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