Chelsea Pensioner Dougie Hassall is a very extraordinary pensioner. Reaching the grand old age of 100. The Royal Hospital in London Commissioned me to capture his portrait. It was a very humbling and remarkable experience for me to shake the hands of a 100 year old man. Dougie’s secret to old age, be kind to one another and live each day to the full.
Hassall the oldest sitter of my career is a World War Two Veteran, captured by the Japanese Army in 1941, and was a Prisoner of War for three-and-a-half years working at the docks in Saigon.
He remembers VJ Day vividly as the American Forces dropped leaflets over their camps to let them know the war had ended. He said: “We had an idea that it might be over about a week before; the Japanese were preparing to shoot us. We were starting to dig our own graves.
“They dropped the second bomb and the Japanese Commander, wisely, had a change of heart. I was quite fortunate as a Japanese Prisoner of War, I was with my friends. We were all in there together which made it easier.
“I have made my peace with the Japanese, I believe in forgiving and forgetting.”
Rory Lewis is a gem to work with! Both highly professional and easy going, he made me feel comfortable even in the short time I had booked. “He utilizes soft lighting, constant motion, and highlights your prominent/individual features. The result is incredibly unique portraits that showcase exactly who you are, not a generic headshot that could be anyone. I’m extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to work with Rory and recommend him highly!”
“Absolutely LOVED shooting with Rory. His guidance during the shoot is fun and very supportive. He has a very kind and generous spirit and makes the session joyful as well as productive. Definitely coming back for more.”
“Such a pleasure working with Rory! He provides an upbeat comfortable shoot and the quality of his shots are always top notch. Would highly highly recommend working with him if you have the opportunity. Very grateful!”
Headshots Sessions completed it was time to turn my attention to teaching with a Portrait Photography Masterclass on Saturday 16th September. Throughout the day students worked with three different subjects, who modelled throughout the day. Learning lighting, camera technique and direction. I will also be returning to LA with several workshops in October, from Portraiture, to Fine Art Nude.
Making use of all my time in LA I was able to fit in a few portrait sittings. The first with Actor Bo Foxworth and Actress Elyse Mirto, capturing a dual portrait for their upcoming theatre production. The siting was very interesting indeed as both Bo and Elyse played around with different characters both serious and comical.
Elyse Mirto & Bo Foxworth
The second sitting with veteran actor Greg Itzin. Itzin has appeared in guest starring roles on various television shows like in “MacGyver”. His most recent major role has been President Charles Logan on the popular television drama 24. He received a Tony Award nomination for his role in the Pulitzer Prize–winning play The Kentucky Cycle. Greg has a stunning facial profile, an actor of incredible skill and talent, Itzin needed very little direction. My idea to capture Greg as the contemptuous villain.
Greg Itzin Rory Lewis Los Angeles Portrait Photographer
The third and final sitting gave me the opportunity to add to my Caravaggisti Project. In these portraits I have attempted to emulate Caravaggio’s naturalism and dramatic lighting with photographic effect. The subject actor Adrian LaTourelle. Using harsh lighting to create super detail in skin tone, texture and colour and inventive art direction. Adrain screamed in rage, enabling me to capture the energy of the moment.
Adrian LaTourelle Actor Los Angeles Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis
Black History Month has been marked in the UK for more than 30 years. It takes place during the month of October. It is held to highlight and celebrate the achievements and contributions of the black community in the UK. My own family stems from Black roots originating from Africa, Sierra Leone to be exact. My African Great Grandfather settling in the UK 1908, nearly 110 years ago. For my own contribution to Black History Month a blog post on just a hand full of the culturally and historically important Black Britain’s I’ve photographed over the years.
The Portrait Sitting took place back in 2014 for my ‘Northerners Photography Exhibition‘. Charles first appeared on television as a performance poet, which led to minor presenting roles. After finding fame in Red Dwarf, he regularly featured on national television with celebrity appearances on many popular shows while he continued to host a wide variety of programmes.
