John De Lancie Portrait Sitting

February and back in Los Angeles to teach a Portrait Masterclass at Samy’s Cameras Photo School. During my short visit, 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.

HyperFocal: 0 (Rory Lewis)HyperFocal: 0 (Rory Lewis)

Equipment Used

Los Angeles April 2016

April saw me spending three weeks back over the pond in Los Angeles, leading me to dub the city my second home. This avenue of photography has really taken off for my business. Back in 2014 it accounted for barely 2% of my work load. Now, in 2016, 15% of my assignments take place in the City of Angels.

Downtown LA (Rory Lewis Photographer)

Downtown LA (Rory Lewis Photographer)

On home turf it’s a similar story too. Whilst I will always remain true to my roots, Liverpool used to account for 75% of my work, whereas now 60% of my time is devoted to the capital. As my career has developed I’ve followed my heart, always seeking to let my passion see business sense. The combination seems to be working.

Downtown LA (Rory Lewis Photographer)

Downtown LA (Rory Lewis Photographer)

I’m an Englishman in… Los Angeles
Looking from the outside in has given me a different view of Los Angeles from the average LA dweller themselves. It took a bit of adjusting to the laid back surfer dude lifestyle. For a formal portrait photographer this poses one big shift in dynamics: out is the formal attire of military wear and the suited and booted, in comes the shorts, t-shirts and slip flop look. Quite a contrast.

Downtown LA (Rory Lewis Photographer)

Downtown LA (Rory Lewis Photographer)

This follows through to business attitudes too. I’m used to presenting my business persona, known to the Americans as the British Stiff Upper Lip. This is a strategy that works well in the corridors of Whitehall, or with eminent London actors, but does leave you feeling a little like a fish out of water in Los Angeles. I’ve had to become chameleon like and change my persona to suit a different brand of clients. In Los Angeles I’m likely to be grabbed en route to the shoot to go grab a taco, crack a few jokes. Shoots will frequently be finished up with a chance to go for dinner when I get quizzed about my works and exhibitions.

 

With a three week visit this time I wanted to head out and experience the real LA. With the convenience of AirBnB this wasn’t too hard as I could do it from a few different apartments and guest houses.

 

After 14 hours of flying I was grateful that my first stop-off was in the quiet hills of La Canada Flintridge. A perfect place to relax, unwind and find my feet. 

I highly recommend the Melrose Trading Post which is open every Sunday. This place is what we would call an antiques and vintage fair in the UK. It’s a delightful mish-mash of stalls with street food and live entertainment. If you want to enjoy some really good food and listen to live music, and buy something vintage make sure you pop along.

Antique Portraits (Melrose Trading Post)

Antique Portraits (Melrose Trading Post)

Down to Work in Los Angeles

 William Shatner was the subject of my first portrait sitting, once again in his offices in Studio City. The previous time I had photographed him I had needed to work fast – I had 5 minutes before he had to fly off to a film set. This time was a different affair. He was wonderfully relaxed, sporting linen trousers and sandals, the epitome of the Californian (even though he is Canadian). LA grows on everyone. I was able to direct several different looks and expressions, and was very pleased with the results as was William Shatner himself.

William Shatner (Rory Lewis Photographer)

William Shatner (Rory Lewis Photographer) Phase One XF IQ40MP



Heading downtown to a studio apartment, I moved in to the hustle and bustle of central LA. Welcome to the cultural melting pot. Downtown is unusually small, not at all like New York or London. Being able to walk these streets was a real pleasure knowing that just 20 years ago this was a No Go zone. Despite the compact downtown area, LA in fact spreads out as far as the eye can see into several cities and towns. Downtown has some wonderful quaint and bohemian places to visit, the Last Book Store is a must. But be careful – you will come out with a box of secondhand books as I did.

Downtown LA (Rory Lewis Photographer)

Downtown LA (Rory Lewis Photographer)

My second sitting of the trip was with legendary actor Richard Herd. Quietly renowned, he as starred in a diverse range of movies and television series, mainly in the 1980s. He starred in TJ Hooker & in the science fiction series ‘V’. You may have also seen him in the 1970’s film FIST.

Actor Richard Herd (Rory Lewis Photographer)

Actor Richard Herd (Rory Lewis Photographer) Phase One XF IQ40MP

Actor Richard Herd (Rory Lewis Photographer)It was a pleasure to be invited to Richard’s home for the sitting. I was delighted to have a look at his own art work, being a keen painter himself. He showed me one of his portraits of Rod Steiger who has starred with him in movies. It was an impressive sight. Richard is now 83 and constitutes my ideal subject for portraiture. He truly has a face that’s been lived in: his features tell the tale of his life, and his aged hands and features make for epic portraiture. His experience as an actor made him a joy to photograph. Richard was at natural ease with direction making my job easier. His poses and expressions were effortless. I donned my thick skin to have him swear at me to express anger, the results were worthwhile!

