Royal Photographic Society Journal November 2016

Thank you to the Royal Photographic Society for Publishing one of my latest Portrait Sittings with the men of the 3rd Batalion the Parachutte Regiment.  The feature offers a unique behind the scenes look into my Soldiery Portrait Exhibition. With a behind the scenes view to how I work and the equipment I use. Click Here to View more information about my Soldiery Portrait Exhibition.

 

Since January 2016 I have been photographing members of the British Army for my project Soldiery. I’ve so far captured hundreds of different subjects in a bid to accurately represent the army in the second decade of the 21st century.

 

Photographing soldiers from a number of regiments, including the Grenadier Guards, The Royal Welsh, The Royal Irish and The Gurkhas, all of which will appear in a future exhibition and accompanying when the project is complete.

 

Just last month, I visited the 3rd battalion parachute regiment near Colchester and photographed a diverse group of soldiers. The battalion has been active since 1941, playing a central during battles in north Africa and Italy during WWII.

 

Photographing military personnel comes with a unique set of challenges. You need to gain their trust, which requires some initial paperwork prior to going to the base. None of this, however, got in the way of me capturing loads of great shots of the soldiers – thanks to their patience and hospitality. In particular, I really wanted to get some full-length group shots of the soldiers in combat gear and with their equipment. Below, in the RPS feature I take you through how I got these shots from a technical perspective, offering an insight into what a barracks photoshoot entails.

Royal Photographic Society Rory Lewis Photographer Parachute Regiment Military Portraiture

Royal Photographic Society Rory Lewis Photographer Parachute Regiment Military Portraiture

Royal Photographic Society Rory Lewis Photographer Parachute Regiment Military Portraiture

Royal Photographic Society Rory Lewis Photographer Parachute Regiment Military Portraiture

Royal Photographic Society Rory Lewis Photographer Parachute Regiment Military Portraiture

Royal Photographic Society Rory Lewis Photographer Parachute Regiment Military Portraiture

Soldiery – Capturing British Army Generals


One of my current projects is entitled ‘Soldiery’. It’s an exciting, interesting and challenging project in which I’m working in collaboration with the British Army to capture a truly unique collection of military portraiture.

 

Soldiery has taken a year to complete and has seen me visiting a dozen regiments from the Queen’s Royal Lancers, to the Household Cavalry, Gurkhas and Parachute Regiment. There have been over 250 portrait sittings that have seen me march the length and breadth of the country. Over this past year, I’ve been in military bases as far apart as Scotland’s Fort George in Inverness, to Catterick Yorkshire, Buckingham Palace, Horse Guards, the MOD Headquarters in Whitehall and Army Headquarters in Andover.

Kings Royal Hussars

The aim of Soldiery has been to capture the ‘greats’ of our military in a portrait collection which will serve as historical record of the British Army in the early 21st Century. This is living history, and includes several of the Army’s Generals and the senior staff of the British Army.

Major General Tim Robinson CBE

The Challenges 

I asked myself, as a humble civilian, how best to approach the portrait sittings. These figures are eminent people of stature and rank. What was the protocol? What style of portraiture would be best suited?

Lieutenant Colonel James Gaselee LG

Photographers are, in many ways, like a chameleon. We adapt to our environment as we are a facilitator. As you may know, my inspiration is often drawn from historical portrait paintings of the past. I went back to my roots, channelled my inner history buff, and began reminding myself of military paintings of the Napoleonic period. 

Very quickly I stumbled upon the works of the celebrated George Dawe. His style laid the foundations of my style for the project. With a staggering 342 portraits of Russian Generals to peruse I wasn’t short of inspiration. He was a busy and incredibly talented artist – in an 18 month period he had painted 80 Generals to be displayed at the Winter Palace having gained the commission during a tour of Europe with his Patrons the Duke and Duchess of Kent.

