Armed Forces Day Liverpool Private View Saturday 24th June 2017 Raised £2503,00 for the Army Benevolent Fund
- 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
The British Army is a diverse and proud organisation with a cherished heritage. ‘Soldiery’, both as a portraiture exhibition, and its subsequent book, has been a project that focused on historically documenting the modern British Military in a contemporary reflection of historical portraiture of days gone by. Professional Portraitist Rory Lewis has collaborated closely with the Army in a busy schedule of hundreds of military portrait sittings. The results feature the Army’s Leaders and Soldiers from a range of iconic regiments. Each depicts the unique identity of the regiment and rank. Rory’s initial aim was both historic and ambitious, and he has succeeded in creating an exhibition and book of the project.
Soldiery, as a portrait photography project, has been a labour of dedication for over a year. Rory has been required to visit a dozen geographically, and militarily, diverse regiments. He’s travelled the length and breadth of the nation to complete over 250 portrait sittings. Rory could be found directing shoots in Fort George in Inverness one week, to Buckingham Palace and the MOD Headquarters in Whitehall the next. The portraits took in esteemed individuals from The Royal Lancers one day, before shooting the Household Cavalry, the Gurkhas, or the Parachute Regiment the next. And let’s not forget the important hive of military activity at the Army Headquarters in Andover, and a hop over the channel to Paderborn in Germany.
Within each site, each regiment, each diverse and esteemed group, are those who stand out even further. Soldiery has captured the likes of Lt. General Mark Poffley in the halls of Whitehall – who has served for 31 years and seen every major conflict throughout that time – and Lt. General Sir James Everard who is Commander Army Land Forces, photographed at the Army Headquarters in Andover.
Soldiery had a wide and ambitious scope: to capture the ‘greats’ of our military in a contemporary yet timeless portrait collection, which will serve as a historical record of the British Army in the early 21st Century. Soldiery is, in essence, living history. It includes military men and women who are both esteemed, renowned, and proud. Importantly, it captures several of the Army’s Generals and the Senior Staff. Soldiery is the British Army in all its regimental glory. Rory Lewis’ work has drawn on inspiration from the portrait paintings of famous military artist George Dawe, who completed no less than 342 portraits of Russian Generals.
“Just by looking into the eyes of the men and women you can see those soldiers who have just passed out looking fresh-faced and ready for action, and then look at those who have been veterans of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan with more experienced and vivid emotions.” This is Army life through the lens. Each portrait depicts a different story.
Behind the Scenes
The General Staff
Sutherland once quipped “Accuracy is Truth”. A degree in history and a passion for all things historical and military shows in Rory Lewis’ work on Soldiery – detail and accuracy have been crucial to getting results. He takes pride in capturing “every line, mark, and scar” in order to hint at the story behind the military figure. Direction in the Soldiery project has involved a skilled photographer’s hand and character in order to capture the vivid yet solemn and emotionless expressions that make for historical accuracy. The photographer as a facilitator is a crucial role to play. Heroism and a sense of responsibility is naturally defined in these regiments, and getting this across through the lens is crucial for a project of Soldiery’s scope.
For a history and military enthusiast, this project has combined passion and artistry and allowed for a unique experience travelling the country from Fort George in Inverness to the Yorkshire Dales and then south to London, Andover and Aldershot. Working with the men and women of the Army, you quickly discover how diverse the military is. Through the Soldiery project, Rory has met soldiers from all over the world, including Malawi, Zimbabwe, Canada and Australia. Each and every regiment is unique, almost like its own tribe, with its own uniform, traditions and heritage. Each proud of their identity, both past, present and future.
A heartfelt ‘thank-you’ must be extended to the following Regiments who have sat for the exhibition thus far:
Exhibitions will be held in Aid of ABF The Soldiers’ Charity
National Charity of the British Army and provides financial and practical support to soldiers, veterans, and their immediate family in times of need, even after they have left the Army.