Charles is also known for narrating the comedy endurance show Takeshi’s Castle. From 2017, he has hosted The Gadget Show for Channel 5. His acting credits include playing inmate Eugene Buffy in the ITV drama The Governor, and leading roles in the British films Fated and Clubbing to Death. He has toured the UK extensively as a stand-up comedian.
Charles has hosted The Craig Charles Funk and Soul Show on BBC radio since 2002, and performs DJ sets at numerous clubs and festivals, nationally and internationally. In September 2015, he left Coronation Street after ten years, to film new episodes of Red Dwarf.
Back in 2016, I had to honour to photograph British Victoria Cross recipient Johnson Beharry VC. 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 (View Full Series of Posts)
Actor Dominic Pace, has an incredible facial profile. Dominic booked a character actor’s headshots session at the Los Angeles Photography Studio in Burbank. Often casted as the villain or tough guy, Dominic opted for character shots, assuming various expressions to relay his casting profile.
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.”
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.
Turn Pro Intensive 4 Day Photography Course (London UK & Los Angeles (CA) USA
(Los Angeles) CA (USA)
Thursday, 9 November 2017 at 10:00 – Sunday, 12 November 2017 at 16:00 (PST) (Each Day will Start at 10:00am and Finish at 16:00pm)
(London) England (UK)
Thursday, 8 February 2018 at 10:00 | Sunday, 11 February 2018 at 16:00 (GMT) (Each Day will Start at 10:00am and Finish at 16:00pm)
Photo Professional Magazine Rory Lewis
Rory Lewis Photographer has made an outstanding contribution to photography and the visual arts, creating consistently imaginative and thought-provoking portraits. Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Patrick Stewart, Ian McShane, Sir Derek Jacobi, Natalie Dormer, and many others have sat for Rory and his unique portraiture style is becoming renown.
Rory Lewis Photographer Sir Patrick Stewart, Sir Ian McKellen, Brian Cox CBE
Rory will be holding a ONE OFF WORKSHOP aimed at turning Amateur Photographers in to PRO’s with a FOUR DAY Programme of Seminars and Tuitions. Rory Lewis will lead the sessions. Featured Recently by the BBC, Rory Lewis is one of the UK & USA’s Rising Photography Stars, having photographed many of the worlds leading Actors in his Portrait Exhibitions. His work has been acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in London and Rory has a wide variety of clients ranging from The London & New York Times, to Pepsi.
This Intensive Course with a seasoned professional photographer offers the best possible way to improve your camera and lighting techniques, create more inspiring images, and to learn how to see and capture better pictures.
“You can learn more in these four days than in months of reading about photographic technique.”
Work with Professional Models Test using State of the Art Equipment
Professional Models will be Provided, to help hone the skills and techniques taught. This will give you the opportunity to build a professional portfolio under the guidance of an experienced photographer.
“ALL Courses are practical tuition sessions giving you plenty of time to learn hands on the skills taught. Illustrated PDF Booklets of all the Lighting Setups Shown will be provided for you to take away. Rory will also teach marketing and social networking techniques.”
Rory will review your work each day suggesting improvements and helping to improve your technique.
BOOK EARLY BEFORE 1st October 2017, Save $100.00 USE PROMO CODESAVE100
(Los Angeles) CA (USA)
Thursday, 9th November 2017
Friday 10th November 2017
Saturday 11th November 2017
Sunday, 12th November 2017
(Each Day will Start at 10:00am and Finish at 16:00pm)
Stephen Graham Portrait Sitting Rory Lewis London Portrait Photographer
You will be shown the effect of soft boxes, umbrellas, snoots, and beauty dish how to use reflectors. How to use both soft and hard lighting to change the mood and effect of a portrait. Learn what a main lights function is; and how to use fill lights, back lights and hair lights and be shown how they affect the final image. Direction will be central, you will learn how to for fill a brief and set the mood.
Day Two Editorial Location Photography & Lighting Day
(Models Provided Throughout the Day)
Location Portrait Lighting Photography Workshop
Photojournalists, corporate and event photographers, wedding photographers, and serious amateurs who want to improve their knowledge of Location lighting.The day begins with creating interesting lighting with One or Two Strobes progresses through using multiple Strobes with many different light modifiers. One of the key things that Rory will share in a “very hands-on way” is how to better control your on location lighting.
