2016 Year in Review

Rory Lewis Photography: 2016 in a Nutshell

2016 has been another exciting, challenging, and hard-working year at Rory Lewis Photography. Work has been diverse and interesting, ranging from portrait projects with their own unique scope and approach, to commissions which have involved Hollywood actors such as Toby Jones and Natalie Dormer. Likewise, I’ve been caught snapping esteemed Military and Political Leaders from some of the staunchest UKIP Brexiteers to decorated British Generals, Admirals and Air Marshalls.

 

The boundaries haven’t stopped there, and I’ve even photographed an Austrian General, the German Actor Wolf Kahler, the Danish Ambassador to the UK, hundreds of our soldiers, and many valiant Victoria and George Cross Veterans. A challenging, diverse, and international year!

Brigadier Günter Eisl Portrait Sitting (Rory Lewis London Portrait Photographer)

Beyond sittings, I’ve been found leading teaching at the National Portrait Gallery and The Victoria and Albert Museum. Alongside this, it’s been a developmental year for myself and the business, seeing more of my work acquired by the National Portrait Gallery.

 

Portrait Exhibitions 2017 and Beyond

The culmination of many of the 2016 portrait projects which have seen my dedication and soaring mileage, will be a series of portrait exhibitions which will be held throughout 2017 and beyond in to 2018.

 

Soldiery

Soldiery, the portrait project, started at the end of 2015. It has been a labour of love (and roads!) and has seen me catalogue a vast range of the British Military personnel across the length and breadth of the country. Not only that, I’ve had to hop over to Germany to complete the project. Soldiery has been immense in scope, and it’s only with hindsight that it is possible to truly comprehend this. It has seen me complete around 250 portrait sittings with soldiers of varying stature and rank, from a huge variety of the diverse and iconic British Army.

Soldiery has resulted in an in-depth historical and inspiring record of the British Army in the early 21st Century in both exhibition and book format. Capturing the stature and essence of the individuals, the rank, and the regiment required adaptable skills to create powerful portraits whether dealing with the colourful pageantry style uniform of the Black Watch 3rd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland, or the dark and muted tones of the 1st Battalion Rifles.

General Bashall (Left) Lt General Poffley (Right)

I drew my inspiration from the prolific military portrait artist George Dawe, famed for his immense number of paintings of Russian Generals. I simply stand in awe at the number of portraits he painted, having seen my own artistry challenged and extended by my ‘mere’ 250 sittings!

 

London Expansion

As my reputation as a leading portrait photographer continues to grow, a great deal of my work is regularly focused on London. It’s not unusual to see me, and my gear, pounding the pavements of the capital, three or four times a week. These shoots see me flitting between portrait sittings to my bread and butter work of actor headshots and model portfolio creation.

Rory Lewis Photographer London Actors Headshots

London also draws me for another key reason. Much of my photography teaching work has focused on London in 2016. This usually takes the form of one-to-one photography workshops and also group photography workshops. Beyond London, my photography teaching and courses have continued and expanded in Dublin, Edinburgh, Belfast and Los Angeles.

 

Home Roots

Photography sittings and teaching have continued in Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds. I am still pleased to be able to offer headshots and portfolio services in the thriving screen areas of the north.

 

Reflections on the Year of Learning

National Portrait Gallery Workshop, Rory Lewis Photographer 28th & 29th May 2016

New Year 2016 saw me label the year ahead as a ‘Year of Learning’. I kept this goal in mind at every opportunity the year presented. Most notably, 2016 presented me with the opportunity to teach photography at two iconic institutions: the Victoria and Albert Museum, and The National Portrait Gallery. What an honour! These experiences were not just learning opportunities for the attendees and delegates, but an opportunity for me to solidify my ideas and creative style of portraiture. I have felt privileged to teach literally nudging up against my own artistic inspiratory character, Holbein, the Renaissance Portraitist.

London Portrait Masterclass Rory Lewis Photography School Tuition

I have also enjoyed continuing my long term partnership with Calumet Photographic. This partnership has enabled me to deliver over two dozen workshops throughout 2016 specifically focused on the medium of portraiture. One-to-one portrait photography lessons have once again been a mainstay of the year, with various bespoke and tailored workshops for clients with their own individual learning requirements. 2017 will see this element of Rory Lewis Photography flourish, with over two dozen exciting workshops currently on offer over the coming year.