 

Sitting Number Three

 with actor Jonathan Frakes took place at his home way out in Tarzanna. Jonathan once played the role of Commander Riker in Star Trek the Next Generation. Anyone who follows my work knows that I’m a bit of a Trekkie, so this was a real treat for me.

Jonathan Frakes (Rory Lewis Photographer)

Jonathan Frakes (Rory Lewis Photographer) Phase One XF IQ40MP

Jonathan is now a director. He’s been responsible for directing many episodes of Marvels Agents of Shield, Falling Skies, and his latest project The Librarians. It was incredibly interesting to meet Jonathan. An exceptionally tall man, I took my wife Sasha with me to assist on the sitting. Sasha being 6’ 2” herself was still dwarfed by him. His stature combined with his natural portrait-ready face made a series of striking frames.

Jeffrey Combs (Rory Lewis Photographer)

Jeffrey Combs (Rory Lewis Photographer) Phase One XF IQ40MP

Los Angeles Welcomes My Fourth Sitting

. This sitting almost certainly was my favourite. I had the pleasure of photographing actor Jeffry Combs, a true master of talent. Again he tickled my Trekkie fandom, but Combs is also known for his starring role in the 1980’s gore fest, The ReAnimator as well as other roles. I thoroughly enjoyed his performance in “Would You Rather” – it’s a horror movie with an interesting twist.

Jeffrey Combs (Rory Lewis Photographer)

Jeffrey Combs (Rory Lewis Photographer) Phase One XF IQ40MP

Meeting Jeff at the entrance of the apartment, we headed out for a taco and a chance to chat about his latest projects – and to get a sense of the man in the flesh ready for his shoot. Jeff is another epitome of Californian style and relaxed charm. His face is animated and expressive and he truly put on a performance for the shoot. I directed him to imagine being giving a parking ticket right after the shoot, the expression was worth it and broke free from the Californian laid back style. Every frame tells a different story. It was a privilege to see each element of my direction reflected in a unique expression, a moment in time caught in portrait. I just hope he didn’t in fact get a parking ticket!

Harry Groener (Rory Lewis Photographer)

Harry Groener (Rory Lewis Photographer) Phase One XF IQ40MP

Nearing the End, with My Second-to-Last LA Portrait Sitting
Actor Harry Groener was the star of my penultimate sitting. I was previously due to shoot Harry later in the second week of my visit. However, Harry texted me to say he had just been cast for a part, and the wonderful beard and slightly long hair he was sprouting would have to be cut off. With this in mind we moved the sitting forward. As a wonderful character actor, I wanted to capture Harry as the mammoth of the stage he is. One of the things you understand is that Character Actors enjoy the rugged look: The Stoop, as I like to call it.

Harry Groener (Rory Lewis Photographer)

Harry Groener (Rory Lewis Photographer) Phase One XF IQ40MP

Once again, a laid-back character greeted me at the apartment. We worked together to create several different looks and emotions to create a series of wonderful portraits that would challenge and inspire. Harry is an incredibly talented actor, absorbing my photography direction effortlessly.

 

My Last Photography Sitting in Los Angeles

My final sitting of the trip took place at our final destination: The Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City. Without a doubt, The Sportsmen’s Lodge is by far our favourite hotel in LA. It is an icon of the 1950s. Incredibly , John Wayne once fished in the lake behind the hotel with his son. The hotel certainly hasn’t lost its charm and is well worth considering it if you’re planning a trip to LA.

Kitty Swink (Rory Lewis Photographer)

Kitty Swink (Rory Lewis Photographer) Phase One XF IQ40MP

Actress Kitty Swink was my final sitting of the trip. Kitty is the wife of my good friend, Armin Shimmerman. A superb actress, Kitty’s eyes are a striking combination of hazel and green. Kitty and Armin mirror my wife and I: one is tall and one is short, and we’re not looking at the usual gender stereotype! For Kitty and Armin this in fact helped the pair to gain a role as a married couple in Dudley Moore’s movie, “Like Father Like Son”. Let’s not forget that Dudley Moore himself would feel at ease with the stature of myself and Armin! Nonetheless, Kitty is generally more a native of the stage as an astounding actress. She is effortlessly expressive and a true talent indeed.