Day Three Art Nude Photography & Lighting Day Four
(Models Provided Throughout the Day)
Day Three will explore the lighting techniques of the great artistic nude photographers including Helmut Newton, Erwin Blumenfeld, Bill Brandt and Frantisek Drtikol. Working with a professional Art Nude Model with fabulous bone structure, figure and facial expression. This course is a MUST for all those enthusiastic Art Nude Photographers who want to capture some amazing shots for their portfolios.
Day Four How to Sell your Photography, Marketing, Finding Clients, Social Networking.
This intensive one-day workshop will cover all aspects of marketing for photographers. The workshop will give photographers the skills to tailor their marketing efforts to the real needs of their clients, giving them practical tools to enhance their self-promotion and raise their conversion rate.
From self-promoting tips and tricks, to the most recent self-marketing free tools, this workshop follows a “checklist” approach which photographers can easily integrate into their daily or weekly schedule and will help them to find a natural balance between self-marketing, networking and being creative.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
I had assumed that only sheer luck or destiny would place Sir Patrick Stewart in front of my lens. Somewhat surprisingly though, after 24 years of dreaming about capturing his portrait, it was the sight of a vulgar, pink Hummer that inspired our meeting. The sitting would change my stars from a provincial photographer to an international portraitist working in London & Los Angeles.
Let me take you back to the beginning
How does one arrange a sitting with a screen icon? I began with Sir Patrick’s acting agency in London with little success. My letter was no doubt buried within a mountain of fan mail. Soon after though, I discovered that Sir Patrick was starring in Waiting for Godot at New York’s Cort Theatre on Broadway. Another letter was dispatched.
To my astonishment, a reply came through just a few weeks later. Alas, what I had originally thought to be success was a note from Sir Patrick, declining my invitation. Nevertheless, like the snail setting his sights on the Arc, I composed a compelling reply urging Sir Patrick to reconsider. A few weeks passed by again until, seemingly out of the blue, an email from the man himself appeared in my inbox. Sir Patrick was accepting my offer. His acceptance however, came with one condition – the sitting would have to take place in New York.
With no patron or funding to realise my opus, I realised that I would have to fund this trip on my own if I were to realise my dream of photographing such a prestigious, cultural icon.
Sir Patrick Stewart Film Actor Character Actor Portfolios London & Los Angeles
The appearance of the pink Hummer
The decision to bite the bullet and head to New York was made whilst shooting a wedding in Liverpool. As I sat in the hotel waiting for the bridal party to arrive, I wondered if I was actually ready to leave my comfort zone. Would I really be able capture the likeness of such a stalwart thespian, as well as show people what I was capable of? Was I really destined for something greater?
With thoughts of Bailey and Beaton in my head, the bride’s pink Hummer pulled into view. Was this what I wanted for the next 50 years? To be a second rate wedding and portrait photographer, capturing nothing but other people’s celebrations and dreams?
Sir Patrick Stewart
I decided enough was enough. A professional photographer is nothing without a compelling portfolio and my passion to create had become an addiction. I booked my plane ticket as soon as the wedding was over.
The session was arranged for May 5th 2014 and I arrived in New York little more than a day before the shoot. Be it the jetlag from travelling 3,606 miles, or the anticipation of meeting Sir Patrick, I couldn’t sleep the night before. Thankfully, one of my strengths is preparation and I had come to the sitting with ideas and a plan.
Ironically, the inspiration behind my work has never flown from photographers, but from portrait painters. In this instance, the foundations of my sitting with Sir Patrick stemmed from a 16th century portrait of Sir Thomas Moore by Hans Holbein the Younger.
Painted in 1527, Sir Thomas More would have been a very compelling and controversial sitter for Holbein. In this three quarter length portrait, the inclusion of a strikingly shallow backdrop intensifies the harshness of Moore’s presence. What makes the portrait even more arresting is Holbein’s use of colour. By incorporating bold areas of green (as a symbol of revelation) and red (signifying power and importance), Holbein was able to perfectly portray his subject’s status as a strong, intellectual figure.
