My Cinematic Inspiration

Creativity is inspired in many ways, but certain genres lend themselves to a more perfect collaboration, and for me this is film and photography. Harking back to the old days, a Photographer’s skill was reliant on interpretation on film, and the blend between Photographic and Cinematic experience makes more sense. The two go hand in hand. Cinema inspired me to take up Photography, and the Art of Cinematography is not lost in Photography. For me, as a Photographer, this inspiration is personified in the actors who are central to the film and its success.

Rory Lewis Photographer Photographing Sir Patrick Stewart London Portrait Photographer

Rory Lewis Photographer Photographing Sir Patrick Stewart London Portrait Photographer

It can be a mysterious world being behind the lens, both in film and photography, but whereas the film has its own dedicated director, for a Portrait Photographer you are both Director and Cameraman rolled in to one. First and foremost, before anything else, the Portrait Photographer needs to be a Director of People. If you don’t direct the shoot, it will show: you can’t fulfil the brief or relay your inspiration. The Portrait is the mirror image of my thoughts and feelings, reflected back for the viewer’s interpretation. It takes a good actor to get the best out of Portrait Photography, to be able to understand direction, feel what I am feeling or trying to say with the Portraiture.

In the Studio David Warner & Rory Lewis Photographer

In the Studio David Warner & Rory Lewis Photographer

For me this makes for a wonderful experience each and every time I get to work on a sitting with an actor. Portrait Photography and Actors are a marriage made in heaven. Therefore I have made it my business to undertake sittings with many of the talented actors who themselves have inspired my career. Actors who have inspired me include: Sir Lawrence Olivier, Sir John Gielgud, Peter O’Toole…who have their roots in the greatest acting establishments such as RADA, LAMDA and the Italia Conti Academy.

 

This has led to me, over the last two years, dedicating nearly a third of my time to personal Portrait Projects. I am continuously striving to set up new shoots with the people who have fuelled my own inspiration. The result is some incredible experiences and incredible work representing some of the most notable portrait sittings and finding their essence in the movie clips that gave me a hunger for portraiture. I strongly believe that all Photographers should take time out to watch these films and discover the feelings they evoke.

 

Hoping I’m not hiding an inner-psychopath, it’s the villainous characters that seem to hold the most allure for me. When I was younger I found an ability to relate to intellectual villains with a thirst for power, often with pasts strewn with tragedy and abandonment. As a child I would become attached to these fictional characters as if they were comrades. I’d become genuinely upset if they were killed. I was the ‘odd kid’ who wasn’t automatically drawn to the hero. I think I was drawn to the charismatic and empathy-inducing villains as they had so many more layers to their characters. The dramatic effect worked on me. To be an actor playing a villain also requires a degree of complexity rarely found elsewhere, and therefore their acting is likely to have inspired both stage and screen, making them the very people I want to work with.

 

Sir Ian McKellen:

Sir Ian McKellen London Portrait Photographer Rory LewisAccolades don’t get much greater than those poured on this screen legend. Twice nominated for an Oscar, and a recipient of every major theatrical award in the UK and US, he is exceptionally regarded as the single most acclaimed British theatrical talent of our time. I am transported back for inspiration to his portrayal of Richard III. Juxtaposed on a 1930’s timeline, the movie uses the play to evoke the fascism of that time, and the cinematography of Peter Biziou is simply awe-inspiring. McKellen as this legendary Shakespearian villain occupies this dastardly role like a poisonous spider in its web luring in its prey. This tortured villain comes to life in the embodiment of Sir Ian McKellen. Universally loathed, while loathing himself. A hunchback, he looks in the mirror in the play’s first scene and describes himself:

Sir Ian McKellen Rory Lewis Photographer

Sir Ian McKellen Rory Lewis Photographer

“Deformed, unfinished, sent before my time in to this breathing world, scarce half made up, and that so lamely and unfashionable that dogs bark at me as I halt by them.”

I invited Sir Ian to sit for me at a Portrait Session whilst he and Sir Patrick Stewart were performing Waiting for Godot in the Cort Theatre in New York. I was most definitely flabbergasted when he accepted. I was fortunate enough to travel to his home in London where I felt truly humbled to photograph this titan of the stage in his own surroundings. The little boy in me was jumping up and down with glee to see Gandalf’s sword hanging on a clothing rack like an umbrella! The enormity of the task and sense of responsibility before me hit me. I drew inspiration from his prominence as a Shakespearian performer and decided on a style of Portraiture reminiscent of the Renaissance Artist, Holbein, using lighting in such a way to preserve the intimate detail and wisdom found in his expression.

 

Steven Berkhoff:

Steven Berkoff Portrait Sitting LondonSteven Berkhoff is a well-renowned genius of the stage as well as being a successful playwright and director, continually setting the benchmark for stunning and intense performances on both the stage and screen. Known best for his villainous roles, I was inspired by his stellar performance as Hitler in 1988’s War and Remembrance. He fought off stiff competition for the role, and ultimately it was the right casting choice. He recalls: “As soon as I put on that strange little moustache, everything clicked. I look astonishingly like him and after my audition, Dan Curtis, the director, just sat there stunned. He more or less gave me the part on the spot.” (The Guardian Desperately Seeking Hitler)

The result is that Berkoff’s portrait of the psychotic and demonic Hitler is breath-taking. Viewers are shockingly mesmerised as they watch this psychopathic tale of history unfold. I was particularly struck by the intensely compelling scene where Rommel (Hardy Krüger) accuses Hitler in regard to the Concentration Camps. Berkoff inhabits the role of Hitler is a vicious and despotic response. You can’t fail but be struck by it.

