Cameron Tricker Actors Headshots

Actor Cameron Tricker, arranged his first body of Actors Headshots at the Liverpool Studio. Opting for Package One, Cameron enjoyed a one hour Actors Headshots photoshoot, with 3 lighting and clothing changes, allowing for a variation of expressions, and poses.

 

Cameron’s Google Review

 

“Rory provided a really relaxed and friendly atmosphere for the session to take place in, which made it a breeze. The photo’s were brilliant as well, and for a fair price.”

Mark Brent London Actors Headhsots

Mark Brent is an actor who is going places, known for his roles in Dirtymoney, Scarlet Says and East Enders. Mark sought a quintessential portfolio of new headshots. Wanting to wow potential casting directors. Admiring my sittings with Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart. Mark arranged his Actors Headshots photoshoot at the London Studio.

 

Opting for Package Two which offers a two hour sitting, Mark had plenty of time to relax and enjoy the session. The package presents the actor with plenty of shooting time, clothing changes and different lighting setups. Make the Right Choice for Your Actors Headshots. Professional, Inventive, Expertly Directed, Relaxed Sessions. Rory Lewis Actors Headshots Photographer.

London Actors Headshots, Mark Brent Actor Rory Lewis London Actors Headshots Photographer

Mark Brent’s Google Review

“Rory Lewis’s actors headshot work is exceptional, interesting and captivating, he is way ahead of the game. Rory is fun and easy to work, the session was almost effortless and yet the results are magnificent. Mark Brent”

London Actors Headshots, Mark Brent Actor Rory Lewis London Actors Headshots Photographer

London Actors Headshots, Mark Brent Actor Rory Lewis London Actors Headshots Photographer

London Actors Headshots, Mark Brent Actor Rory Lewis London Actors Headshots Photographer

General Sir Nick Carter, KCB, CBE, DSO, ADC Portrait Sitting

My latest Portrait commission from the British Army took place with General Sir Nick Carter, KCB, CBE, DSO, ADC Chief of the General Staff. The General was in need of a portrait to be placed on the wall of former army leaders. The sitting was indeed very historical as the portrait will be viewed by the General’s successors for many years to come. My aim was to capture the General, as the man he is, a leader, no vanity, no pomp of the dress uniform, tall and proud. I’m looking forward to seeing how the portrait is received.

General Sir Nicholas Carter, KCB, CBE, DSO, ADC Military Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

2017 Year in Review

2017 has indeed been a year of serious portraiture seeing some BIG NAMES in front of my lens. From former Prime Minister Sir John Major, to Actors Rufus Sewell, Stephen Graham and Hugh Bonneville. 2017 gave me the opportunity to complete Soldiery. Bringing this mammoth collection of 278 British Army Portraits to a finish. Publishing a book, holding a charity preview evening for the Army Benevolent fund at Armed Forces Day Liverpool raising over £2000,00. Preparing for the Exhibition Proper at the National Army Museum which takes place in January of this year. I’ve received serious recognition as a portrait photographer. Winning the Portrait of Britain, and being commended in the British Life Photography Awards. Two more of my portraits have been acquired by The National Portrait Gallery in London, and my work has received international attention. I have continued to teach workshops across the UK, London, Manchester and Edinburgh, and expanded my practice offering even more Photography Workshops in the USA, Los Angeles, Boston & New York.

 

Soldiery

2017 was indeed the year of Soldiery portrait sittings. Firstly in January, with the men and women of The British Army’s Attack Helicopter Force in Ipswich, who pilot the truly magnificent Apache Helicopters.  Then moving on to the Household Cavalry’s Mechanised Battalion in Windsor. Where I was able to capture the non ceremonial elements of the Regiment. The Battalion sits within the Reactive Force of the British Army and is ready to respond to crises anywhere around the world. Photographing the ceremonial battalion of the regiment in 2016, it was interesting to see the contrast between a working Cavalry Battalion with over 300 horses and a modern mechanised battalion with Armoured Vehicles.