Alexander-Bibikov & Dmitry Levin George Daw Portrait Artist

Alexander-Bibikov & Dmitry Levin George Dawe Portrait Artist

George Dawe – Inspiration for Modern Military Portraiture

From British shores, Dawe relocated to St Petersburg in 1819. He rapidly won acclaim for his work and also received complimentary poetry verses by Pushkin entitled ‘To Dawe Esq.’ His work is on display at the Hermitage in St Petersburg.  In fact, he became somewhat of a celebrity throughout Europe, mixing with the Russian intellectual elite, even gaining an invitation to the coronation of Nicholas I in 1826. By 1828 he had been officially appointed First Portrait Painter of the Imperial Court. 

For me, perusing his work, it’s the subject’s heroism and responsibility that left its mark. This is what I wanted to capture in my project with a lens, rather than a brush.

Alexander Balashov & Alexander Seslavin George Dawe Portrait Artist

Alexander Balashov & Alexander Seslavin George Dawe Portrait Artist

Military Sittings Began – Lt. General Mark Poffley

 First up was Lt. General Mark Poffley O.B.E at the M.O.D London Headquarters in White Hall. Poffley was commissioned into the Royal Army Ordnance Corps in 1985 and has since served in the British Army for 31 years. He has been 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.

Lieutenant-General Mark Poffley, OBE

So began my aim to capture the General as a leader, an implacable Napoleonic Hero in Dawe’s inspirational style. Once the shoot was underway I requested the General to clutch his sword as I shot from a lower angle. With eyes to the camera I was able to direct, and capture, a fierce yet responsible expression.

General Sir James Everard KCB CBE

 

My second sitting took place with Lt General Sir James Everard Commander Army Land Forces, this time at Army Head Quarters in Andover. Everard is a veteran of many campaigns and has seen action in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq & Afghanistan. With Dawe’s inspiration at my fingertips I directed the General to pose profile allowing a full display of his medals and battle honours, with sword held close. I requested a responsible yet solemn expression looking to provoke the same thoughts in the viewers of my photographs as Dawe succeeded with his painting.

 

For historical recording, the sword is of critical importance. It is only part of the dress uniform for Generals who have received a 3-Star rank or above. The swords come from the Sovereign.

Lieutenant General James Bashall CBE

A tall and imposing man, Lt. General Bashall was photographed at the General’s Headquarters in Aldershot. The General is one of the British Army’s most veteran combat commanders, justifiably proud of his service with the Parachute Regiment.

In order to fully capture and capitalise upon the General’s stature, I opted for a half-length portrait. Key this time was to capture his ‘wings’, the symbol of the Paratroopers.

 

The Major-General commanding the Household Division commands the Household Division of the British Army. He is also General Officer Commanding London District. The Major- General has sole responsibility for the Service aspect of all State and ceremonial occasions within London District, having executive command of the Household Division and of any other units brought into London for ceremonial purposes and is the main channel of communication between the Household Division and the Monarch. He or she is appointed by The Queen, and will previously have commanded a Regiment or Battalion within the Household Division.

Major General Benjamin Bathurst CBE

The incumbent Major General Benjamin Bathurst CBE of the Welsh Guards, now occupies the role. The sitting took place at Horse Guards London. In the historic office, the Duke of Wellington once occupied, now used by the Major General of the Household Division. I couldn’t resist but to capture a portrait of Bathurst, sitting behind the desk once belonging to the Iron Duke.

 

It is known that the desk itself has been in the o ce of the Major- General since the late 1700s when the room was once known as the Courts Martial Room and then the Levee Room. It became the sole o ce of the Commander in Chief of the British Army sometime in the early 19th century. The desk itself was commissioned and purchased by Frederick Duke of York the second son of King George III, a truly historic sitting.

 

Major General Sanders is commander of the 3rd UK Division or ‘Iron Division’. It is the job of the Iron Division to respond to the call to field an army, whenever needed. The result is that General Sanders plays a crucial role as a combat commander. Previously a member of the Rifle Regiment, the General is no stranger to the field of combat. Direction this time involved instructing his eyes to focus on the camera with me shooting from a lower point. The result is a portrait capturing a powerful yet thoughtful figure.