Steven Berkoff (Rory Lewis Photographer) (2015)

Steven Berkoff (Rory Lewis Photographer) (2015)

As for my Portrait Sitting with Berkhoff, I arrived at Steven’s London home a little apprehensive over what to expect, this psychopathic portrayal lingering in my subconscious mixing with rumours that he was difficult to work with. His reputation as the ‘go-to bad guy’ had in all reality put the fear of God in to me! It soon became apparent that my nervousness was unfounded, and it was an absolute treat to sit and work with this seasoned veteran.

 

David Warner:

NPG x138151; David Warner by Rory LewisDiversely building an acting career known for playing both romantic leads and sinister villainous characters, on both stage and screen, David Warner had been top of my list for a portrait sitting for many years. Simply put, he is my favourite actor. As a child, I recall falling in love with the movie Time Bandits, in which David played ‘Evil’. Somewhat later, my father introduced me to his love of Western movies and I was introduced to The Ballad of Cable Hogue. In this, David played the character or a wandering minister named Reverend Joshua Duncan Sloan under the direction of Sam Peckinpah – known for his explicit depiction of action and violence – in this instance through the medium of a western filled with music and comedy. The role played by Warner was a Minister of his own volition through which Joshua pursues his passion ruthlessly seducing emotionally vulnerable women.

David Warner Rory Lewis Celebrity Portrait Photographer

Warner himself has successfully avoided sitting for a portrait since Cecil Beaton had coaxed him in to it back in 1964 when Warner was just 24 years old. Now at 72, with his acting career firmly under his belt, I wanted to capture this more seasoned and experienced persona for my Northerners Portrait Exhibition. I was treated to a memorable sitting whereby Warner rose to the challenge in astonishing fashion, creating expressions with emotions that entrance the viewer. I was thrilled when, after the session, the National Portrait Gallery acquired one of the images for their permanent collection.

 

Ian McShane:

From Lovejoy to Deadwood, from a lawless saloon owner to the sexiest of beastly British mobsters, award-winning actor Ian McShane has, time and again, captured the public’s attention by playing bad guys, scoundrels and thieves. His enthusiasm for villainous parts was summed up when he ardently declared “The devil has the best tunes!” His Lancastrian voice, described as “syrup on sandpaper”, is instantly recognisable and transports you to a dastardly portrayal of whichever character he is turning his hand to now.

 

Ian McShane (Rory Lewis Photographer) (2015)

Ian McShane (Rory Lewis Photographer) (2015)

Personally, I most admire Ian for his role as the late 19th Century brothel-keeper and bar owner, Al Swearengen, in the HBO series Deadwood. For me this was McShane’s best and most complex role which he inhabited with utmost gusto.

Ian McShane (Rory Lewis Photographer) (2015)

Ian McShane (Rory Lewis Photographer) (2015)

With his strong Blackburn roots, McShane was a must for my Northerners Portrait Exhibition. I made contact with Ian’s agency and struck lucky as he was currently in London promoting his new film Cuban Fury. It was an amazing experience to photograph him, with quips and jibes such as “You’ll have to pay me for that!” when I jokingly asked him to give me the Al Swearengen look. Plain, simple expression was my theme for the Portrait Session, shot on black backdrops, to truly capture the texture and character of Ian McShane.

 

Julian Glover:

Being the self-confessed Sci-Fi nerd that I am, capturing Julian Glover in Portrait was essential. A screen-legend, we can reel off a list of roles including great names such as Star Wars; Bond Films; Indiana Jones. Since 2011 he has played the ongoing role of Grand Maester Pycelle in Game of Thrones. This is his role that fascinates me the most. Here is a complex character who appears weak and fragile, yet a true fan is treated to deleted scenes showing there is more to him that we think.

Julian Glover Actor Portrait Rory Lewis Photographer

Julian Glover Actor Portrait (Rory Lewis Photographer) 2015

Julian Glover (Rory Lewis Photographer) 2015

Julian Glover Actor Portrait (Rory Lewis Photographer) 2015

With such a strong and diverse acting background, I wanted to bring this through in my work with him. At the beginning of the session we sat down to discuss the shoot and the direction it would take. We decided to draw on his role at the time where he was starring in the Scottsboro Boys, a powerful West-End musical charting the story of a group of nine black teenagers, brought together by fate in a case which sparked the American Civil Rights movement. Adding this to his vast number of villainous roles over the year, I decided to focus on two juxtaposing looks: the plain, simple and thoughtful character portrait, and the villainous opposite side of the coin.

