The difference a year makes: Generals, Actors, Sports Personalities and Politicians. Photographing the essence of character.
Portraiture is now the name of my game: 2014 has certainly been an incredible journey of discovery and growth as well as artistic truth and relevance. I feel refreshed in my work and have enjoyed the wonderful success of the last 12 months, I’m looking forward to the ‘onwards and upwards’ both professionally and personally – these are exciting times for Rory Lewis Photography. Thank you to my wife, family and colleagues for their support as I’ve made these developments. The beauty of an artist is the ability to experiment and ‘play’. I have been more determined than ever to realise this – that through experimentation I can learn, and most importantly deliver at a higher level. In the continual bid to hone my own Unique Style I am continually refining my ideas, my inspiration and my direction. Beginning the year with a ‘make or break’ attitude having spent too long spreading myself too thinly professionally and knowing something had to change. 2014 has been that year, seeing a more balanced but more worthwhile focus, by concentrating on where my passion lies – Portraiture.
I was ecstatic when my Portrait of Actor David Warner was acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in London. I built on this public recognition of my work by having a wide range of Celebrity Portrait Sessions throughout the year. Expansion was essential, no longer am I just to be found in the North West UK, but in both London and New York. Back in 2004, when I began my career in Fashion Photography, it was the way forward, the path to photography and career success. I enjoyed the recognition of publication, in magazines, newspapers and catalogues, often being called upon by various Fashion Labels to photography their collection. But with maturity and artistic credibility, I gradually fell out of love with the ‘easy’ road. It no longer sits easily on my personal character, and the discomfort grew as I was struggling to be myself in what I felt was an elitist superficial world of photography. I was failing to be true to myself, my personality, and importantly, my artistic style. Artistically I wanted my work to be a reflection of reality, a mirror of truth.
This led me to real people leading real lives and portraying them in a real way. I can become absorbed in the story of someone and relish the challenge of reflecting their emotions and character through Portraiture. So farewell Fashion Photographing, and welcome to Portraiture, of Generals, Actors, Artists, Sports Personalities, and Politicians.
I began to conceive the idea of my Northern Portrait Exhibition very early in the year and was thrilled with its ultimate success. Northerners started out as a small local project yet soon became a National Exhibition featuring actors, sports personalities, artists and politicians from the North. A blend of story, history and personality, drawn together by Northern Roots, now transcending the globe, offered an opportunity to travel to bring this unique collection together. Big names, big characters, big achievements such as Sir Patrick Stewart, Sir Ian McKellen, Craig Charles, Emma Rigby, General Sir Nicholas Houghton, and many other prominent figures.
This was a truly fascinating project. Sponsored by Calumet Photographic and held in aid of the worthwhile cause UNICEF, the exhibition moved from Liverpool in July, to Manchester in October, and finally to London in November. The project was not only a developmental and artistic learning curve for me, but led to me feeling more comfortable in my own Unique Style, and this is now reflected in my work. I was thrilled when the BBC, various other television companies and the National Press all featured the Project giving the project not just local, but national recognition.
For clients such as Pepsi, I have enjoyed a wide range of Commercial Photography assignments, which have included Portraiture such as a commission to photograph successful and advertorial big-name footballer, Luis Suarez. Knowing that Rory Lewis images are being used in such high profile promotional campaigns, including posters as well as drinks bottles and cans, has been a fun and enjoyable part of my year. With the brief to create fierce portraits blended with Rock Star Style stills, I couldn’t wait to get started. It was an opportunity to direct and create a shoot in tune with my artistic desires
Travel has been an inevitable, but enjoyable, by-product of the shift in my photographic direction. My passport has been ranking up the miles with trips to Spain, Morocco, Italy, New York, Ireland and the USA. Good Old Blighty is home, but these trips have been enriching and given my work influence both cultural and socially. Take a quick peek at some of my travel snaps here.
On a personal level I haven’t just seen a seismic shift in the nature of my work and my creative style, but 2014 has been a year of highs as it was also the year I married my incredible wife, Alexandra, who has supported and nurtured my professional change. Still based in Liverpool despite spreading my wings, this year also brought the opportunity to extend my home-grown roots by opening my new Photographic Studio in the heart of Liverpool.
2014 saw a continuation of my desire to offer Photography Workshops. A key joy for any creative person is to share and nurture a passion in others. I am grateful to be able to do this, whilst partnered with Calumet Academy, as well as extending the locations of my Courses to additionally include not only Liverpool, but London, Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Belfast. Wherever you are in the UK, Rory Lewis Photography Courses can be there! I enjoy imparting what I have learned and discovered to others: from lighting techniques to directional skills, it really is a joy to work with aspiring photographers, and the feedback has been nice to hear too! It’s been good for my ego, knowing I can use my skill and self-development to help develop others. I’ll be forever grateful for reviews such as the following from Amateur Photographer Denis Dame who attended one of my Portraiture Workshops:
“Rory is a fantastic and patient instructor and answered all our questions no matter how basic or advanced. I took nearly 400 images throughout the day and was mentally drained and excited because we covered so much. A fantastic value for the amount of hands-on course work and topics we covered. Rory was able to get us all taking great images.