 

Portraiture in Essence

2016 started with an assignment which, for me, encapsulated my core aims and ambitions: to become ever more focused on the niche of portrait photography, and establishing myself as an accomplished Portraitist. My own unique style has been welcomed in sittings that have captured figures of historical and artistic importance. I challenge myself to capture every detail whilst revealing the character and eminence of the individual or their role.

Army Recruitment

Portraiture Sittings

The year, with a focus on portraiture, started off on the right foot with a sitting with actor Toby Jones. Jones, being one of my favourite actors, was a pleasure and a challenge all wrapped up in one. I wanted to encapsulate his bohemian image in an intrinsically unique and unadorned style. I wanted the images to disarm the viewer with Toby Jones’ distinctive and individual character. This work was great fun, Toby Jones was a joy to work with, and seeing his incredible talent first-hand was pretty rewarding!

Actor Toby Jones, London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

From here, I was commissioned by the RAF to complete a portrait sitting with the outgoing Air Chief Marshall, Sir Andrew Pulford. Rapidly finding myself at ease in military settings thanks to my Soldiery project, this was a sitting right up my street. Sir Andrew Pulford is a helicopter pilot with over 5000 hours of flying time clocked up, and is a veteran of campaigns ranging from Northern Ireland, to the Falklands, to the Gulf War. This portrait sitting needed to capture Pulford’s vast experience and leadership. It was an enjoyable challenge. My reputation as a military portraitist has snowballed, largely due to the Soldiery project. Since the sitting with Sir Andrew Pulford I have been called on to create portrait sittings with a vast range of Army Generals, Admirals and Air Marshalls. 2016 is the year that much of the British Military Leadership paraded in front of my lens! I’ve photographed the likes of General Sir James Everard, to Lt. Generals Bashall and Poffley, as well as Admirals Zambellas and Jones.

Lt General Sir James Everard, Military Portraits, London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

Back to Acting

Not far into the year, at the end of January, I enjoyed working with Actor Julian Bleach. Bleach is an actor whose skill I have admired for some time. I particularly love Julian’s portrayal of Niccolò Machiavelli in Showtime’s series The Borgias. It was wonderful to work with, and photograph, him. His amazing bone structure made it brilliant for me with an opportunity to play around with shadows, highlights and back-lighting as I created the portrait.

Julian Bleach Rory Lewis London Portrait Photographer

With a Spot of Ambassadorial Spirit

Whilst visiting the capital in 2016 you would have been as likely to see me popping in to an Embassy as getting up close and personal with Holbein in The National Portrait Gallery. My Ambassadors Portrait Project started in 2015 and was extended this year when the Austrian General & Defence Attaché to UK, Brigadier Günter Eisl, commissioned a portrait to be held at the Austrian Embassy in London. Following this sitting, London’s only uniformed Ambassador of the Kingdom of Denmark, Claus Grube, sat for a portrait. Whilst focusing on their portraits it has also been fascinating to learn about our European allies and understanding their customs and traditions.

HyperFocal: 0 (Rory Lewis)

Featured Work

I’m pleased that 2016 saw my work features in Photo-Plus Magazine. Photo-Plus published a 5-page feature on my lighting techniques (one of my secret ingredients!) along with practical guides.

The Royal Photographic Society also featured a similar sized feature focusing on my lighting, specifically with the 3rd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment. In the RPS feature I guide readers through the technical aspects of the shots providing you with an insight in to the unique nature of barracks photoshoots.

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.

 

Headshots Galore

Throughout 2016, headshots have been continually commissioned. I’ve had actors, barristers, solicitors, corporate directors and office personnel all appearing before my lens. Notable characters have included American author Akemi Dawn Bowmen as well as X-Factor Winners Beau Dermott, and Richard and Adam Johnson.

Beau Dermott Portrait Sitting Rory Lewis Photographer

Undertaking headshot sittings plays to my strengths as an experienced Portrait Photographer. The 10 years’ of headshot experience that I have feeds in to the reputation I have established as a portrait photographer of our time. I understand the skills and direction needed whether dealing with actors or managing directors, business leaders or politicians. I am able to lead the shoot and guide the individual in their portrayal to the camera. For headshots this is essential, as these pictures exude the image that ‘sells’ whether that’s as an image for a certain role, or as a business leader eminent in their field.