 

Iain Glen:

Iain Glenn ActorWith Scots roots in film, television and stage, Iain Glen is an actor of domineering proportions. Best known for his roles in the Resident Evil film, and for portraying Ser Jorah Mormont in Game of Thrones, his is no stranger to our screens. Admiring his career over many years, his dark portrayal of Resident Evil’s Dr Alexander Isaacs stands out most to me. In charge of the Nemesis Program of the Umbrella Corporation, Glen plays an eminently cool, yet evil, scientist. I was thrilled that Iain accepted my invitation for a shoot and the session took place in London last month with Iain arriving, by bike, at the London Portrait Studio. As always, I had done my ‘homework’ in order to start conversation, put him at ease, and get the best from the shoot. Iain in respect conveyed his admiration of my recent portraits of Sir Patrick Stewart and wanted his images to be lit in the same style.

 

Iain Glen (Rory Lewis Photographer) (2015)

Iain Glen (Rory Lewis Photographer) (2015)

The shoot commenced, creating striking frames, with Iain enthusiastically posing without requiring direction towards the end. The result was that I was able to capture a selection of truly spontaneous images which really stand out as unique and capturing this essence of this prominent actor.

 

William Shatner:

It’s no secret that I am a Trekkie. Therefore, as a Portrait Photographer, I was desperate to undertake a shoot with William Shatner, famous for his role as Captain Kirk. From the age of 7 this is an actor who has captured my imagination through his screen-presence.

William Shatner (Rory Lewis Photographer) (2015)

William Shatner (Rory Lewis Photographer) (2015)

One of his lesser-known roles was as Adam Cramer in the 1962 American film ‘The Intruder’ where Shatner played a mischievously villainous part where he powerfully and manipulatively incites townspeople to racial violence. The introductory scene to the character of Cramer has him confidently stepping off a bus: the self-assurance is innate and stays with him throughout. The audience sees a charmer and begins to be drawn in to his thrall before it becomes apparent this is a tool achieve an end, ultimately to politically affect masses and incite racial violence. This role struck me with power through Shatner’s depiction.

Therefore, when I was afforded the opportunity to work with Shatner in Los Angeles, I could barely contain my glee let alone my professional image. It took a few deep breaths on spotting him at his office, to commence the task of setting up my Portable Studio Kit. With a number of different ideas floating in my mind, I explained to Bill that I was aiming to achieve a simple expressive look. His reply “I don’t do plain” jokingly left me re-describing it as ‘emotionless’. The result was a series of wonderful expressions that capture his essence perfectly.

William Shatner (Rory Lewis Photographer) (2015)

William Shatner (Rory Lewis Photographer) (2015)

With a lighting change, I then directed Shatner to a more fierce look. In the majority of his roles he has been the hero, instead I wanted to capture the inner villain. Joking that playing the hero won him the girl, we had fun turning the expectations on their head, and photographing a different side.

 

This was a remarkable shoot for me and a wonderful experience. Having the opportunity to photograph an icon is indescribable.

 

Andrew Robinson:

Continuing in the Trekkie theme, Andrew Robinson was a strong contender for my Expressive Portraits Exhibition following his role as Garak in Deep Space Nine. For me, this desire was strengthened by his notoriety for his role at the first psychopathic killer, Scorpio, from Dirty Harry, as well as playing the part of Larry Cotton in the horror film Hellraiser.

Andrew Robinson (Rory Lewis Photographer) (2015

Andrew Robinson (Rory Lewis Photographer) (2015

On a personal level, the role in Dirty Harry struck me most profoundly. The film begins with one of the coolest opening sequences in any thriller. Perched on the roof of a San Francisco skyscraper, Scorpio with wild hair and piercing blue eyes takes aim as a sniper targeting a young woman in a rooftop pool. With the unforgettable theme tune standing as a backdrop, the anticipation building for the inevitable shot creates a sense of dread, and once delivered we receive a real gut-punch.

This scene played in my mind as a met Andy. I discovered he had once shared a room at LAMDA with Brian Cox who I had photographed last year. The sense was one of completeness that these two eminent figures had been captured in my Portrait Photography. The shoot with Robinson was one of ease and achievement: he is a natural in front of the camera and at ease with the non-transient nature of Portrait Photography, a complete change from his usual depiction on film. The result is that the images capture the essence of this incredible actor as a true reflection of all he is and has achieved.

 

Brian Cox:

A talented thespian, he has also made a solid name for himself in major Hollywood productions such as X-Men 2Troy 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. The role which stands out the most in my eyes was Cox’s portrait of Nazi War Criminal Goering in the TV dramatisation of The Nuremberg Trials. Cox had to learn what drives some men to carry out unspeakable deeds, and portray an unrelenting man.

Brian Cox Actor Rory Lewis Portrait Photographer

Brian Cox Actor (Rory Lewis Portrait Photographer) (2015)

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.

 

Sir Patrick Stewart:

When I was an 8 year old boy, Captain Jean Luc Picard was my boyhood hero. As I grew up, but retained my love of all things Star Trek, I became more and more enamoured with this legend that I not only saw in my childhood’s favourite series, but also on stage and screen, a true stalwart of British acting talent.

Sir Patrick Stewart (Rory Lewis Photographer) (2015)

Sir Patrick Stewart (Rory Lewis Photographer) (2015)

Looking back, two of Star Trek’s The Next Generation’s episodes particularly inspired me. The first titled ‘The Best of Both Worlds’ in which Picard is taken captive by the Borg, and the second, ‘Chain of Command’ in which Stewart stars alongside my screen idol David Warner when Picard is taken to Gul Madred for interrogation. This is an incredibly powerful episode with torture methods including sensory deprivation and bombardment, forced nakedness, stress positions, dehydration and starvation and physical pain.

