David Cameron Prime Minister Portrait Sitting

One of the most challenging sittings of my career, I was recently commissioned to capture a portrait of former Prime Minister David Cameron. Serving as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2016. Brexit has been a challenging time in British Politics, resulting in David Cameron’s resignation. There is a great deal of tension in the UK about Brexit and very mixed feelings about David Cameron as a modern figure in history. I’m no stranger to photographing political figures and former world leaders, having been commissioned last year to photographer former Prime Minister Sir John Major.

I began by looking at other portrait photographers representations of Mr Cameron. I found myself wanting, not many stood out to me as a portraitist. Was this due to him being a difficult sitter?

 

My idea was to capture Mr Cameron as a meditative Statesmen. Brexit has left the UK in very uncertain times, and I wanted to seek inspiration from a portraitist who had recorded political figures during a period of uncertainty. Researching all the greats, I found Sir James Guthrie. Guthrie was a Scottish painter, best known in his own lifetime for his portraiture, although today more generally regarded as a painter of Scottish Realism. Sir James received a commission to paint portraits of all those statesmen who had served in office during the First World War.

(Left) Henry Herbert Asquith, 1st Earl of Oxford and Asquith, (Right) William Ferguson Massey. (National Portrait Gallery Scotland) Sir James Guthrie Artist.

Of all his depictions two sketch studies really stood out, the first that of Herbert Henry Asquith, 1st Earl of Oxford and Asquith 1852 – 1928, a British statesman and Liberal Party politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1908 to 1916. The second of William Ferguson Massey, 1856 – 1925. Prime Minister of New Zealand. The First World War indeed a very trying period in British History. Guthrie, sketched Asquith and Massey in a very complex and meditative state, almost reflecting on the past and career’s as heads of state.

With this inspiration in mind, I explained my ideas to Mr Cameron and he was pleased with the mood board and style of portraiture I wanted to evoke. The session took place in June of this year and from a short sitting of around 30 minutes,  I directed David to assume a series contemplative and thoughtful expressions. David was indeed an easy sitter, inquisitive and delightful to work with.

David Cameron Portrait Sitting (London Portrait Photographer) © Rory Lewis 2018.

These portraits are true to history, as a historian and National Portrait Gallery acquired photographer. Capturing depictions which can be used as historical source material is very important. Like Sir James Guthrie, I’m a realist wanted to create a precise and accurate representation keeping every mark every line and capturing my sitter as a neutral object in history.


Equipment Used

The Chiefs of the Defence Staff

The Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) is the professional head of the British Armed Forces and the most senior uniformed military adviser to the Secretary of State for Defence and the Prime Minister. The Chief of the Defence Staff is based at the Ministry of Defence and works alongside the Permanent Under Secretary, the Ministry’s senior civil servant. The Chief of the Defence Staff is the British equivalent position of what in NATO and the European Union is known as the Chief of Defence.

 

Throughout my career, I have been commissioned to photograph four consecutive Chiefs. From these sittings with senior military figures I have learned a great deal about capturing leadership. I have found myself directing prominent individuals who are used to themselves giving direction to the men and women they command. I have relished the chance to take responsibility and ownership for these historical images of senior military leaders. These portraits will stand the test of time.

Field Marshal Charles Guthrie, Baron Guthrie of Craigiebank, GCB, LVO, OBE, DL

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.

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.

General Sir John Nicholas Houghton GCB, CBE, ADC

General Nicholas Houghton, Baron Houghton of Richmond, GCB, CBE, ADC Gen, former Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) of the British Armed Forces. He was appointed CDS in July 2013, following the retirement of General Sir David Richards. He served as Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion, the Green Howards in Northern Ireland during The Troubles and later became Commander of the 39th Infantry Brigade in Northern Ireland. He deployed as Senior British Military Representative and Deputy Commanding General, Multi-National Force – Iraq during the Iraq War. Later, he became Chief of Joint Operations at Permanent Joint Headquarters and served as Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff until assuming the position of CDS. Houghton retired from the British Army in July 2016, and was succeeded as CDS by Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach.