Author Akemi Dawn Bowmen Portrait Rory Lewis Photographer Portraits London

This is all possible because of a sitting that is relaxed and informal and accessible to everyone, whether a budding child actor or an established public figure. My portraiture expertise and experience enables me to assist you in developing styles, emotions and incorporating lighting that will make your headshot stand out.

 

From Army to Navy

Whilst Soldiery has seen a great deal of focus on the Army, just before jetting off to Los Angeles again this year, I was given the honour of photographing a truly historic series of portraits.

Recently I had the honor of photographing a very historic series of portrait sittings. Commissioned by The Royal Navy. To Photograph the outgoing First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas and his incumbent Admiral Sir Philip Jones.

These portraits were commissioned by the Royal Naval and were to photograph the First Sea Lord Admiral, Sir George Zambellas at Admiralty House in Portsmouth. Embarrassingly, this was my first ever visit to this historic naval city. Not to worry: I also was able to take the opportunity to capture portraits of the First Sea Lord’s Staff, the Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Jonathan Woodcock, Flag Lieutenant (Capt. Sam Shepherd GC), and Master Seaman Rob Martin.

Master Seaman Rob Martin, London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

I felt very much part of naval history undertaking these portraits at Admiralty House. I was just a stone’s throw from the majestic and imposing HMS Victory, as well as looking out at the Royal Navy’s powerful arsenal of warships. It wasn’t hard to find some inspiration, as I only needed to look up at the array of Naval Portraits adorning the walls.

 

Back to the Army

Similarly, before my LA trip, I had the opportunity to enjoy one of my most interesting military portrait sittings to date. In March, Major John Melville, late of the Commandos, and currently serving in The Royal Artillery, commissioned a Military Portrait to be held at the barracks in Liverpool. It was wonderful to meet John and fascinating to speak to him about his incredible career. Melville is a soldier of considerable experience, serving through the ranks as an enlisted man all the way to becoming an officer. His service in the military spans from the Falklands Conflict in 1982 to the Gulf War in 1990, and even the recent conflicts in Iraq 2003 & Afghanistan 2001–14. It was incredible and humbling for me to come face-to-face with such experience in toil and conflict.

 

Los Angeles – Rory Lewis Stateside

Once again, for a period of 2016, my base became Los Angeles. I spent a jam-packed four weeks in springtime, in the City of Angels, on various portrait assignments. This first 2016 jaunt saw me moving swiftly away from the formalities and uniforms of the British Military, and donning instead a pair of Converse, and exhibiting a more Californian, laid-back style.

William Shatner (Rory Lewis Photographer)

In Los Angeles I undertook six equally impressive actor portrait sittings. First up was William Shatner at his offices in Studio City. This was followed by a memorable opportunity to get behind the lens with Richard Herd, an 83 year old legend who you might recognise from the classic film FIST or the sci-fi series ‘V’. A couple of Trekkies of course made their way on to my agenda, in the form of Jonathan Frakes and Jeffrey Combs. My last two LA sittings of that visit were of Harry Groener and Kitty Swink, both notable for their acting works.

Harry Groener (Rory Lewis Photographer)

I was once again back in LA later in the summer when I undertook sittings with Bo Foxworth, Tony Amendola and Saul Rubinck. I love this work for the passion and energy I get to capture.

 

Bo Foxworth, icon of both stage and screen, saw me directing an expressive shoot with extremes of emotion played out. Proving a natural to the static picture, through my ability to utilise movement, this shoot was a great success. I was treated to seeing Tony Amendola on stage at the Antaeus Theatre, well known from Mask of Zorro and Stargate SG1. Once again, movement was the key to a successful shoot. Finally, I became absorbed in a shoot with Saul Rubinck, star of Unforgiven and Warehouse 13, whereby the actor regaled a traumatic story and I captured the essence of emotion in each moment.

June, I was back in Los Angeles for a few days to photograph a series of Portrait Sittings with three very talented actors. Bo Foxworth, Tony Amendola and Saul Rubinek.

This visit to Los Angeles also saw me teaching my first portrait photography workshop with Samy’s Camera. This has been an interesting and exciting endeavor.