Leading up to the shoot, I became somewhat star-struck. As I waited in the Neo Studios in Manhattan the fanboy inside me was jostling for prime position and ran the risk of overshadowing Rory Lewis the Photographer. Drawing on reserves I wasn’t aware I had, I managed to shake Sir Patrick’s hand and move forward on a professional basis with my inner Trekkie firmly at bay.

Sir Patrick Stewart Rory Lewis

Sir Patrick Stewart (Rory Lewis Photographer) (2015)

Before the shoot, I was aware that there are in fact very few photos of Sir Patrick where he is not in character. It therefore became my desire to capture who he was as a person. I staged a few photos to determine the best facial positions and the appropriate height for the camera, and from there the shoot commenced with ease. Drawing on his time and experience as an actor of long-standing, he effortlessly adopted the expressions and emotions we, together, thought suitable. The result was a marriage of natural kindness and fierce intensity.

 

Enabling me to keep the Trekkie-Rory in his box, I found Sir Patrick to be curious, warm and extremely polite. This shoot will stay with me forever, both professionally as a Portrait Photographer, but also personally to have met this stalwart of my life’s screen-based inspiration.

 

The Cinematic Inspiration, Full Circle:

As my career and success develops, my Cinematic Inspiration not only now draws on what I have seen, witnessed and been moved by as a young child, teen, and adult…It now also draws on the experience of meeting some of these screen legends in the flesh and working with them on a professional level. Whilst my cinematic inspiration is a work in progress, and my Portrait Sittings will always be driven and guided by this, I am also honoured that this inspiration can now grow knowing that I have captured the essence of these great giants of our screens.

 

I feel driven to continue drawing on my cinematic inspiration and therefore am striving to secure shoots with Anthony Hopkins, Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson, Clint Eastwood and even Arnold Schwarzenegger. I can now not only draw on my specialist knowledge of actor’s headshots, directional and photographic skills, but I can draw on my cinematic inspiration that has fuelled real productive and successful sittings. Through identifying – and capturing on film – the je ne sais quoi of McKellen, Stewart, Berkhoff and the likes, I feel confident I can portray personas with power, poise and a sense of the timeless characters screen-legends are known to play.

2015 Year in Review

Air-Chief-Marshal-Sir-Stuart-CF008962Headshots-SessionThe Year of Portraiture. This year has seen me photographing a range of eminent figures from the world of politics, acting and the military. 2015 has seen me expand from Liverpool to nationwide, with a focus in London, as well as hopping the Atlantic to make my name Stateside. 2015 has been a monumental year for Rory Lewis Photography seeing me grow exponentially as a person through learning and rekindling of creative drive, as well as the business going from strength to strength, up there with the big players. And this is due to my sole enterprise now being Portraiture encompassing commercial, editorial, industrial, entertainment, artistic and cultural purposes.

Commercial Photography Liverpool Rory Lewis Photographer

Commercial Photography Liverpool Rory Lewis Photographer

The year began with two commercial assignments the first with a commercial uniform supplier and the second with impressive costume jewellery designers, Halo & Co. I conducted a series of challenging yet rewarding shoots of models decked out in the most glorious signature costume pieces. I captured the detail in order to delight the viewer, and I’m honoured to have been a part helping to establish this inspiring company on the international jewellery design scene.

 

Michael Thomson Actor Rory Lewis London Actors HeadshotsSpring and Summer saw my diary go crazy as I met an explosion of requests from both established and up-and-coming actors. I lived and breathed headshots for Spotlight and other casting websites. I attribute this success due to 2014’s Northerners Exhibition where I set the trend for modern Portraiture sittings with well-known names like Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen. I’ve felt privileged to work with such inspiring professionals, both new and old-hands, from pantomime to theatre and film. Memorable sittings include those with Michael Thomson (Pictured Right) (Jonny Maconie in BBC’s Holby City), Luke Bailey (Sam Bateman in TV’s Casualty), Matthew Morley (star of Hollywood Blockbuster “Fury”) and the one to keep an eye on, teenage actor Lewis Hamilton, star of CBBC Comedy Series, The Dumping Ground.

 

Zenith Chambers Barristers Leeds

Zenith Chambers Barristers Leeds

Alongside this I expanded my Corporate Headshot Services. We live in an “instant visual” age, and these headshots are becoming key in identifying and defining commercial and public professionals. I have completed commissions from firms such as Bunzl Retail – requiring shoots of large teams – to Zenith Chambers (Leeds) who required portraits of individual barristers and paralegals. My friendly and professional approach is welcomed across the spectrum of various corporations, from high-powered board members to all members of staff.

 

Famous faces have hit the Rory Lewis lenses again this year. I’ve commenced work on three new exciting exhibition projects, the first of which is entitled “Expressive”. Expressive explores professional actors from all walks of life, from across the globe.