Major General Patrick Sanders, London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

Major General Patrick Sanders, London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

Major General Susan Ridge is a senior British Army officer and lawyer. Since September 2015, she has been Director General of the Army Legal Services Branch (DGALS). She is the first woman to hold the rank of major general in the British Army.

Major General Susan Ridge

The final General of the collection was Major General Bob Bruce, commander of the Royal Regiment of Scotland. I needed to display tradition in this portrait with Bruce captured in his traditional Scottish uniform. Profile to camera enabled me to capture his regimental badge and his feather plume in all its glory. I used lighting techniques to separate him from the backdrop, creating a split of light on the unseen part of his facial profile.

Major General Bob Bruce

From these sittings with senior military figures I have learned a great deal about capturing leadership. I have found myself directing prominent individuals who are used to themselves giving direction to the men and women they command. I have relished the chance to take responsibility and ownership for these historical images of senior military leaders. These portraits will stand the test of time.

 

Relying once again on my confidence as a portrait photographer, I was able to bring to the sittings the direction needed to draw on Dawe’s inspiration. This confidence is key to any of my sittings, both military and in other fields where I need to capture leaders: from business to government.  Whilst Soldiery is complete, the lessons I’ve learned will follow through to all my future portrait sittings.

 

Rory Lewis: The One Stop Shop for Headshots

Beth Tweddle Portrait Rory Lewis PhotographerIt’s a big wild world out there when seeking headshots, whether you’re an actor, business leader, politician or anyone seeking a portrait photo for professional purposes. Sorting the wheat from the chaff and being sure you’re going to get exactly what you need, on professional level, can be overwhelming. You need someone who knows your home turf, with a specialist North-West headshot photographer covering Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds, but who knows how to play the headshot game, getting exactly what you are looking for from your final images: professionalism; confidence; your Unique Selling Point conveyed. You need someone who has the confidence and experience of working with both celebrities and those looking to make their name alike, capable of shooting the best of anyone.

Headshot Photography: Why a One Stop Shop, One Man Band?

 

Corporate Headshots Liverpool, London, Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow

It’s easy to be bowled over and hoodwinked by a large national photography studio with a corporate image and multiple photographers. The downside is, you don’t know who you’re going to get or the exact quality of their work. With a One Man Band, like Rory Lewis Photographer, globally experienced yet locally based in the North West across Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds, you know exactly what you’re getting. My image as an individual matters, so I capture your image professionally, yet creatively. A One Man Band focusses on you and you alone, each and every client matters.

Political Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

Political Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

Headshot Photography North-West UK: Why Rory Lewis?

 

I am not a general photographer, but a highly experienced Portrait Photographer with over 10 years’ headshot experience. I have a proven track record working with celebrities, corporate clients, models, upcoming actors and actresses, politicians, and all manner of walks of life. Exhibiting at the National Portrait Gallery, with names such as Sir Patrick Stewart, Sir Ian McKellan, Sir Derek Jacobi, David Warner, Iain Glen and Julian Glover, I feel confident in my headshot reputation.

This enables me to ensure that your session is relaxed, and entirely focussed on you and what you need from your shoot. I understand what is needed across the range of headshot requirements, from child actors to leading politicians, so that I can lead the shoot and guide you to portray yourself to the camera in a way that will capture the essence of the look you are striving for. My sessions are relaxed and informal and truly for everyone. I work with you developing styles, emotions and lighting that is appropriate for your headshots.

Legends of the Stage Portraits Rory Lewis Photographer

Legends of the Stage Portraits Rory Lewis Photographer

Headshots: Who Are The Clients

 

The beauty of choosing a Portraiture Specialist such as Rory Lewis Photography, is that you find a One Stop Shop. Whatever your headshot needs, they can be met. From child actors with their unique needs for easy-going rapport to household names with their well-known personalities, from Corporate Profiles for LinkedIn demonstrating a branded style, to publication-based images for the military, everyone will find a package to suit.

