The Bookshelf of a Portrait Photographer

I’m often asked by the many delegates who attend my Photography Workshops. What Books do you recommend for the Portrait Photographer? So I thought I would write a Blog Post on the Subject. The following is a series of Books I recommend for the Budding and Established Portraitist. You will notice the majority of these listed are books on Portrait Painters. It is my opinion that the Portrait Photographer should always look at the work of the Portrait Painter. For they were around long before the photographer. Many of the lighting & posing & even retouching techniques we portrait photographers use; are inspired from Artists such as Caravaggio, Michelangelo, and DaVinci & Rembrandt.

 

Cecil Beaton Portraits & Profiles

Cecil Beaton Portraits and ProfilesCecil Beaton has been one of my favourite portrait photographers. Portraits & Profiles is a must for the Portrait Photographer. Not only does the book feature his work but also his thoughts and opinions of the stars who sat for him. The opinions taken from his private diary entires on the celebrities and historical figures who appeared in his portraits. He spent 50 years charming the rich and famous from behind the camera in order to produce an array of iconic portraits.
But now Cecil Beaton’s true and often scathing opinions on stars from Mick Jagger to Monroe have been revealed in a new book.
Cecil claimed the Rolling Stones frontman “could be a eunuch”, described one half of Grace Kelly’s face as “like a bull calf” and dismissed Elizabeth Taylor as vulgar and unladylike.
Displaying disconcerting foresight, he said of Marilyn Monroe: “It will probably end in tears.”
But despite his many waspish commentaries, the photographer was full of praise for the Queen who he described as “serene, magnetic” and “meltingly sympathetic” and her “very pretty” sister Princess Margaret. When skimming through the volume, I arrived at Cecil’s Portrait sitting with Actor David Warner, and was reminded of my own portrait sitting with David. Cecil’s descriptions of Warner still aptly describe the acting legend. Cecil Beaton: Portraits and Profiles £20.40 (Amazon)


Citizens & Kings Portraits in The Age of Revolution 1760-1830 by Sébastien Allard & Robert Rosenblum 

Citizens and Kings: Portraits in the Age of Revolution 1760-1830Every Portrait Photographer should have a copy of this book. I can’t remember when I last learned so much, this book fascinates me. Artists who have been just names are brought to life. Most of all the sculptor Houdon, whose sensitive, enlightened translation of the Greek style comes to life, and the British painter Thomas Lawrence, once a household name across Europe. What puts people off art history is the idea that it is merely about a sequence of styles – rococo to neo-classicism to Romanticism. If you want to understand the medium of portraiture this book will give you a flying start. The portraits are presented in various categories (e.g. the status portrait, the cultural portrait), preceded by short ‘bite-size’ essays that provide an insight into the context, illustrating their point with comparative works. Citizens & Kings Portraits in The Age of Revolution 1760-1830 £45.00 (Amazon)


A Face to the World: On Self-Portraits by Laura Cumming

9780007118441Focusing on the art of self-portraiture, this effortlessly engaging exploration of the lives of artists sheds fascinating light on some of the most extraordinary portraits in art history. Self-portraits always seem catch your eye. They seem to do it deliberately. Walk into any art gallery and they draw attention to themseles. Come across them in the world’s museums and you get a strange shock of recognition, rather like glimpsing your own reflection. For in picturing themselves artists reveal something far deeper than their own physical looks: the truth about how they hope to be viewed by the world, and how they wish to see themselves. In this beautifully written and lavishly illustrated book, Laura Cumming, art critic of the Observer, investigates the drama of the self-portrait, from Durer, Rembrandt and Velazquez to Munch, Picasso, Warhol and the present day. She considers how and why self-portraits look as they do and what they reveal about the artist’s innermost sense of self – as well as the curious ways in which they may imitate our behaviour in real life.Drawing on art, literature, history, philosophy and biography to examine the creative process in an entirely fresh way, Cumming offers a riveting insight into the intimate truths and elaborate fictions of self-portraiture and the lives of those who practise it. A work of remarkable depth, scope and power, this is a book for anyone who has ever wondered about the strange dichotomy between the innermost self and the self we choose to present for posterity – our face to the world. A Face to the World: On Self-Portraits £15.90 (Amazon)