 (Rory Lewis)

The Expressive Project began back in February with a trip to Los Angeles to complete a sitting with Star Trek’s William Shatner (Above). I admit, I have been an avid Trekkie since the age of 7, so I was a little like a kid in a sweet shop. This was an incredible chance to work with a Screen Legend, a dream come true to work with the iconic Captain Kirk and TJ Hooker. It was a speedy sitting owing to time schedules, but worth every second of it. Whilst in Los Angeles I also encompassed a shoot with a star of the future Star Trek Generation, Brent Spiner. (Below) It was an absolute pleasure working with Brent who proved himself to be a natural in front of the camera: making a highly rewarding session for me, creating a vast array of expressions.

Brent Jay Spiner (/ˈspaɪnər/, born February 2, 1949) is an American actor, best known for his portrayal of the android Lieutenant Commander Data in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation and four subsequent films. His portrayal of Data in Star Trek: First Contact and of Dr. Brackish Okun in Independence Day, both in 1996, earned him a Saturn Award and Saturn Award nomination respectively. Editorial Photographer, Syndication Rory Lewis Photography (Rory Lewis)

These two sittings were a fantastic springboard for the Expressive Project. Back on English soil I arranged sittings in London with Steven Berkoff. Infamous for being a difficult character to work with, I entered the shoot feeling somewhat intimidated. However, he’s nothing like the villainous creation of many of his movies, but in fact I found him to be a warm and thoughtful man whose essence I was able to capture completely as well as an amazingly evil portrait that instils drama and suspicion in the eye of the beholder. (Below)

 (Rory Lewis)

Jumping back across The Pond once again in September I undertook Portrait sitting with Actor and Star of Star Trek Deep Space Nine René Auberjonois (a descendant of Napoleon no less) and a Prince whose family gave up their title when they moved to America at the turn of the century. Additionally, this trip involved sittings with Armin Shimerman, Robert Picardo and Breaking Bad’s Mark Margolis (Below) who I simply bumped in to in my hotel.

 (Rory Lewis)

Andrew J Robinson Rory Lewis LA Portrait PhotographerOne of my most enjoyable Expressive sittings was with Andy Robinson,(Right) famed for playing the Scorpio Killer in Dirty Harry, the first psychopathic killer to hit our screens. Capturing this incredible evil expression with piercing fierce eyes was truly a memorable moment. Having admired his work once for with my Trekkie hat on when he played Garak the Cardassian Tailor in Star Trek’s Deep Space Nine, I was once again thrilled to be working with such a personality. Expressive was exhibited in Liverpool and London in October. Proving itself a success, I gained sponsorship from the exhibition from Calumet Photographic, Mamiya and Hahnemühle. I was delighted that the Exhibition was featured in both Local and National Press and Television, making my accomplishment all the more enjoyable.

Expressive Photography Exhibition London Portrait Photographer

Expressive Photography Exhibition London Portrait Photographer

I was commissioned by Cancer Research UK to undertake pictures for their campaign promoting Bowel Cancer Awareness. Knowing I was involved in such a worthwhile and much much-needed campaign was humbling and exhilarating in equal measure. Working with individuals who have suffered with such greatness, yet thrived in recovery, was a shoot I won’t forget. Additionally, smaller commissions flooded in for product and clothing photography.

Cellist Jonathan Dormond Portrait Sitting

Cellist Jonathan Dormond Portrait Sitting

Word spreads in the World of Photography: it matters deeply to people that they feel comfortable behind the lens and in the resulting images. Therefore, as my reputation has grown I am seeing more and more commissions from Actors, Singers, Dancers, Models, Musicians and Entertainers to be used for promotional material. Following in the groove I set in 2014 I continue to move further away from the sphere of fashion to deeper work, concentrating on my love of all things Portraiture. I love helping aspiring talent to promote their faces and will continue to do so throughout 2016.

Additionally, I’m looking to continue to offer model portfolio services with limited monthly sessions in Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and London. Again, I love knowing I’ve played a part in helping models take their first steps in to the industry by providing them with powerful portfolio pieces.

 

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe Rory Lewis Photographer London PortraitistMy background as a History Graduate continues to drive my passion for capturing Historical Portraiture, combining my knowledge and ability as a historian with my skills as a Portrait Photographer. I have such a passion for this area of my work, blending the different aspects of my interests and abilities. Therefore I began a new project entitled Portraitist. This fascinating project combined by love of renaissance portraiture with my love of photography in to one exceptional outcome, capturing the faces of power from the Military to Political spheres. The project has seen me walking the Halls of Power with sittings in Whitehall, the DWP, Army HQ (Andover), Royal Air Force HQ (High Wycombe) and New Scotland Yard. The project is gaining success all the time, and following letters of invitation, has included eminent figures including Baron William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, Lt. General James Everard and Sir Bernard Hogan Howe (Left).

William Jefferson Hague FRSL (born 26 March 1961)[1] is a British Conservative politician who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Richmond (Yorks) from 1989 to 2015. He also served as Leader of the House of Commons from 2014 to 2015, as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs from 2010 to 2014,[2] and as Leader of the Conservative Party and Leader of the Opposition from 1997 to 2001. (Rory Lewis)

The sitting with William Hague (Above) was incredibly rewarding. I have yearned for the chance to work with a truly significant British historical character. Hague’s name is synonymous with modern political discourse and assertions of power and influence, but to meet him in person you would not think it. Incredibly ‘human’ and real, he is a very witty man who was reeling off jokes throughout the sitting. He held himself beautifully for the portrait, so well in fact that I was able to capture the essence of one of my favourite Holbein pieces, dignified and full of grace and authority.