(Left) Corporal of Horse Mulholland
Household Cavalry Regiment (Right|) Captain Lee
Attack Helicopter Force

Soldiery Sittings continued in January with The Royal Tank Regiment in Tidworth. The Royal Tank Regiment is the oldest tank unit in the world, forged out of the adversity of the First World War. The regiment is equipped with Challenger 2 tanks. Soldiers of RTR wear a black beret and black overalls, a custom reserved to the Regiment unlike any other tank regiment in the British Army. A black beret was selected as it would not show oil stains. I felt quite at home as many of the soldiers of the Regiment appeared to be from Liverpool. In essence the regiment appeared to be half Liverpudlian and half Glaswegian. Two peoples of a similar sense of humour, the soldiers regiment seemed to get along swimmingly. Again I had the chance to photograph the Soldiers posing with the Powerful Challenger 2 Battle Tank, and create a series of remarkable portraits of all the regiments states of dress. (Behind the Scenes Video Below)

Tpr Millward Royal Tank Regiment

In March Major General Susan Ridge a senior British Army officer and lawyer, and the first women to hold the rank of Major General in the British Army Sat for a Soldiery Portrait. Since September 2015, Ridge has been Director General of the Army Legal Services Branch (DGALS).

Major General Susan Ridge

In April I returned a second time to the 1st Battalion, The Rifles. As a young teenager I admired the television series Sharpe, and when contemplating the project this loomed large in my mind for quite some time. The soldiers portrayed by the main protagonists, Sean Bean (Major Richard Sharpe) and Daragh O’Malley (Sgt Patrick Harper) belonged to the 95th Rifles, during the Peninsula Campaign of the Napoleonic Wars. Though an heroic fictional portrayal, I endeavoured to lean more of the bravery of these soldiers. When compiling my list of regimental sitting requests the Rifles where on the top of my list. Since the Napoleonic Wars the 95th has seen several amalgamations, now forming The Rifles, the largest regiment in the British Army.

Rifleman Armour 1st Battalion The Rifles

My final Infantry regimental sittings of my Soldiery Portrait Project took place in June with The Coldstream Guards. Formed in 1650 as part of the New Model Army during the English Civil War. The regiment swore allegiance to King Charles II in 1660 and has guarded the country’s monarchs since. The Coldstream Guards have two roles in the British Army. The first is as of an Infantry unit famous for being the oldest regiment in the British Army in continuous service. The second is of a ceremonial Battalion trained to be involved in any state or royal ceremonial tasks.

 

The regiment epitomises the British Army’s values and standards: selfless commitment, respect for others, loyalty, integrity, discipline and courage. Drawing strength from its heritage to face the challenges of the future, the Regiment lives by its motto, ‘Nulli Secundus’ or ‘Second to None’. My sittings with the regiment, took place at the historic Wellington Barracks in London, where I was able to capture the Guardsmen before the changing of the guard. The sitting was also captured on video see below.

Drummer Steele 1st Battalion The Coldstream Guards Military Portrait Photographer London Rory Lewis

Next to the Kings Royal Hussars  & Royal Scots Dragoon Guards the Final Regimental Sittings of the Soldiery Project. Based in Tidworth, Wiltshire, The King’s Royal Hussars is a British armoured regiment with a long history and great cavalry traditions. The regiment currently serves in the armoured role, equipped with Challenger 2 tanks. The regiment wears the iconic crimson trousers when in ceremonial, No. 1 or No, 2 dress. As you notice from the portrait the soldiers wear the crossed kukri of the Gurkhas as an arm badge. This relates back to 1945 when C Squadron, 14th/20th King’s Hussars assaulted the town of Medicina in Italy alongside the 2nd Battalion, 6th Gurkha Rifles, inflicting heavy losses on the German defenders despite being outnumbered. In commemoration of this action the 14th/20th King’s Hussars adopted the crossed kukri badge, a tradition maintained by the regiment. My inspiration of the portrait, came from a portrait by Emanuel Leutze,

Officers of The Kings Royal Hussars

My final Cavalry Regiment of the Soldiery Project and a trip to Scotland, Fife to be exact. Was to photograph the Troopers of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabineers and Greys) – or SCOTSDG – was formed in 1971 by an amalgamation between 3rd Carabineers and The Royal Scots Greys. The Regiment has been deployed in numerous operations around the world in the forty- five years which have followed.

Sergeant Mitchell MC

Having served in Northern Ireland, the Gulf War, Bosnia, Kosovo, three tours in Iraq and three tours in Afghanistan, SCOTSDG is a cavalry Regiment with wide operational experience. One of those troopers who sat for a portrait. Sergeant Keith Mitchell a recipient of the Military Cross. Risked his life to save wounded comrades in Afghanistan was commended for his “courage and selflessness” under re. He stood in open ground to draw enemy re away from his colleagues in an attack in Helmand in March of 2012. It was an honour to meet Sergeant Mitchell, who also gave me a tour of the Barracks and the incredible artefacts the regiment has acquired through their bravery.