I have been an amateur photographer for years, but this was my first time using studio lighting for portraits with models. I had expected only one model, but Rory had hired three fantastic models. All had their own great characteristics, which allowed us to experiment with lighting to see the effects given different facial features. Rory demonstrated the use of several one and two light set-ups, and allowed us to take several images from each. Additionally, we used different back drops, and reflectors. We had hands-on opportunities to use a light meter and set up the studio lights to the proper power and distance. We learned about how to diffuse the lighting and control it with a honeycomb.
He also demonstrated how he captured many famous actors that are a part of his Northerners Portrait Project to support UNICEF. A noble effort. We were able to create similar images during the course.
We learned how to work with models and direct them to help create amazing images and moods. By the end of the course we all had gained confidence in working with good models.
I would highly recommend the course to people that have never worked with models, or studio lights. If you have worked with models and were not quite sure how to direct the scene, then this is also a great course.
Well done and I hope to take another class in the near future.”
So here’s to 2015 and my onwards and upwards! I am looking forward to extending my programme of courses to make them more extensive whilst focusing on my true love of Portraiture, from Beginners, to Intermediate, as well as a course in advanced Location Portraiture Lighting. You’ll still find me offering Art Nude Photography Courses, with a special Hasselblad Art Nude Session, allowing delegates to try out the superb Hasselblad H5D Camera System, an opportunity not to be missed.
Whilst also arranging photoshoots with models, dancers and actors throughout 2014, I’ve loved the new creative and practical expansion and vision of Rory Lewis Photography. From helping new models and actors find their first footings in their chosen fields. I’m glad to still be the photographer of choice for many of the UK’s top agencies. I’ve come to learn that I can still be true to myself in all shoots by offering a comprehensive service based on high quality pictures achieved through my no-time-limit ethos. My clients are not rushed, nor do they receive a hard sell, just good honest portraiture at its best. From sessions with Game of Thrones actors, screen legends Julian Glover and Iain Glen, to the industry newbies, my heart now truly resides in Portraiture.
See you in 2015, but before I go, take a sneak peek at my new Exhibition Expressive that will take place at the end of the year. Whether Stateside or on home turf, I look forward to seeing you there.
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.
At the Beginning of November Fuji, supplied me with a test model of their new XT1 and 56mm F1.2 Portrait Lens I have been itching to try the 56mm Lens and as a Professional Portrait Photographer I favour Fixed Prime Lenses for all my Sittings using the Hasselblad 100mm F2.2 Lens £3088.00 (Calumet Photographic) a great deal. However, the Fuji 56mm is an outstanding piece of glass comparable with its’ Medium Format and Full Frame Counterparts.
A user of the Fuji X System from the beginning, I originally invested in the X20 then later purchasing the XPro 1. Fuji just seems to be going from Strength to Strength with its X Series Lenses. The 56mm is a high quality short telephoto prime, it delivers equivalent coverage of 84mm, which is both flattering for portrait photography and also useful for capturing tighter views than a standard lens. Meanwhile the bright f1.2 focal ratio gathers twice as much light as a lens at f1.8, making it ideal in low light situations, while also delivering shallower depth of field effects, again perfect for portrait work or isolating any subject against a blurred background.
The chance came to put the Lens to test, with two Portraiture Sittings in London, featuring Game of Thrones, Stars Julian Glover above and Iain Glen Below. Both where taken in a Studio using the XT1, 56mm F1.2 and Pro Foto B1’s. As you can see the quality of the 56mm is comparable with its Full Frame and Medium Format Counterparts. The Lens is extremely sharp even at Low Apertures and delivers high quality images. Fuji’s X Series Camera’s and Lenses are well worth a look at even if you are considering a Professional Portrait Camera.
Actor Tino, booked a session at my Liverpool Studio this week. Tino is about to apply for a place at the New York Film Academy. Working with Aspiring Actors and new Talent is an exciting prospect. This was Tino’s first sitting, and Tino like many young actors was unsure on how to pose for his headshot session. Over the years I have developed my own unique style of working with Actors. Ensuring Sessions are relaxed and enjoyable; using ‘inventive scenarios‘ and direction, to create natural approachable headshots. I always like to start with a few test shots which we can view on the computer so that any necessary changes can be made. We then work in the studio for a time, this gives you a chance to get a feel of how I work and I can find out what works best for you. clothing and hair styles can be changed whenever needed. (A Makeup Artist can be provided if Needed). From time to time I will show you photos so you have a clear idea of what is going on.
After another coffee break I take more studio shots using a different background. Throughout the shoot we will aim to get as many looks as we can, with clothes, different hair styles, angles and emotions. The session will last around Two Hours and in that time I will take about 500 photos, which will be cut down to around 200/220. I shoot in colour and convert into black and white so if you require any colour shots this is not a problem. You will receive your contact sheets on-line via this website within 24 hours. Once you have chosen your two photos I will re-touch and crop them for you and changes can be made before you receive your final photos. With regards to airbrushing, I feel this is a very important area as too much can spoil a photo, this is why I spend a great deal of time working on your photos and like to include you in this process via email or your private page so please make sure you pick the right photos. You will receive all final photos by via your private page.