Karsh Yousef – A Biography in Images by Malcolm Rogers

Karsh Yousef - A Biography in ImagesDuring his remarkable life, Yousuf Karsh, who was born in Armenia in 1908, traveled the globe to photograph subjects ranging from historical figures to anonymous farmers to steelworks. “Karsh: A Biography In Images” is a full revision of the 1996 60-year retrospective of his work and brings that popular catalogue back into print in an affordable paperback format. This new edition covers the photographer’s career with greater breadth than its previous incarnation, adding works from his early experiments and his photojournalism commissions in Canada. Karsh’s reputation as one of the most sought-after portrait photographers of the twentieth century is well established. A roll call of his subjects is a veritable who’s who of the modern age–Winston Churchill, Jacqueline Kennedy, Pablo Picasso, Walt Disney, Elizabeth Taylor and Albert Einstein, to name just a few–and this book features many of these figures, in some of the most recognized images of our time. But added to the portraits are a number of lesser-known or previously unpublished photographs–early figure studies, atmospheric views of the Ottawa theatre and scenes of wheat fields, city streets and factories across Canada. With its long autobiographical essay and extensive captions for each photo, many of them new to this edition, “Karsh: A Biography In Images” is both an elegant celebration and an indispensable overview of a life lived in photography. Karsh Yousef – A Biography in Images £29.50 (Amazon)


Caravaggio: Complete Works by Sebastian Schutze

caravaggio complete works taschenRealist revolutionary: The painter who brought the heavenly down to earth Caravaggio, or more accurately Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610), was always a name to be reckoned with.Notorious bad boy of Italian painting, the artist was at once celebrated and controversial: Violent in temper, precise in technique, a creative master, and a man on the run. This work offers a comprehensive reassessment of Caravaggio’s entire oeuvre with a catalogue of his works. Each painting is reproduced in large format, with recent, high production photography allowing for dramatic close-ups with Caravaggio’s ingenious details of looks and gestures. Five introductory chapters analyze Caravaggio’s artistic career from his early struggle to make a living, through his first public commissions in Rome, and his growing celebrity status. They look at his increasing daring with lighting and with a boundary-breaking realism which allowed even biblical events to unfold with an unprecedented immediacy before the viewer. An accompanying artist chronology follows Caravaggio’s equally tumultous personal life, tracing his history of debts, gambling, drunken brawls, and murder. Caravaggio: Complete Works by Sebastian Schutze £29.24 (Amazon)


Hans Holbein Paperback – 19 Dec 2013 by Pascal GrieneHans Holbein the Younger (1497/8 – 1543), one of the most versatile and admired painters of the Northern Renaissance, trained under his father in Augsburg and then worked for leading patrons in Switzerland before settling in England as Court Painter to Henry VIII. Holbein is my favourite portrait artist. He was a hugely ambitious artist, and even during his formative years in Lucerne and Basle designed jewellery, stained glass and woodcuts as well as paint major altarpieces and portraits. He also carried out several monumental decorative schemes for private houses and civic buildings. In all his commissions Holbein sought to rival the greatest masters of Germany and Italy – notably Durer and Mantegna – as well as Antiquity, and by the time of his visit to France in 1524 he was determined to secure a position as court painter. This, and the precarious situation he was finding himself in as a result of the Reformation’s increasing hostility to religious works, drove him to England for good in 1532, where in addition to decorative schemes and Triumphs he both drew and painted numerous unrivalled likenesses of leading courtiers, merchants and diplomats, among which is his celebrated double portrait ‘The Ambassadors’. This acclaimed, richly illustrated book by Oskar Batschmann and Pascal Griener – now available in a revised and expanded Second Edition – is a major advance in our understanding of Holbein’s contribution to European art. The authors re-examine every aspect of a remarkable career, in which they take full account of the artistic and cultural influences that affected the artist and of his friendships with leading humanists such as Erasmus and Sir Thomas More, and cast fresh light on many hitherto vexing questions and misunderstandings. Hans Holbein Paperback £20.00 (Amazon)


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.