Using Holbein’s painting as a muse, I began to think more about the subject of my own portrait. In recent years I have become accustomed to working with famous faces, but it was my sitting with Sir Patrick that helped to mould my approach and method. Part of this technique is to commit to thorough research. Research is critical when photographing prominent subjects, as more often than not you will find yourself limited to an incredibly short amount of time. After all, these are busy people indeed.
(Left) Holbein’s Portrait of Sir Thomas More, 1527 (Right) Rory Lewis Portrait Sir Patrick Stewart 2014
To begin this pre-emptive research, I look to photographers who have captured the subject previously; grappling with the mathematics of the portrait. (Head shape, good side, bad side. That kind of thing.) If the subject is an actor, I’ll take the time to binge watch any movies and TV Series, watching relentlessly for any details or angles that haven’t caught my attention before.
Studying his profile, I had repeatedly found that Sir Patrick had primarily been photographed as if still embodied by one of his characters. However, Holbein’s portrait had given me the inspiration to portray Sir Patrick quite simply as himself – the thespian. No greens or reds, but simply a black backdrop, pierced by the harsh lighting that I knew would amplify every detail of Sir Patrick’s intense gaze.
My plans and preparation had all led to this moment at Neo Studios in Manhattan; a little jet lagged, but nevertheless ready for one of the most important sittings of my career. Sir Patrick arrived at the studio and (after taking a deep breath) I introduced myself and began to summarise my ideas behind the portrait. I needn’t have been worried. Years of experience with taking direction made for an incredibly smooth start to the session and Sir Patrick remained engaged throughout.
In my style of simplicity, the portrait is all about the ocular. I focused Sir Patricks gaze across the lens, not into it, and an incredibly receptive Sir Patrick rapidly obliged me with a wonderful series of provocatively poised expressions.
After working for just 10 minutes, I was already happy with the results I was getting. This then provided me with the opportunity, for the last few minutes, to experiment and, most importantly, to enjoy my time with this compelling and absorbing subject. Rather than looking to the familiar heroic roles that Stewart’s name is inherently synonymous with, I directed Sir Patrick to assume the fierce, vengeful expressions of a calculated villain.
Rory Lewis Photographer Photographing Sir Patrick Stewart London Portrait Photographer
What emerged from this part of the session was a complex and vigorous character, embodied by energy and animation; a side of Sir Patrick that I thoroughly enjoyed watching unfold in front of my lens.
Though just a short 20 minutes, my sitting with Sir Patrick has been one of the most rewarding of my career so far. The chance to show what I can do and influence other photographers with my style of portraiture; to work with a level of client that consistently interests and inspires my work; and, above all, to work with a true British icon.
Choosing the right equipment for your photoshoots can make your life much easier. Welcome to Rory Recommends a Bi-Weekly Blog Post in which I’ll share my equipment recommendations for Portrait Photography. For myself portability is key, with more than half of my Portrait Sittings taking place on location, at clients offices or in their homes. Collapsable and easy to carry equipment is essential for my work.
As the photographer on the move, the ProFoto kit combines durability with portability and power. For the sittings I used the Pro Foto B2-250 kit which includes the AirTTL Power Pack. The power pack is made for the photographer on the road, and weights just less than 1kg with its Li-Ion battery.
The B2’s twin outlets have a dedicated thumbwheel that allows the package 250Ws of power to be distributed asymmetrically over a 9-stop range in full or 1/10 steps. At 0.7kg, the sturdily-built B2 Off-Camera Flash Heads measure 10.2cm long, and have a 9.9cm diameter fitting into the palm of your hand. A barely-visible umbrella channel runs through the top of the head. My chosen modifiers a pair of Air TTL OCTA’s producing wonderful soft lighting.
To finish a good light meter is essential, you will be surprised, I have taught a great deal of budding photographers in my workshops, and many have never used a light meter. I recommend the Sekonic L-308S, its simple to use and will ensure accuracy in your metering.