 

Rory Lewis, Back to Blighty 

All in all, the trip was a very successful. We were welcomed by this incredible city, and we spent three wonderful weeks exploring it. I completed six successful portrait sittings that have become essential parts of my portfolio and depict my love of portraiture.

 

I’m looking forward to returning to LA in June. This time the focus of the trip will be to teach a workshop with my new partner, Samy’s Camera. Nonetheless I already have several plans to complete more portrait sittings.

 

If you are looking for a photographer, notably a specialist in portraiture photography, in Los Angeles, then give me a shout. I’m in LA several times a year and always keen to schedule new assignments.

 

Los Angeles Actors Headshots Rory Lewis Photographer

Lt General Poffley Portrait Sitting

Military Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis Lt General Mark Poffley British ArmyLt General Mark Poffley O.B.E very graciously accepted my invitation to sit for a portrait at the M.O.D London Headquarters in WhiteHall. Poffley was commissioned into the Royal Army Ordnance Corps in 1985. The General has served in the British Army for 31 years being deployed in every major conflict in the past three decades from The Gulf War, Bosnian War, Insurgency in the Republic of Macedonia, War in Afghanistan and the Iraq War. My aim was to capture a portrait of Poffley as a leader, taking inspiration from Military Portrait Artists such as George Dawe with strong and bold expressions and body language, I also shot from lower angles to emphasise height. If you are in need of a portrait photographer with a historical perspective please contact me for a quote, I am available throughout  the year in the the UK & USA.

 

Military Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis Lt General Mark Poffley British Army

Military Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis Lt General Mark Poffley British Army

Military Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis Lt General Mark Poffley British Army

Military Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis Lt General Mark Poffley British Army

 

Equipment Used

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.

 

 

Andrew J Robinson Portrait Sitting

My Expressive Portraits Exhibition is enabling me to seek out opportunities to undertake Portrait Sittings with some impressive stars of stage, screen and TV. This has necessitated a fair amount of hopping back and forth across the Atlantic as I aim to bring a depth to the exhibition that would not be possible by staying on English turf only.

 

Andrew Robinson Actor Portrait Rory Lewis London LA Portrait PhotographerI first wrote to impressive Director and compelling Actor, Andrew J Robinson, hoping to include him in a Los Angeles trip last September. Having not heard back from him at the time of departure I hoped I would instead be able to undertake a shoot with him on my 2016 Los Angeles trip. However, I was pleasantly surprised, when arriving in LA, that there was an email from him, keen to take up the opportunity. Robinson heartily agreed to sit for a Portrait Session and we arranged a day in Studio City to do the shoot.

Andrew Jordt "Andy" Robinson (born February 14, 1942) is an American actor and director of the Master of Fine Arts acting program at the University of Southern California.[1] Originally a stage actor, he works predominantly in supporting roles on television and in low-budget films. He is best known for his role as the serial killer Scorpio in the crime film Dirty Harry (1971), the role of Larry Cotton in the horror film Hellraiser (1987), and starring as Elim Garak on the science fiction television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993–1999).[2] He and wife Irene have a daughter, actress Rachel Robinson, who appeared in Deep Space Nine. (Rory Lewis)

Being somewhat of a Trekkie, Robinson was high on my ‘hit list’ for entries to my Expressive Portraits Exhibition owing to his role as Garak in Star Trek Deep Space Nine. However, Robinson is also notorious for his entrancing portrayal of the first psychopathic killer, Scorpio, who shattered our nerves in the film Dirty Harry, as well as playing the part of Larry Cotton in the horror film Hellraiser.

 

Interestingly, on meeting Andy, I discovered that whilst he attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, he had shared a room with the famed Brian Cox, the subject of a sitting I completed last year. This felt like proof of the small world nature of the world of Portrait Photography as well as adding depth to my exhibits on a personal level.

 

As for the sitting itself, I found Andrew Robinson to be a complete natural in front of the camera. Whilst you may think this is the case for all actors, the stationary ‘screen shot’ of photography can phase some actors not used to the non-transient nature compared with rolling film. Not for Andy! The theme of the sitting was Character Acting, and Andrew rose to the challenge to incorporate this essence in to each shot, capturing character on camera. I captured a series of varying expressions with a particular focus on the more odious and extreme in tribute and recognition of the many nefarious characters he has played. From a personal point of view, I particularly love the second portrait as it conveys a vicious and expressive pose with Robinson’s eyes boring in to the viewer with his steely gaze.

 

It was a pleasure to undertake the sitting with Andrew Robinson in Los Angeles, and I look forward to incorporating the portraits in my Expressive Portraits Exhibition.