 

Brexit and Portraiture

Yes, Brexit got everywhere in 2016, including photography! With the headlines dominated by this moment in modern British and European history, I found myself commissioned to photograph UKIP spokesperson and Brexiteer, Suzanne Evans. Personally, being a die-hard Remainer, I put on my most neutral and composed manner, and got on with what would prove to be a fascinating sitting.

Suzanne Evans, UKIP Brexit Portrait Rory Lewis Photographer (The Times London)

Victoria & George Cross Portraits

One of the highlights and honors of 2016 has been being commissioned by the Victoria & George Cross Association. I have been tasked with capturing portraits of individuals who have been decorated with either of the crosses, in both Britain and elsewhere in the Commonwealth. These are the Highest Orders for Bravery for both Military and Civilian actions.

Margaret Vaughan GC, Rambahadur Limbu VC London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

This commission has proven to be exceptionally challenging, not least because the recipients live all over the globe, from Nepal to New Zealand, Canada to Australia. It is also proving to be an immensely humbling project as I hear stories of incredible valour and selfless courage. Being able to meet these living heroes in person is indescribable. Working with men and women who have not only saved lives, but done so at risk to their own safety, or have held their ground under overwhelming pressure – and often injury – has been a remarkable experience. If you would like to view the full collection of the tales behind the pictures, take a moment to visit my project page. I am also pleased that several of the portraits have been acquired by the National Portrait Gallery. They now have 5 of my portraits, a number I hope to expand on over time!

Peter Norton GC, Bill Speakman VC, London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

Rory Lewis Photography Goes to Ireland

In October I was very pleased to hold my first workshop in Dublin offering a weekend portraiture workshop. This has broken the ground for 2017 when I will be holding a full series of workshops in both Dublin and Belfast. I will also be speaking at Photofest in Dublin in the Spring.

London Portrait Masterclass Rory Lewis Photography School Tuition

I’ve also accepted the opportunity to speak at the Photography Show in Birmingham in March 2017 which will be another great honour, and another chance to hear about life behind the lens.

 

Further Portraits

Two more notable portrait sittings of 2016 are my sitting with Wolf Kahler, the iconic face of many a German villain, and Natalie Dormer, almost the complete antithesis with natural beauty and an ability to captivate. Both were photographed at the London Studio.

Rory Lewis Photographer, Wolf Kahler Actor Portrait, London Portrait Photographer

Wolf Kahler has a repertoire of baddie roles behind him, and has been seen in Raiders of the Lost Ark, Barry Lyndon, Remains of the Day, and the fabulous and memorable Band of Brothers. I was commissioned to photograph him by United Agents. One look at his face and he’s in your memory forever, and I used this to my advantage for the sitting and directed him to make fierce and vivid expressions.

Natalie Dormer Portrait Sitting Rory Lewis Photographer London Portrait Photographer

Natalie Dormer took a little while to relax in to my style of natural photography, but once she started to see the results she became excited by the work. Natalie has starred in Game of Thrones, the Hunger Games, and The Tudors, and has rapidly become one of Britain’s esteemed actresses. Her features and expressions lend themselves to my realistic photography, and without an airbrush in sight, the results speak for themselves.

Natalie Dormer Portrait Sitting London

 

Rounding Off 2016 With More Soldiery

As the year drew to a close, I concentrated once more on completing the Soldiery Project. The last few sittings of the year were amongst the most exciting. Notably I had a completely new experience photographing mounted soldiers from the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment. It turns out that horses are incredibly well-behaved sitters.

HyperFocal: 0 (Rory Lewis)

From here I swept in to modernity with sittings with the mechanised Royal Lancers, The Tanks and Troopers of the Queens Royal Hussars in Paderborne, Germany, and the striking Nepalese faces of the Royal Gurkha Rifles.

Rfn Ganga Bahadur Gurung (Left) (Right) W02 Shiva Kumar Rai 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles

Soldiery is nearing its end, with just three further sittings that will be completed by the end of January 2017. From here, Soldiery will be complete and appearing in the National Exhibition in 2017. Unveiling this exhibition to the public in 2017 will no doubt be a highlight of the year to come.

 

 

Victoria & George Cross National Portrait Gallery Acquisitions

National Portrait Gallery Rory Lewis PhotographerWe are pleased to announce that a series of portraits of Victoria & George Cross Holders captured by Rory Lewis Photographer, have been acquired by the National Portrait Gallery London.  The Portraits where taken for the ‘Victoria & George Cross Association.