 

 

William Shatner #Portrait Photoshoot Studio City #LA

William-Shatner Portrait Los Angeles Photographer Rory Lewis London Actors HeadshotsCaptain James .T Kirk, TJ Hooker, Denny Crane, icon William Shatner sat for a portrait session in Studio City, Los Angeles last month.  From the age of 7 I have watched Star Trek, and admired William Shatner as an actor. Now was my chance to meet and work with a screen Legend. Arriving at his Office in Los Angeles, I could scarcely believe my eyes, as I spotted William Shatner through the window blinds. Taking a few deep breaths, I got to work setting up my portable studio kit. With a number of ideas floating in my head, I explained to Bill, that I wanted to achieve a ‘plain simple expressive look‘ he replied jokingly ‘I don’t do plain‘, I quickly redescribed the look as ‘emotionless‘, and ‘Bill obliged me with a series of wonderful expressions. (Rory Lewis)

 

William-Shatner Portrait Los Angeles Photographer Rory Lewis London Actors HeadshotsI then changed my lighting and, directed Shatner’s expressions to a more fierce look; ‘Bill’ has always played hero’s in the majority of his work and I wanted to make him look more villainous’. Mr Shatner had some fun with these expressions, saying, I’ve played many hero’s I always get the girl.’  It was wonderful to work with,  Mr Shatner. As a photographer having the opportunity to photograph an icon is indescribable. I’m looking forward to returning to Los Angeles in June for a series of portrait photography courses. All images where taken with Mamiya Leaf Credo 40 + 645df with MAMIYA SEKOR AF 110 MM F2.8 LS Lens. Photoshoot was supported by lighting and equipment from Calumet Photographic.

Not Just a North West Photographer! London Photography Services Available.

Clients may not realise it but I can offer a wide Variety of Photography Services in London, with access to some amazing studio facilities and equipment in the Centre London. Karl Pilkington (born 23 September 1972) is an English television and radio personality, travel show presenter, author, actor, and former radio producer. He gained prominence as the producer of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's radio programme on XFM.[1] He appeared on The Ricky Gervais Show, presented the Sky travel series An Idiot Abroad,[2] and made his full acting debut (following a cameo appearance in the final episode of Extras) on Gervais' 2012 comedy-drama series Derek. Pilkington is a co-founder, along with Gervais and Merchant, of RiSK Productions, a television production company. (Rory Lewis Photographer)

From Actors Head-Shots to Model Portfolios, Commercial, Product & Advertising Photography.

Luis Alberto Suárez Díaz (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈlwis ˈswaɾes]; born 24 January 1987) is a Uruguayan footballer who plays for Premier League club Liverpool and the Uruguayan national team. In 2006, Suárez moved to the Netherlands to play for Groningen in the Eredivisie. Suárez transferred to Ajax in 2007. In 2008–09 he was named Ajax Player of the Year. The following year, he was made the club captain, became the league's top scorer with 35 goals in 33 games, and was named Dutch Footballer of the Year. He scored 49 goals in all competitions and Ajax won the KNVB Cup. In the 2010–11 season, he scored his one hundredth Ajax goal, joining a group of players including Johan Cruyff, Marco van Basten and Dennis Bergkamp in doing so. (Rory Lewis Photographer)

With clients from Karl Pilkington to John Lewis, & Pepsi; over 10 years experience behind the Lens and a great team of Makeup Artists, Hair Stylists, Retouchers, and Photographic Assistants,no Photographic Project is too SMALL or too BIG.

As a photographer I take pride in my ability to work with clients to first assess their needs and then set up the necessary shots that will capture exactly what they want. Please Email Me or Call 07717 139 637, for more information or to quote on your next project.

Nikki Belle Singer, Sex Shooter, (Rory Lewis Photographer)

David Warner (Actor) Portrait Acquired by National Portrait Gallery London

National Portrait Gallery Rory Lewis PhotographerWe are pleased to announce that a portrait of Actor David Warner (Titanic, Time Bandits, Omen) taken by Rory Lewis Photographer, has been acquired by the National Portrait Gallery London. The portrait sitting was David’s the first he has attended since Cecil Beaton photographed him in 1966.

 

Founded in 1856, the aim of the National Portrait Gallery, London is ‘to promote through the medium of portraits the appreciation and understanding of the men and women who have made and are making British history and culture, and … to promote the appreciation and understanding of portraiture in all media’. It is an absolute honour to have one of my images included in the collection.

 National Portrait Gallery David Warner Actor Portrait Rory Lewis Photographer

The Portrait was taken for the ‘Northerners’ Photography Exhibit‘ several more portraits of David from the session will be hung at the ‘Northerners Exhibition‘ in July 2014 Click Here for more Information and to purchase open night tickets. The exhibition is Sponsored by Calumet Photographic and will be in Aid of UNICEF.


NPG x138151; David Warner by Rory Lewis

Limited Edition Prints of the Image Are Available Click Here to Purchase