Tino Booked My Package One Session in Liverpool, I have TWO Comprehensive Packages Available. I run sessions every month in Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, and London. To Arrange Your Session, please checkout my Actors Headshots Page.
Lister! “Sorry ‘i’m a Red Dwarf Fan”……. Craig Charles star of Coronation Street, Red Dwarf and Robot Wars, recently sat for a portrait session in Manchester. Craig was in need of new promotional material for his DJ and Radio Work. I am no stranger to working with Musicians, DJ”s and Talent. After a chat about the style of imagery Craig was looking to achieve. I set to work with a Low Key Portraiture Lighting Setup. It was a pleasure to work with Craig on the project, and from a short 45 minute sitting I was able to capture some amazing frames. Craig is about the enter the Jungle, In ‘I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!‘ and I wish him the best of luck. If you are a Musician, DJ or a Talent in need of a good Photographer please keep me in mind. I run sessions across the UK from Liverpool, to Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow and London.
For syndication enquiries please contact Darren Hendry on 0207 711 7820 ( Direct) / 0207 711 7888 ( Office) / 07826 532197 ( Mobile) or firstname.lastname@example.org
If his stellar performance as the wandering wizard Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit isn’t enough to convince you of Sir Ian McKellen’s formidable acting talent, then his scene-stealing turn as Magneto in the X-Men series; his six Laurence Olivier Awards; and overall contribution to British stage and screen, certainly will. He is also the single most acclaimed British theatrical personage of our time.
I invited Sir Ian to sit for a portrait session while he and Sir Patrick Stewart were performing Waiting for Godot in the Cort Theatre in New York and was flabbergasted when he accepted. I travelled to Sir Ian’s home in London where I felt truly humbled to photograph this titan of the stage in his own surroundings – he even had Gandalf’s sword hanging on a clothing rack like an umbrella! I was faced with the curious task of celebrating an immeasurable acting talent and so I sat and pondered for a minute. We drew inspiration from his prominence as a Shakespearian performer and decided on a style of portrait reminiscent of the renaissance artist, Holbein, using lighting to preserve the intimate detail and wisdom found in his expression.
In a short thirty minute session, I managed to compose myself keep from gushing about Sir Ian’s incredible career, but I was no less in awe of his presence; his gentlemanly charm; and his total dominance in front of the camera. With the support of Calumet Photographic Rental, I photographed Sir Ian McKellen with Hasselblad H4D-40 Camera & 100 F/2.2 which is one of the best Fixed Prime Portrait Lenses i’ve used. Calumet Rental is a true resource for the Photographer with a wide range of equipment on offer, and located two locations in the centre of London on Drummond Street and Wardour Street.
“Thank you for the easiest Photoshoot ever!”
Sir Ian McKellen
Mae Martin began writing and performing comedy at tender age of 13. In the 11 years since then she has cemented her place in the Canadian comedy scene, appearing on television and radio across the country. She has been nominated for two Canadian Comedy Awards, and was the youngest ever nominee for the prestigious Tim Sims Encouragement Fund Award. Her television credits include MuchMusic’s Video On Trial, Global Television’s “Global Comedians” (alongside Maria Bamford, Jon Dore, Dave Foley, James Smith and Matt Kirshen) and The Comedy Network’s “Cream of Comedy. Mae has been based in the UK since late 2010 and has performed at comedy clubs across the country plus gigs in Germany. She took a very successful debut show to Edinburgh in 2011 and returns each year with ‘Mae Day’. Mae hosts her own night at the famous Candy Bar in Soho. I met Mae through her agency who contacted me to arrange a photoshoot. Mae needed a set of updated images for her Edinburgh Fringe Festival Promotional Material.
Olympic Gymnast Beth Tweddle, sat for Portrait Photoshoot at my Liverpool Studio this week. Beth is the most successful British gymnast, in the history of the sport. She was the first female gymnast from Great Britain to win a medal at the European Championships, World Championships, and Olympic Games.
Brian Cox, CBE is a Scottish actor who initially gained recognition for his portrayal of King Lear with the Royal Shakespeare Company. As well as being a talented thespian, he has also made a solid name for himself in major Hollywood productions such as X-Men 2, Troy and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. He was also the first man to play Hannibal Lector on-screen, in the 1986 Michael Mann film, Manhunter. I cannot begin to state the awe I felt when Brian Cox – even more so when he turned up for our London shoot on the back of a scooter. Having the star of my favourite episode of Hammer House of Horror, the Silent Scream, sitting and posing for me was such a treat – it really makes your job as a photographer that little bit easier when you work with an actor who can tell a whole story with just one look. He is such a funny and pleasant man who, at the same time, has such a commanding aura about him. I had an absolute blast working with him in what was a truly humbling experience.