 

The Generals sitting took place in 2014. On many occasions the General has been Photographed and Painted in his Ceremonial Dress Uniform and wanted to step away from the ceremonial image. General Houghton is regarded as “The Soldiers, Soldier” and Preferred to be Photographed in his Combat Uniform. Shot at at a slightly higher angle, I really wanted to Capture the General’s commanding presence, and with a combination of subtle lighting the images turned out really well.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach KCB, CBE, ADC, DL

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, GBE, KCB, ADC, DL is a senior Royal Air Force officer. After training as a navigator, Peach commanded IX (Bomber) Squadron and then became Deputy Station Commander RAF Bruggen. He was deployed as NATO Air Commander (Forward) in Kosovo in 2000. He went on to be Chief of Defence Intelligence in 2006, Chief of Joint Operations in 2009 and the first Commander of Joint Forces Command in December 2011 before being appointed Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff in May 2013. Peach succeeded General Sir Nick Houghton as Chief of the Defence Staff on 14 July 2016. He succeeded General Petr Pavel as Chairman of the NATO Military Committee on 29 June 2018.

 

Bathed in the illustrious history of Whitehall, we conducted the session in the MOD Building – a perfect location to capture the experience, rank and authority of the subject. Employing direct eye contact with the lens, full military garb and a solemn posture, the frame urges the viewer to look into his eyes, demanding the utmost respect his office dictates.

General Sir Nicholas Carter, KCB, CBE, DSO, ADC Military Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

General Sir Nicholas Carter, KCB, CBE, DSO, ADC Gen is a Kenyan-born senior British Army officer. He served as commanding officer of 2nd Battalion, Royal Green Jackets in which role he was deployed to Bosnia in 1998 and Kosovo in 1999. After service in Afghanistan, he took command of 20th Armoured Brigade in 2004 and commanded British forces in Basra. He was subsequently appointed General Officer Commanding 6th Division, which was deployed to Afghanistan with Carter as Commander ISAFRegional Command South, before he became Director-General Land Warfare. After that he became Deputy Commander Land Forces in which role he was the main architect of the Army 2020 concept. After a tour as Deputy Commander, International Security Assistance Force, he assumed the position of Commander Land Forces in November 2013. In September 2014, he became head of the British Army as Chief of the General Staff succeeding General Sir Peter Wall. In June 2018 he succeeded Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach as Chief of the Defence Staff.

 

The General was in need of a portrait to be placed on the wall of former army leaders. The sitting was indeed very historical as the portrait will be viewed by the General’s successors for many years to come. My aim was to capture the General, as the man he is, a leader, no vanity, no pomp of the dress uniform, tall and proud. I’m looking forward to seeing how the portrait is received.

 

Relying once again on my confidence as a portrait photographer, I was able to bring to the sittings the direction needed. This confidence is key to any of my sittings, both military and in other fields where I need to capture leaders: from business to government. I take the time to produce the finest Portraits, which enable me to create images that display the character, expression, personalty and mood of each sitter. Using expert lighting techniques, direction and inventive scenarios, I will create the very best in Portraiture. I’m now stranger to working with Celebrities, CEO’s, Politicians, Soldiers, Musicians and Professionals.

 

Alternatively To Book Editorial, Political or any other forms of Portraiture. Please Email Me or Call +44 07717 139 637  For Availability. Sessions available London Studios & UK Wide and in Los Angeles (CA) Several Times Per Year.

 

 

Portraitist Open Evening

Thank you to everyone who attended the open evening of Portraitist, at the Wex Photographic Gallery in London. It was a pleasure to share my latest portraiture, with over 100 VIP guests. Including several of the sitters, Steven BerkoffCiarán Hinds, Wolf Kahler and David Bamber. The work drawing immense inspiration not from previous photographers, but from the Masters of Art including Hans Holbein the Younger, Titian, Caravaggio and Jusepe de Ribera. The result is an exciting and fascinating new collection.

Portraitist Exhibition

1st August 2018 – 25th September 2018

WEX Photographic Gallery, 37-39 Commercial Road
London, E1 1LF

Directions

H.R.H Prince Michael of Kent, GCVO, KStJ, CD Portrait Sitting

H.R.H Prince Michael of Kent, GCVO, KStJ, CD is a member of the British Royal Family. He is a paternal first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, being a grandson of King George V and Queen Mary. His Royal Highness commissioned a portrait at the London Studio. The Prince does have an uncanny resemblance to his great grand father Edward VII, in researching his lineage I did come across a portrait which gave me a great deal of inspiration for the sitting. I decided on a profile shot similar to that of Edward VII’s ceremonial portraits. Whilst still maintaining a harshness of lighting. Left (King Edward VII in state robes, about 1905W. & D. Downey) Prince Michael was born during the Second World War on 4 July 1942, at Coppins, Iver, Buckinghamshire. He was the third child of Prince George, Duke of Kent, who was a younger brother of King George VI. At the time of his birth Michael was seventh in the line of Succession to the British throne.

