been being commissioned by the Victoria & George Cross Association. I have been tasked with capturing portraits of individuals who have been decorated with either of the crosses, in both Britain and elsewhere in the Commonwealth. These are the Highest Orders for Bravery for both Military and Civilian actions.

Margaret Vaughan GC, Rambahadur Limbu VC London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

This commission has proven to be exceptionally challenging, not least because the recipients live all over the globe, from Nepal to New Zealand, Canada to Australia. It is also proving to be an immensely humbling project as I hear stories of incredible valour and selfless courage. Being able to meet these living heroes in person is indescribable. Working with men and women who have not only saved lives, but done so at risk to their own safety, or have held their ground under overwhelming pressure – and often injury – has been a remarkable experience. If you would like to view the full collection of the tales behind the pictures, take a moment to visit my project page. I am also pleased that several of the portraits have been acquired by the National Portrait Gallery. They now have 5 of my portraits, a number I hope to expand on over time!

Peter Norton GC, Bill Speakman VC, London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

Rory Lewis Photography Goes to Ireland

In October I was very pleased to hold my first workshop in Dublin offering a weekend portraiture workshop. This has broken the ground for 2017 when I will be holding a full series of workshops in both Dublin and Belfast. I will also be speaking at Photofest in Dublin in the Spring.

London Portrait Masterclass Rory Lewis Photography School Tuition

I’ve also accepted the opportunity to speak at the Photography Show in Birmingham in March 2017 which will be another great honour, and another chance to hear about life behind the lens.

 

Further Portraits

Two more notable portrait sittings of 2016 are my sitting with Wolf Kahler, the iconic face of many a German villain, and Natalie Dormer, almost the complete antithesis with natural beauty and an ability to captivate. Both were photographed at the London Studio.

Rory Lewis Photographer, Wolf Kahler Actor Portrait, London Portrait Photographer

Wolf Kahler has a repertoire of baddie roles behind him, and has been seen in Raiders of the Lost Ark, Barry Lyndon, Remains of the Day, and the fabulous and memorable Band of Brothers. I was commissioned to photograph him by United Agents. One look at his face and he’s in your memory forever, and I used this to my advantage for the sitting and directed him to make fierce and vivid expressions.

Natalie Dormer Portrait Sitting Rory Lewis Photographer London Portrait Photographer

Natalie Dormer took a little while to relax in to my style of natural photography, but once she started to see the results she became excited by the work. Natalie has starred in Game of Thrones, the Hunger Games, and The Tudors, and has rapidly become one of Britain’s esteemed actresses. Her features and expressions lend themselves to my realistic photography, and without an airbrush in sight, the results speak for themselves.

Natalie Dormer Portrait Sitting London

 

Rounding Off 2016 With More Soldiery

As the year drew to a close, I concentrated once more on completing the Soldiery Project. The last few sittings of the year were amongst the most exciting. Notably I had a completely new experience photographing mounted soldiers from the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment. It turns out that horses are incredibly well-behaved sitters.

HyperFocal: 0 (Rory Lewis)

From here I swept in to modernity with sittings with the mechanised Royal Lancers, The Tanks and Troopers of the Queens Royal Hussars in Paderborne, Germany, and the striking Nepalese faces of the Royal Gurkha Rifles.

Rfn Ganga Bahadur Gurung (Left) (Right) W02 Shiva Kumar Rai 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles

Soldiery is nearing its end, with just three further sittings that will be completed by the end of January 2017. From here, Soldiery will be complete and appearing in the National Exhibition in 2017. Unveiling this exhibition to the public in 2017 will no doubt be a highlight of the year to come.