 

Soldiery as a project, has given me the opportunity to indulge my historical ambitions. One of these creative urges has been to photograph a British Field Marshal. The rank is the most senior rank of the British Army. Higher than all the Generals I’ve captured thus far. Considered a five star rank in today’s modern militaries. In the British Army, Field Marshal has been the most senior rank since 1736.

Field Marshal The Lord Guthrie Portrait Sitting, London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

Since the end of Empire, the rank has become somewhat redundant, this is due to the reduction in the size of Britain’s Armed Forces. The rank is now ceremonial, a gift of recognition from the sovereign to senior military figures, and bestowed on members of the Royal Family. I wrote to several Field Marshal’s and to my delight a reply, Field Marshal The Lord Guthrie accepted my invitation to sit for a Portrait in London.

 

Wrapping up Soldiery, my final sitting took place with the Chief of the General Staff General Sir Nick Carter. Carter assumed the position of Commander Land Forces in November 2013. In September 2014, he became head of the British Army as Chief of the General Staff succeeding General Sir Peter Wall. The portrait will also hang on the wall of all previous Chiefs of the General Staff dating back to Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery in 1945.

General Sir Nicholas Carter, KCB, CBE, DSO, ADC Military Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

In June 2017 a company of the 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry took up the temporary role of mounting the Queen’s Guard at Buckingham Palace. The honour usually falls to the British Army’s Household Division. However, other Commonwealth Nations get a chance at protecting the Queen every now and again. Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry is based in Shilo, Manitoba, Canada. Named after Princess Patricia of Connaught, daughter of the then-Governor General of Canada. Contacting the regiment upon their arrival in London. I arranged a series of portrait sittings with the company at Wellington Barracks, before they mounted the Queens Guard. The sitting gave me the chance to record living History, Canadian Regiments rarely appear in London for state duties. (The sittings captured on video Below).

2017 was been a very busy year Stateside, I made four trips to Los Angeles, in February, May, September and October. For the first time I began to offer Actors Headshots Sessions with a great deal of success and will continue to do so in 2018, with even more trips to LA planned. I’ve enjoyed working with household names like Josh Clark and Greg Itzin, creating new Headshots for Hollywood Stars.

Jason McBeth LA Actors Headshots

Greg Itzin Rory Lewis Los Angeles Portrait Photographer

 

Bruce Green LA Actors Headshots

In February during a trip Los Angeles to teach a Portrait Masterclass at Samy’s Cameras Photo School. I was able to fit in a Portrait Sitting with Actor John De Lancie. De Lancie is an American stand-up comedian, actor, director, producer, writer, singer, musician, and voice artist, best known for his roles as Q in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Donald Margolis in Breaking Bad.

 

I wrote to John last year and was finally able to arrange the sitting in Studio City. De Lancie a very talented actor was a joy to work with. Using inventive scenarios, I directed John as to assume a series of characters.

John de Lancie
American Actor Character Actor Portfolios London & Los Angeles

I was also able to fit in a few portrait sittings of my own. Caravaggio has been of great inspiration to my recent Portrait Photoshoots. Recreating the animation and religious tones of his work has been a challenge. Thus I invited three actors to help me recreate this style of portraiture. Firstly the remarkable film and stage presence Tony Amendola, who took upon the role of a fallen priest. Ripping the collar from his neck with a wonderful vigorous expression; captured profile, whilst reciting a powerful soliloquy to camera.

Tony Amendola Los Angeles Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

Back in London in March, actor Stephen Graham and fellow scouser. Who is best known for his roles as Tommy in the film Snatch(2000), Andrew “Combo” Gascoigne in This Is England (2006), Billy Bremner in The Damned United (2009), notorious bank robber Baby Face Nelson in Public Enemies (2009), Scrum in the Pirates of the Caribbeanfilms and he starred as Al Capone in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire.

Stephen accepted my invitation to sit for a portrait at the London Studio last week. I’ve admired his work for many years. Graham is a screen icon, exceptionally talented and known for playing no-nonsense gritty characters. I aimed to capture Stephens métier in my portraits, asking him to pose as emotionless, then changing to capture fierce and angry expressions.

Stephen Graham Film Actor Character Actor Portfolios London & Los Angeles

Hugh Bonneville was next in May 2017 at the London Studio. Bonneville is a remarkably talented British actor. Best known for playing Robert Crawley in the ITV period drama series Downton Abbey. On the day of the sitting my Phase One Body was somewhat acting up. Being resourceful I always carry a backup. Therefore I reached into my Peli Case for my Fuji X100F and TCL-X100, 50mm Teleconverter Lens. The Fuji performed swimmingly in the studio environment, not outperforming my Phase One XF, but still providing amazingly detailed results.