 

On the back of the sitting with William Hague, I did another portrait photo-shoot with Iain Duncan Smith. (Below) Working once more with a veteran of power and controversy was both inspiring and rewarding. I’m hoping to build on this type of sitting in 2016, avidly looking forward to another addition to the Portraitist Exhibition which will see me directing a shoot with former Prime Minister, Sir John Major, as well as other political and military figures’ sessions that I have in the pipeline.

Rory Lewis London Portrait Sitting with George Iain Duncan Smith (born 9 April 1954), often referred to by his initials IDS, is a British Conservative Party politician. The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions since 2010, he was previously the Leader of the Conservative Party and Leader of the Opposition from 2001 to 2003. He was first elected to Parliament in 1992 as the MP for Chingford, and he has represented its successor constituency of Chingford and Woodford Green since 1997. Duncan Smith was born in Edinburgh and served in the Scots Guards from 1975 to 1981, seeing tours in Northern Ireland and Rhodesia. He joined the Conservative Party in 1981, and was elected as a Member of Parliament in 1992. Duncan Smith succeeded William Hague as Conservative Leader in 2001, winning the leadership election partly on the support of Margaret Thatcher for his Eurosceptic ideology. Duncan Smith was the first Catholic to serve as a Conservative Leader, and the first to be born in Scotland since Arthur Balfour. In 2010, The Tablet named him one of Britain’s most influential Catholics.[1] His time as Conservative Leader saw his party fall in opinion polls, and many Conservative MPs came to consider him incapable of winning an election. In 2003 his MPs passed a vote of no confidence in his leadership; he immediately resigned, and was succeeded by Michael Howard. As a backbencher, he founded the centre-right Centre for Social Justice, a think tank independent of the Conservative Party, and became a published novelist, though his novel The Devil's Tune was savaged by critics. On 12 May 2010, Prime Minister David Cameron appointed Duncan Smith to serve in the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. (Rory Lewis)

The third project that I commenced in 2015 I have entitled Ambassadors, inspired by the intrigue of Holbein’s Ambassadors Portrait. London is a city home to hundreds of political missions and I have long harboured the desire to meet and work with important figures from many different countries and backgrounds. The Ambassadors Project saw me visit the Mexican (Below), Italian, Estonian, Danish, Austrian and Swiss Embassies in a bid to photograph each Ambassador. More Embassy sittings are booked for 2016 and I’ve looking forward to adding to this project with commissions from Attachés and members of political commissions.

 (Rory Lewis)

The three projects, Expressive, Portraitist and Ambassadors, have enabled me to expand my knowledge of portraiture, allowing me to try new methods and ways of working, building on my already successful skill-base. Working in such a creative profession, I consider it essential to test myself and push forward expanding my limits. Projects enable me personally, to document my growth as a professional. This has been particularly rewarding as I have seen a blend of all my personal passions combining science fiction and history in an eclectic mix in my work.

 

Rory Lewis Photography WorkshopsLearning and sharing continues to fuel my desires, and I’m proud and delighted to be continuing to offer a vast array of Photography Workshops as well as one-to-one Portrait Tuitions in Liverpool, Manchester, London and Edinburgh. Meeting with new students and sharing my love of portrait photography, techniques, direction and lighting, is enjoyable not only because I get to share my joy for this expressive profession, but also because it enables me to self-reflect on how something works, and why I choose it. I enjoy inspiring photographers to create thought-provoking portraiture of their own by incorporating my professional techniques honed over years in the business. This in turn enables them to hone and develop their own skills, whether amateur or professional, working with both the latest equipment and amazing professional models.

 

Learning and Development via Rory Lewis Photography throughout 2015 has been partnered with Calumet Photographic. I have taken great pleasure delivering seminars throughout their network of branches. I have also enjoyed leading Calumet’s official Blog, reviewing equipment and writing about tips and techniques. I was thrilled to be asked to judge Calumet’s Student Photographer of the Year Competition. It was an honour to help select the winner of this prestigious prize which was presented at the Photography Show.

 

Portraitist by Rory Lewis Photographer, learn lighting setups & all the secrets behind the shoots, view unseen portraits.

Portraitist by Rory Lewis Photographer, learn lighting setups & all the secrets behind the shoots, view unseen portraits.

Building on my desire to ‘spread the word’ both within the field of Photography and to a wider audience, 2015 has seen me publish two books: Portraitist and Expressive. The first sees me passing on my thoughts surrounding Photographic Portraiture by offering lighting techniques and the stories behind my many, and varied, Portrait Sittings. Expressive is my first coffee table book, designed to be perused and dipped in to showcasing some of my favourite Portrait Sittings from the year including Brent Spiner, Steven Berkoff, Andy Robinson, Robert Picardo and many other renowned male thespians.

