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.

 

 

2014 Year in Review

The difference a year makes: Generals, Actors, Sports Personalities and Politicians. Photographing the essence of character.

 

Erica Kemp Lord Mayor Rory Lewis Portrait Photographer LondonPortraiture 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.

 

NPG x138151; David Warner by Rory LewisI 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.

Sir Ian McKellen & Sir Derek Jacobi Rory Lewis Photographer

Sir Ian McKellen & Sir Derek Jacobi Rory Lewis Photographer

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.

Rory Lewis Photographer Photographing Sir Patrick Stewart London Portrait Photographer

Rory Lewis Photographer Photographing Sir Patrick Stewart London Portrait Photographer

Rory Lewis Metro Interview Photographer

Rory Lewis Metro Interview Photographer

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.

Luis Suares for Pepsi London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

Luis Suares for Pepsi London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

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.

New York Rory Lewis Portrait Photographer

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’s Portraiture Masterclass was a brilliant course”

“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.

Rory Lewis Photography Courses Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, LondonI 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.

London Liverpool Manchester Liverpool  Model Portfolios

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.

Julian-Glover-Iain-Glenn-Actor Rory Lewis London Portrait Photographer Liverpool

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.

 

General Sir Nicholas Houghton

General Sir Nicholas HoughtonGeneral Sir Nicholas Houghton is Chief of the Defence Staff of the British Armed Forces. At the beginning of this year, I wrote a letter to Ministry of Defence Head Quarters at Whitehall to invite General Houghton to Sit for a Northerners Photography Exhibition Portrait, the General being from Otley, Yorkshire. General Houghton’s Office replied to my invitation with his Acceptance and the Photoshoot took place in October. The General’s sitting was quite challenging, I have never photographed a high ranking military officer before let alone the highest ranking officer of the British Armed Forces.

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.

 

With only a short time and shooting on Location at the MOD in London, I made use of my portable Studio Backdrops, Lastolite Popup Grey Backdrop and Calumet Earth Tone Muslin Backdrop. Both images where Photographed with the Hasselblad H3D-39100MM F2.2 & Profoto B1’s  Provided by Calumet Rental at Drummond St in London.

General Sir Nicholas Houghton Rory Lewis Photographer

 

General Houghton Portrait in The Telegraph

My Recent Portrait of General Sir John Nicholas Houghton was published in Today’s Daily Telegraph Newspaper. It was wonderful to meet and work with the General on the Portrait taken in London last month.

General Houghton Political Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

 General Sir John Nicholas Reynolds Houghton GCB, CBE, ADC Gen (born 18 October 1954) is the Chief of the Defence Staff of the British Armed Forces.[1] He was appointed in 2013, following the retirement of former Chief of Defence Staff Sir David Richards. He served as Commanding Officer of 1st Battalion The Green Howards in Northern Ireland during The Troubles and later became Commander of 39 Infantry Brigade in Northern Ireland. He was deployed as Senior British Military Representative and Deputy Commanding General, Multi-National Force – Iraq during the Iraq War. He went on to be Chief of Joint Operations at Permanent Joint Headquarters and has just finished as Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff, (Hasselblad H3D)