Hugh Bonneville London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

 

Often commissioned by Corporate & Government Clients for Portrait Sittings. I’m no stranger to photographing headshots of prominent business, legal and political officials. Non of these sittings have been more unique than a photoshoot with Sir John Major, former Prime Minister of Great Britain.

 

I wrote to Sir John in 2016 to arrange the sitting and we decided to shoot in the Autumn of that year. However, Brexit came upon us and the sitting was postponed. Sir John, being a remain campaigner had to take time out. It wasn’t until July 2017, that the sitting could finally take place.

 

To prepare for my sitting, I began by studying Sir John’s portrait sitting with Yousuf Karsh, before watching his interviews and parliamentary debates on Youtube. I also read Sir John’s Autobiography to get a sense of his character and career as Prime Minister.

 

Preparation complete, my plan was to capture Sir John as the elder statesman, thoughtful and reflective. I found Major to be an extraordinary sitter. Speaking about his career, I was able to direct Sir John as he mediated on the past. One of my aims as a portraitist is to record the figures of our time, and this sitting certainly represents living history.

Sir John Major, KG, CH, PC Rory Lewis London Portrait Photographer

Chelsea Pensioner Dougie Hassall is a very extraordinary pensioner. Reaching the grand old age of 100. The Royal Hospital in London Commissioned me to capture his portrait. It was a very humbling and remarkable experience for me to shake the hands of a 100 year old man. Dougie’s secret to old age, be kind to one another and live each day to the full. Hassall the oldest sitter of my career is a World War Two Veteran, captured by the Japanese Army in 1941, and was a Prisoner of War for three-and-a-half years working at the docks in Saigon.

Douglas Hassall Chelsea Pensioner London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

Portrait of Britain is presented by British Journal of Photography. Photographer Rory Lewis portrait of Captain Anani-Isaac of The Royal Lancers. Captured for Soldiery (British Army Portraits), has been selected to appear in a Nationwide Exhibition. Shortlisted from 8000 entires, 100 Portraits of the exhibition will go live on Friday 1st September 2017. Portrait of Britain is being billed as the UK’s biggest exhibition of portraiture. Being exhibited across JCDecaux’s nationwide screens, appearing in public places throughout the UK. Limited Edition Prints are also on sale via the Portrait of Britain Website.

 

Portrait of Britain is presented by British Journal of Photography. Photographer Rory Lewis portrait of Captain Anani-Isaac of The Royal Lancers. Captured for Soldiery (British Army Portraits), has been selected to appear in a Nationwide Exhibition.

In October making use of all my time in LA I was able to fit in a Portrait Sitting with Actor Rufus Sewell. The sitting had been on the cards for quite some time and I was lucky Rufus was in town on a break from filming The Man In The High Castle. I’m only sharing one portrait from the sitting as the below has been acquired by The National Portrait Gallery in London. The shoot was very memorable, I’ve admired his work for many years and the chance to direct and photograph Rufus was a wonderful experience. The other portraits will be displayed at an exhibition of my work in 2018 so stay tuned.

Actor Rufus Sewell, London & Los Angeles Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

In December I was pleased to announce that a Portrait of British Army Soldier Sergeant Seeto, captured as part of  Soldiery British Army Portraits Exhibition. Entered into the British Life Photography Awards received a commendation. The Awards are a showcase of contemporary and imaginative images that capture the essence and spirit of British life. Winners and commended entrants will have their work on show at the Royal Albert Hall,Kirkleatham Museum, Redcar, and be included in a full colour book.

Also in December a portrait of British Army Soldier  Warrant Officer Class 2 Deborah Penny captured in November 2017 in London, was acquired by the National Portrait Gallery London. Deborah serving 30 years in the British Army’s  Royal Logistic Corps as a Bomb disposal expert; made Army history as the first transgender Soldier to serve in the front line. The Portrait captured as part of my Soldiery Exhibition Soldiery British Army Portraits, represents my SEVENTH National Portrait Gallery Acquisition.

Warrant Officer Class 2 Deborah Penny London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis, Military British Army

“The British Army is a wonderfully diverse organisation and I’m pleased that my portrait has helped to recognise a true British Army Hero. Deborah will take her rightful place in the National Portrait Gallery’s perminant collection.”