 

Being Colonel of the Kings Royal Hussars, for the first set Prince Michael adorned his regimental uniform. Opting for the Crimson backdrop, I wanted to achieve two things. The first, red is the colour of Royalty, the second crimson is the colour of the Kings Royal Hussars trousers and peak cap.

 

This distinctive feature, which is unique in the British Army, derives from the honour accorded to the 11th Hussars by Prince Albert. The regiment, then based at Canterbury, formed the escort for the Prince from his arrival at Dover, en route to his wedding in London. The Prince so impressed with the bearing and turnout of the troops, he ordered that they should henceforth wear his livery as a mark of distinction.

H.R.H Prince Michael of Kent, GCVO, KStJ, CD London Royal Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

For the second set, His Royal Highness changed into his Household frock coat. Opting for a black backdrop, and harsher lighting, I wanted to create a more ambient and vivid portrait. Using intense chiaroscuro to add both mystery and dutiful emotion. This my first Royal portrait sitting, was a smooth and enjoyable experience. To capture history and tradition are two aims I wanted to achieve as a portraitist, in this special sitting I believe I achieved these goals.

H.R.H Prince Michael of Kent, GCVO, KStJ, CD London Royal Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

 

Soldiery British Army Portraits The National Army Museum 31st January 2018

Two years in the making and Soldiery British Army Portraits opened at The National Army Museum in London on 31st January 2018. It was wonderful to finally hang the work in its rightful home. The event was attended by dozens of guests from sitters who posed for the project to VIP’s and members of the Public. After a reception the guests enjoyed a talk about the project by myself and General Sir James Everard, KCB, CBE.

Soldiery British Army Portraits National Army Museum 31st January 2018

Delighted to show the final work to the Public I listened to their opinions and explained the inspiration behind the portraits. I also had the chance to reconnect with several of the sitters who attended the evening. Now the project is complete I feel sad it’s actually over. Soldiery was a highly enjoyable experience, working with the incredible men and women of The British Army. The exhibition hung till the 14th February engaging 100’s of visitors with my portraiture.

Soldiery British Army Portraits National Army Museum 31st January 2018

Soldiery British Army Portraits National Army Museum 31st January 2018

General Sir James Everard, KCB, CBE (Left), Rory Lewis Photographer (Right)

 

General Sir Nick Carter, KCB, CBE, DSO, ADC Portrait Sitting

My latest Portrait commission from the British Army took place with General Sir Nick Carter, KCB, CBE, DSO, ADC Chief of the General Staff. The General was in need of a portrait to be placed on the wall of former army leaders. The sitting was indeed very historical as the portrait will be viewed by the General’s successors for many years to come. My aim was to capture the General, as the man he is, a leader, no vanity, no pomp of the dress uniform, tall and proud. I’m looking forward to seeing how the portrait is received.

General Sir Nicholas Carter, KCB, CBE, DSO, ADC Military Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

Military Portrait Sittings

Christmas is on the horizon and I’ve received several calls and emails from Armed Forces Personnel and their families, asking if I offer Military Portrait Sittings. The answer is of course yes. Ever since my Soldiery British Army Portraits Exhibition. I’ve worked with members of the British Army for over two years capturing portraits for a Nationwide Exhibition. My unique style of portraiture is highly sought after by members of all three services, The Royal Navy, Royal Airforce and the British Army and I’m offering a wonderful Portrait Photoshoot Gift Voucher. Available in at my studio in Central London and across studios the UK in Leeds, Liverpool and Edinburgh.


£264.00 (Including Framed & Mounted
Print) Portrait Sitting

  • Two Uniform Changes 

  • 250 Images Presented VIA Digital Download

  • Two Fully Retouched Portraits Presented Digitally

  • ONE Portrait PrintedProfessionally Framed and Mounted A3 Size

Processing ...