Rory Lewis Photography Workshops Portraiture

Additionally, I have enjoyed having both my images and reviews of my work published in several magazines and trade editorials including Photo Professional Magazine, the RPS London, Profoto’s Blog, and Photo Plus magazine (Above). I’ve thoroughly enjoyed sharing my latest work, tricks, and techniques with such a diverse readership base. My work has also been acquired by newspapers and editorials through Image Syndication, it was fun and rewarding to see my portraits of Luis Suarez (Below) in the Shortlist Magazine, and my image of Sir Ian McKellen in the Mirror.

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2016 looks set to be another exciting year. I will be returning to Los Angeles for a month in April to undertake more Portrait Sittings. Fuelling my Trekkie passions I have started another Project looking to exhibit portraits of Star Trek actors in order to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the show. Through using a Kickstarter to help fund the project, I have raised over £2500 enabling me to devote more time in 2016 to additional Star Trek actor sittings, including one with Walter Koenig who played Chekov, as well as many other names from the TV series and movies.

 

2016 is also going to be the year I look to expand my Portrait Practice in London. Building a growing reputation for Portraiture in the capital is my number-one goal for the forthcoming year. Of course, my devotion to Learning and Development will continue with tours of both the UK and USA offering Portrait Photography Masterclasses and One-to-One tuition.

 

Wherever and however you run into Rory Lewis Photography in 2016, you can be sure that something exciting is afoot. Wishing all my supporters and followers a very Happy New year, with 2016 set to be even bigger and momentous than my thoroughly enjoyable 2015.

 

 

Major General Tim Robinson Portrait Sitting

London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis Military PortraitRetiring from the Army senior military leader Major General Tim Robinson CBE, commissioned a portrait at Army Head quarters in Andover. With a military career spanning two decades, seeing active service and leading troops in Iraq, Bosnia and Northern Ireland. Faced with such a distinguished military sitter I directed the General to assume solemn and reflective poses; as to mirror his achievements and responsibilities. The General really enjoyed the experience and was fascinated by my lighting and directional methods.

 

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. I offer a compressive service to Members of the Armed Forces, RAFRoyal Navy and Army who are looking to capture a professional portrait. Available at studios in Central London and in Central Liverpool; or on Location.

 (Rory Lewis) (Rory Lewis)

London Portrait Photographer– Capturing the Essence of Power

William Jefferson Hague FRSL (born 26 March 1961)[1] is a British Conservative politician who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Richmond (Yorks) from 1989 to 2015. He also served as Leader of the House of Commons from 2014 to 2015, as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs from 2010 to 2014,[2] and as Leader of the Conservative Party and Leader of the Opposition from 1997 to 2001. (Rory Lewis)

William Jefferson Hague Baron Of Richmond (Rory Lewis Photographer 2015)

As a London Portrait Photographer you learn very quickly. A picture does speak a thousand words, but not so when it comes to History Portrait Photography. These pictures need only speak two words: authenticity and power. When it comes to this style of photography the photographer needs to play by the rules: rules that are subtle to grasp, comprehend and activate, making the game difficult to play. Yet the end result needs to look effortless. Such photos are one of the truest documents of history and society, particularly for those holding positions of power and influence in the beating power centre of London – but also elsewhere.

 

Lt General James Everard (Rory Lewis Photographer 2015) Normally two characters are displayed in portraiture: the character of the subject and the character of the photographer. The photographer is aiming to capture the mood, expression and personality of subject. With History Portraiture, the photographer needs to take an apparent backseat, becoming invisible to the end result, presenting objectivity which enables the viewer their own subjectivity. This is a skill, an art form in itself – to appear to effortlessly capture through artistic ability the true appearance of the sitter, the authentic appearance, whilst exuding power. The result should be a deep and detailed portrait, yet a blank slate on which can rest the viewer’s own opinions. (Lt General James Everard Left)

 

I have an understated passion for Modern History Portrait Photography. In my time studying History at Kings College, London, I spent my days pondering on numerous historical figures gazing down on me and providing the inner voice of judgement on my student-lifestyle. I became fascinated by the pictures, searching for the 1000 words but finding just the two. I -had to do the understanding, the opinion-forming, no lazy back-of-the lecture-theatre effort allowed here. I found myself asking: what motivated the artist? Did the sitter approve, like, or dislike the artist’s representation? Were the portraits politically driven for propaganda or were they true to history?

 

I feel privileged to combine this passion, this appreciation of these individual’s place in history by becoming a photographer, called upon to utilise my expertise in lighting techniques, direction and even inventive scenarios to capture some of the most key people of our age.

Military Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis Lt General Mark Poffley British Army

Military Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis Lt General Mark Poffley British Army

Baron William Hague (Rory Lewis London Portrait PhotographerIn these shoots, here is a clear need to guarantee authority, the exemplary status, and in some cases the immortality of the sitter. These portraits need to stand the test of time like no other. To achieve this air of power and authority, the photographer needs to set the individual in a plain, yet solemn expression. The photographer is neutral, the sitter a vessel of unadorned vigour. How does this look in reality? This portrait of Baron William Hague of Richmond, commissioned just after the General Election of 2015 when Hague announced his retirement from politics, is a perfect example. The usually affable and jovial character portrayed in the media has instead been replaced with true authenticity and exudes the aura of a powerful political figure with a career spanning 30 years. I have kept the portrait neutral to allow you, the viewer, to make up your own mind and to form your own opinions.