Rory Lewis

 

Finally in finishing  this hastily put together Blog Post, these have been the highlights of a gigantic year in Portraiture. I look forward to picking up my camera tomorrow for my first portrait sitting of 2018. Lastly my biggest moment of 2017 the unveiling Soldiery for one Preview evening in my home town of Liverpool, captured on video please take a look below.

Keith Webster Corporate Headshots London

London Corporate Headshots, Keith Webster Lawyer, Photographer Rory Lewis

Delighted to work with Barrister Keith Webster who booked his Corporate Headshots photoshoot at the London Studio. Keith Knowing that first impressions will always be important arranged a session to capture multiple business portraits. Which is very important especially now many of our initial interactions are online.

London Corporate Headshots, Keith Webster Lawyer, Photographer Rory Lewis

A professional business photograph is an opportunity to portray a brand image to potential customers, who aren’t just researching ‘what’ you do. They are just as interested in ‘who’ you are. If you would like to booking a Corporate Headshots session, please check out my packages.

 

 

Military Portrait Sittings

Christmas is on the horizon and I’ve received several calls and emails from Armed Forces Personnel and their families, asking if I offer Military Portrait Sittings. The answer is of course yes. Ever since my Soldiery British Army Portraits Exhibition. I’ve worked with members of the British Army for over two years capturing portraits for a Nationwide Exhibition. My unique style of portraiture is highly sought after by members of all three services, The Royal Navy, Royal Airforce and the British Army and I’m offering a wonderful Portrait Photoshoot Gift Voucher. Available in at my studio in Central London and across studios the UK in Leeds, Liverpool and Edinburgh.


£264.00 (Including Framed & Mounted
Print) Portrait Sitting

  • Two Uniform Changes 

  • 250 Images Presented VIA Digital Download

  • Two Fully Retouched Portraits Presented Digitally

  • ONE Portrait PrintedProfessionally Framed and Mounted A3 Size

(Full Booking Details Sent With Gift Voucher)


Based in London Rory Lewis is the UK’s foremost Military Portraitist Photographer, who is regularly commissioned to photograph high profile Military Officers for all three branches of the Military Army, RAF & Royal Navy. 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. Rory Lewis Photographer offers a comprehensive service to Members of the Armed Forces, RAF, Royal Navy and Army who are looking to capture a professional portrait. Available at studios in Central London, Edinburgh and in Central Liverpool.

There are currently nine regular cavalry regiments of the British Army, of these two serve as armoured regiments, three as armoured cavalry regiments, three as light cavalry and one as a mounted ceremonial regiment. Soldiery has given me the opportunity to work with seven of these nine Regiments.

Portraiture is Rory’s speciality, he is just as comfortable working with High Ranking Officers as I am with NCO’s and Enlisted Personnel, and you will find my friendly and professional approach helps put even the most photo-phobic at ease.

Beginners Photography Tuition Gift Vouchers

Beginners Photography Tuition Gift Vouchers

Rory Lewis Session with Sir Patrick Stewart

Thinking of purchasing a Digital Camera for a loved one this Christmas. Celebrity Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis offers One-to-One Beginners Digital Photography Courses Gift Vouchers are perfect Christmas presents.

Rory’s fun, creative and inspiring digital photography courses will explain the science and art of photography from the ground up with almost constant hands-on activities to start to put the theory into practice.

Sir Patrick Stewart Rory Lewis Photographer

Taught One-to-One these Four Hour intensive workshops will get you familiar with your camera and allow you to start taking real control over your photography.

 

Courses can take place in (London, Leeds, Manchester & Liverpool)

Sessions can be arranged throughout 2018 and are Valid until 1st January 2019

 

Courses Cover:

  • All the essential functions and engineering of camera body and lens.
  • How to control and combine all different camera functions creatively.
  • Best way to photograph people, objects and landscapes.
  • How to capture sport and action.
  • Inspiring overview of composition rules.
  • How to set-up, clean and troubleshoot a camera.

 

£229.00

Professional Tuition:

Being taught by full-time professional photographer Rory Lewis, who has honed his skills over a 10-year career working with international clients such as Pepsi, and household names such as Sir Patrick Stewart, Sir Ian McKellen and Many More.

How Rory Lewis Gift Vouchers Work:

To redeem a gift voucher its recipient simply contact Rory Lewis via Email or VIA Phone to arrange your workshop. We will send a welcome reply email with booking confirmation, course outline and directions to the studios.