(Full Booking Details Sent With Gift Voucher)


Based in London Rory Lewis is the UK’s foremost Military Portraitist Photographer, who is regularly commissioned to photograph high profile Military Officers for all three branches of the Military Army, RAF & Royal Navy. Portraits are very important to military personal, to be captured in Uniform looking ones best and in full finery can fill one with pride for the service. Rory Lewis Photographer offers a comprehensive service to Members of the Armed Forces, RAF, Royal Navy and Army who are looking to capture a professional portrait. Available at studios in Central London, Edinburgh and in Central Liverpool.

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.

Portraiture is Rory’s speciality, he is just as comfortable working with High Ranking Officers as I am with NCO’s and Enlisted Personnel, and you will find my friendly and professional approach helps put even the most photo-phobic at ease.

Rory Recommends

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.

 

Lets start with backdrops. Lastolite supply a wonderful selection of Collapsable/Reversible Backdrops. For the portrait photographer on the move they are an ideal solution, folding down to a manageable size. On a recent series of political and celebrity portrait photoshoots with Sir John Major and Breaking Bad/Scarface Actor Mark Margolis I utilised Lastolite’s new Background Smoke/Concrete and the old faithful Grey/White.

Sir John Major Photographed on Background Smoke/Concrete

The Smoke/Concrete backdrop has two different sides providing an artistic and vivid industrial effect. Since using it on portrait sittings it has made a real difference in sales. Don’t forget to pickup the Magnetic Backdrop Stand

Mark Margolis Actor Photographed on Background Grey/White

Utilising a medium format camera has its advantages, but it is rather heavy. Traveling between London & Los Angeles, I wanted to find a light weight tripod. Carbon Fibre seemed to be the best option. However, you find these types of tripods can be quite expensive. Doing my research I found the Manfrotto 190 Go. A very reasonable £299.00 it became the answer to my problems. This lightweight solution delivers on durability and precision with its tilt motion assistance, it weighs a light 1kg!

Transporting my lighting equipment has always presented me with a problem. I have never been happy with bags for my lighting stands and heads, and have often resorted to using a standard suitcase to transport my gear. The Manfrotto MB PL-LW-88W Rolling Organizer has become my bag of choice. This medium-sized water-repellent Pro-Light Rolling Lighting Gear Organizer from Manfrotto holds six Mini Compact Stands, two flash heads and two reflectors between padded, touch-fastened dividers inside the zippered main compartment, which is 33.1″ long. For accessories, there is a front exterior zip pocket, and two interior zippered lid pockets. You can carry the bag using the side grip handle or the two rear transport wheels and the top grip handle. Its sleek and easy to transport on the London Tube!

Rory Recommends (Must Have Portrait Photography Gear)

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.

 

Lets start with backdrops. Lastolite supply a wonderful selection of Collapsable/Reversible Backdrops. For the portrait photographer on the move they are an ideal solution, folding down to a manageable size. On a recent photoshoot with The Paratroopers, I utilised Lastolite’s, Virginia/Kentucky Dyed Collapsible Background. The backdrop has two different sides providing an artistic and vivid burn orange effect. Don’t forget to pickup the Magnetic Backdrop Stand

Pvt Brooks 3PARA 3rd Battalion, Parachute Regiment. Virginia/Kentucky Dyed Collapsible Background.

Next a few handy accessories; firstly my preferred Camera Case. Often during photography workshops delegates always ask what bags do you use? My answer the Peli 1510, make sure you pick up the dividers, the to replace the internal foam supplied. I find the internal foam always falls to bits from regular use. You can also pickup a handy laptop pouch kit for your iPad and Wires. I’ve been using this for more that a year now. The 1510 is one strong case, truly water proof, robust and rigid. The wheels are of very good quality, I’ve dragged this case all over the world across pavements, and fields.

Lately I have been wanting to capture behind the scenes footage of my photoshoots, especially photographing Tanks and visiting interesting locations. Mostly I use my trusted iPhone 7.  However, I needed something to mount it to a tripod. I found a very handy little tool for mounting the iPhone to my Manfrotto Tripod.  The Mudder Universal Smartphone Adaptor, fits any smart phone to your tripod with a generic screw fit.

 

Mudder Universal Smartphone Holder Mount Monopod Tripod Adapter

Another handy tripod adaptor, is the Manfrotto Universal Tripod Mount with Adapter for the GoPro Hero. I recently invested in a Go Pro Hero 5 Session, again to capture behind the scenes footage. This handy tool attaches the go pro to any Tripod or Monopod.