 

Rory Lewis Photographer, London Portrait Photographer, General Nick HoughtonSimilarly this atmosphere of power can be seen in my portrait of General Sir Nicholas Houghton, Chief of Defence Staff, which was published in the Telegraph Newspaper. The commission came from the Ministry of Defence, looking for a portrait which can be used across a range official publications. As is often important when working with subjects who have busy agendas and high-profile responsibilities, the shoot was brought to the heart of power in Whitehall itself. My role, the game I needed to play, involved directing the General in order to project an air of solemnity whilst holding a plain expression. The result is an authoritative yet commanding portrait of this modern day historical figure. The image fits the historical context of military portraiture: a juxtaposition of simplicity and complexity.

 

Iain Duncan Smith London Portrait Photographer Rory LewisAt a recent London Portrait Sitting with Iain Duncan-Smith I dodged the ball of political controversy to remain true to the elements of the history portrait. The public, along with current and future historians, will have their own opinion, my role is to allow this judgement to be formed and to sit comfortably with the image portrayed. The viewer can subconsciously overlay their own viewpoint on the portrait.My aim is to allow my integral presence in the shoot become invisible in the end result, allowing the portrait to become a blank canvas for the viewer’s opinion. I aim, from behind the camera and through directing the shoot, to place these eminent figures elegantly yet timelessly in to their place in history.

 

 

Iain Duncan-Smith Portrait Sitting

 

Iain Duncan-Smith Rory Lewis London Portrait PhotographerAs a Historical Portrait Photographer, I felt privileged to undertake a sitting with Iain Duncan-Smith. Renowned as a veteran soldier, Member of Parliament and Cabinet Minister, Former Leader of the Conservative Party, and Secretary for Work and Pensions, his political career rivals many, and as such earns him a place of historical significance in British Politics. For me, I was therefore delighted when he accepted my invitation to sit for a portrait at Caxton House, London. I have long had an avid interest in socio-political history and as such have been aware of Iain Duncan-Smith’s presence on the political scene since my own childhood. Over the past few years, as the country has gone through a period of austerity, he has become a somewhat controversial politician eliciting different opinions from various walks of life.

 

Certain Portrait Sittings can weigh on a Photographer with a sense of trepidation. After all, the rapport and interaction between Photographer and Sitter is often notable in the finished images. The sitter needs to be on board with taking guidance and direction from the Photographer. When the sitter is someone as famous and eminent, as well as a natural figure-head and powerful, it can be somewhat daunting. Before the sitting I viewed various clips on YouTube, read opinions in newspapers and on social networking to gauge public opinion. In some instances he was described as “cruel” and, conversely, “just” in others. There is no doubt he splits opinion, and I wondered what the man would be like to work with.

Iain Duncan-Smith Rory Lewis London Portrait Photographer

When taking Historical Portraits I am keen that they should represent historical fact and not be a political statement in themselves. Effectively, the viewer should be able to overlay their own opinion of the character of the person in the picture. Iain Duncan-Smith is well known amongst photographers for creating a neutral portrait, ideal for history itself to become the judge of character.

 

Once I arrived at Caxton House, I was able to explain the type of Historical Portrait I hoped to achieve. I began by capturing a plain and determined expression. This naturally fed through to Duncan-Smith’s accustomed political stance and stature that we know from his rousing political speeches and broadcasts. These images portray the sense of power of the man speaking with authority and determination on the floor of the Commons.

 

Any trepidation I had soon melted away, as in person Iain Duncan-Smith is both kind and easy to work with. He is used to having his portrait taken and as such was at ease taking my direction and guidance for the shoot. Timed shortly after the failure of the Universal Credit Bill, pushed by IDS, it was ideally timed to represent the cross-roads which faced him as Secretary.

 

Iain Duncan-Smith Rory Lewis London Portrait PhotographerAs opinions have come in to me following the images I am able to inwardly smile at my ability to create a portrait ready for the viewer’s opinion and not weighed down with my own political sentiment. Some feel I have captured the “essence of evil” while others have determined I’ve captured “a proud and well-respected politician”. Two sides of a coin: both correct in the eye of the beholder, both upholding those individual viewers’ opinions. If I can obtain varying opinions, both positive and negative, then I have achieved what I set out to achieve: impartiality. I have remained true to, and delivered on, the essence of the Historical Portrait.

 

Photographing Iain Duncan-Smith was both inspiring and rewarding, paving the way for many more political sittings and the challenges they bring.

 

Expressive Portrait Exhibition Open Evening London 29th October 2015

Expressive Photography Exhibition London Portrait PhotographerExpressive‘ Portrait Exhibition moved from Liverpool and opened in London last night. It was wonderful to meet everyone share stories from the sittings and preview my latest portraits. The exhibition will be open to the public at Calumet Photographic’s Gallery space on Drummond Street until 22nd November 2015. Pop along and have a closer look at some of the worlds most recognised acting talent, including Sir Patrick Stewart, Sir Ian McKellen, Mark Margolis, Ian McShane and many more. Don’t forget to tweet your favourites and opinions #rorylewisexpressive.

Expressive Photography Exhibition London Portrait Photographer