 

Portrait Sitting Voucher

 

This Holiday Season Celebrity Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis is offering a UNIQUE GIFT VOUCHER. An Exclusive Portrait Sitting, which can take place in London, Leeds and Liverpool in the UK, and Los Angeles (CA) in the USA.

Celebrity Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis has spent over a decade honing his craft to become one of the UK’s finest portrait photographers, offering his services to a wide variety of clients.

Capt Anani-Isaac The Royal Lancers

The voucher can be redeemed throughout 2018. Rory is available for portrait sittings in Central London, Leeds & Liverpool, and several times a year in Los Angeles California.  Rory’s portfolio of portraiture represents household names from Sir Patrick Stewart to Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Derek Jacobi and many more.

Rory Lewis takes the time to produce the finest Portraits, which enable him to create images that display the character, expression, personalty and mood of each sitter. His Portraiture  has been acquired by The National Portrait Gallery in London, and his work is published and exhibited worldwide. With such a diverse portfolio Rory can tailor his services to fit your needs, or the needs of Brands & Editorial & Commercial Clients.

Rory Lewis Photographer Sir Patrick Stewart, Sir Ian McKellen, Brian Cox CBE

“Unique Portraiture using ‘direction’ and inventive ‘scenarios’, Rory easily encourages sitters to express themselves, creating natural, thought provoking portraits” 

Package & Purchase

Portrait Sitting With Celebrity Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis (Includes 1 Hour Studio Portrait Photoshoot /150 Images to Choose From/ONE Fully Retouched Printed Portrait)

London, Leeds or Liverpool Photography Studios (UK)

£249.00

Portrait Sitting With Celebrity Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis (Includes 1 Hour Studio Portrait Photoshoot /150 Images to Choose From/ONE Fully Retouched Printed Portrait)

Los Angeles Photography Studios (Burbank & Glendale) CA (USA)

$329.00

Voucher Valid for 12 Months from 1st January 2018-1st January 2019

For Queries please Email: rorylewis@me.com

Sir John Major Portrait Sitting

Often commissioned by Corporate & Goverment Clients for Portrait Sittings. I’m no stranger to photographing headshots of prominent business, legal and political officials. Non of these sittings have been more unique than a photoshoot with Sir John Major, former Prime Minister of Great Britain.

 

I wrote to Sir John in 2016 to arrange the sitting and we decided to shoot in the Autumn of that year. However, Brexit came upon us and the sitting was postponed. Sir John, being a remain campaigner had to take time out. It wasn’t until July 2018, that the sitting could finally take place.

 

To prepare for my sitting, I began by studying Sir John’s portrait sitting with Yousuf Karsh, before watching his interviews and parliamentary debates on Youtube. I also read Sir John’s Autobiography to get a sense of his character and career as Prime Minister.

 

Preparation complete, my plan was to capture Sir John as the elder statesman, thoughtful and reflective. I found Major to be an extraordinary sitter. Speaking about his career, I was able to direct Sir John as he mediated on the past. One of my aims as a portraitist is to record the figures of our time, and this sitting certainly represents living history.

Sir John Major, KG, CH, PC Rory Lewis London Portrait Photographer

Major became Prime Minister after Thatcher’s reluctant resignation in November 1990. He presided over UK participation in the Gulf War in March 1991, and negotiated the Maastricht Treaty in December 1991. He went on to lead the Conservatives to a fourth consecutive electoral victory, winning the most votes in British electoral history with over 14,000,000 votes in the 1992 general election, albeit with a reduced majority in the House of Commons. Shortly after this, even though a staunch supporter of the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM), his government became responsible for British exit from the ERM after Black Wednesday on 16 September 1992. This event led to a loss of confidence in Conservative economic policies and Major was never able to achieve a lead in opinion polls again.

 

Despite the eventual revival of economic growth amongst other successes such as the beginnings of the Northern Ireland peace process, by the mid-1990s, the Conservative Party was embroiled in scandals involving various MPs (including cabinet ministers). Criticism of Major’s leadership reached such a pitch that he chose to resign as party leader in June 1995, challenging his critics to either back him or challenge him; he was duly challenged by John Redwood but was easily re-elected. By this time, the Labour Party had abandoned its socialist ideology and moved to the centre under the leadership of Tony Blair and won a large number of by-elections, eventually depriving Major’s government of a parliamentary majority in December 1996. Major went on to lose the 1997 general election five months later, in one of the largest electoral defeats since the Great Reform Act of 1832.

Sir John Major, KG, CH, PC Rory Lewis London Portrait Photographer

Sir John Major, KG, CH, PC Rory Lewis London Portrait Photographer