Liverpool Cheap/Discounted Actors Headshot Session Affordable

A vast majority of headshot clients are actors looking for their portfolio images. I have worked with a huge range of actors and actresses across the North West UK from celebrities to newcomers, I am in tune with casting director expectations and I understand the industry. I understand the nerve-wracking difference that can be felt between motion and still photography, and put you at your ease to ensure you are photographed at your best, demonstrating the range of your acting abilities, your potential and confidence.

Lord Mayors of Liverpool Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

Lord Mayors of Liverpool Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

Corporate clients have their own unique requirements. With experience working for large corporate names such as Pepsi, CancerResearch UK, John Lewis and the Ministry of Defence, I understand the need to ensure your corporate headshots seamlessly represent your brand identity and corporate image. The result is polished professional business photos whether the subject is the CEO or entry-level employee. As always, I work to ensure each and every sitting is conducted in a friendly and relaxed manner, bringing out the very best in every photo.

 

Further headshots are required by many different individuals and groups. Military, political and historical figures bring their own unique set of requirements for portrait headshots demonstrating confidence, leadership and power. With experience photographing such eminent individuals such as William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith as well as key figures from the Army, RAF and Navy. Alongside these I have experience undertaking headshots for sports personalities and individuals from a wide range of professions. I understand headshot: what is required, and how to deliver what you need in an affordable, comprehensive, personal and tailored way.

Military Portrait Photographer Liverpool & London

Headshots: One Stop Shop Package Options

 

The realm of headshot photography has become highly complex to those looking from the outside in. Knowing exactly what you are getting and what it will cost you can seem an elusive dream. This is why I believe in allowing my reputation, experience and previous shoots to speak for themselves, alongside simple yet comprehensive packages. This means you can easily choose the North West UK Headshot option that suits you best.

 

To achieve the best looks, you need to be relaxed and at ease. Therefore my sessions are usually around 2 hours: plenty of time to undertake hairstyle and clothing changes as necessary; time to explore studio and natural light (outdoor) shots; relaxed time over a coffee to review images as they are created to repeatedly check-in that we’re getting exactly what we need. The aim of Rory Lewis Portrait Sessions is to give you a tailor-made experience in a straightforward, upfront package. At the end of the session around 500 shots will have been taken, and you’ll quickly receive a reduced amount from which you can choose your favourites. I then believe communication is key and I work with you to touch up these images in line with your headshot requirements.

Portraitist copy

Rory Lewis Photography: Your One Stop Headshot Stop

 

If you’re in the North West, in the regions of Liverpool, Manchester or Leeds, and looking for a headshot shoot then I’m your man. I love what I do and that’s conveyed in all my work. I enjoy working with a vast range of individuals, bringing you what you want and need, within a simple, comprehensive, affordable package that is suitable for everyone.

 

To Book Please Email Me rorylewis@me.com or Call 07717 139 637  For Availability

 

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.

 

 

Commander Audberto Lopez Military Portraits

Military Portrait Photographer Liverpool & LondonOver the past few months, I have been working with several diplomatic missions in London on my Ambassadors Project. Popping my head in and out of various embassies I have gained several commissions. Just this week, I was commissioned by Mexico’s Deputy Military Attaché Commander Audberto Lopez for a Military Portrait Sitting in London. It was wonderful working with the Commander, over the years I have captured a great deal of portraits from British Armed Forces personal of the RAF, Army and Royal Navy. It was a nice change to capture a portrait of a Mexican Naval Officer. Portraits are very important for military personal, to be captured in Uniform looking ones best and in full finery can fill one with pride. Commander Lopez is very happy with his portraits and also purchased a framed prints and enlargements of his images. If you are a member of the Armed Forces seeking a portrait please have a look at my comprehensive service available in London and Liverpool.

 (Rory Lewis)

 (Rory Lewis)

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)