 

Founded in 1856, the aim of the National Portrait Gallery 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 increase my acquisitions from One Portrait to Five Portraits now in the galleries archive. The Gallery having previously acquired my portrait of Actor David Warner.

Peter Norton GC, Bill Speakman VC, London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

Peter Norton GC, Bill Speakman VC, London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

Margaret Vaughan GC, Rambahadur Limbu VC London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

Margaret Vaughan GC, Rambahadur Limbu VC London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

National Portrait Gallery Photography Workshop

Over the May bank holiday weekend, I had the pleasure of teaching a Portrait Photography Workshop at The National Portrait Gallery in London. Taking inspiration from the Galleries Tudor & Renaissance Portrait collection and taught over two days the workshop was fully subscribed. I had the pleasure of teaching 12 delegates throughout the weekend. No stranger to the gallery i’m always popping my head through the door to gauge upon the feast of art and intrigue. I was honoured to have one of my own portraits of Actor David Warner acquired by the gallery some years ago.

National Portrait Gallery Workshop, Rory Lewis Photographer  28th & 29th May 2016

National Portrait Gallery Workshop, Rory Lewis Photographer 28th & 29th May 2016

Day one began with a talk about my style of portraiture and how art has provided a great deal of inspiration in the lighting and detail of my own work. Then we moved on to talk about the work of Renaissance Artists, such as Michelangelo, DaVinci, Durer and Hans Holbein the Younger. After some refreshment, the delegates toured the galleries tudor and renaissance portraits, with a talk by myself on some of the most interesting pieces of the collection.

National Portrait Gallery Workshop, Rory Lewis Photographer  28th & 29th May 2016

National Portrait Gallery Workshop, Rory Lewis Photographer 28th & 29th May 2016

After lunch it was time to learn about lighting techniques using the galleries well equipped photographic studio. The delegates practiced their technique using a light meter to setup basic one and two light Renaissance Chiaroscuro Lighting with our first model Teo Pendle. After lighting skills where honed, I demonstrated direction and how to create different emotions and moods. The delegates then took it in turn to capture a varied collection of portraits illustrating different sides of Teo’s character.

National Portrait Gallery Workshop, Rory Lewis Photographer  28th & 29th May 2016

National Portrait Gallery Workshop, Rory Lewis Photographer 28th & 29th May 2016

Day two began with a review of all the delegates portraits from day one. We then recapped on the lighting techniques and skills. The delegates then worked in groups to re-create versions of the renaissance portraits in the gallery.

National Portrait Gallery Workshop, Rory Lewis Photographer  28th & 29th May 2016

National Portrait Gallery Workshop, Rory Lewis Photographer 28th & 29th May 2016

After lunch it was time to work with our Second model Laure O’Rourke, the delegates working in groups visited the gallery to plan a series of portraits using the collection as inspiration. Then taking it in turn to re-create their own versions of portraits with Laura. Shoots completed, I reviewed all the portraits captured, and gave individual feedback on lighting and direction.

National Portrait Gallery Workshop, Rory Lewis Photographer  28th & 29th May 2016

National Portrait Gallery Workshop, Rory Lewis Photographer 28th & 29th May 2016

The course was a wonderful success, packing in as much as I possibly could over two days, the Delegates walked away with a new appreciation of art and photographic skills. Capturing their own collection of portraiture. It was fascinating to see everyones unique style and approach to the practical photography session. If you are interested in my photography workshops in the UK or USA, please take a look at my Photography Course Page. I will be returning to teach at the National Portrait Gallery in 2017 and i’m already planning my next workshop.

National Portrait Gallery Workshop, Rory Lewis Photographer  28th & 29th May 2016

National Portrait Gallery Workshop, Rory Lewis Photographer 28th & 29th May 2016

2016 Year of Learning

Rory Lewis Photography WorkshopsIn celebration of a decade running photography workshops and masterclasses, 2016 will be the Rory Lewis Year of Learning. I am aiming to hold twice as many workshops and masterclasses in order to offer up the photographic learning opportunities for as many as possible. Whether you’re looking for Portrait Masterclasses aimed at the complete beginner, or Advanced Classes geared to hone your skills, lighting technique and direction, we have the class to suit.

An Overview to Courses

 

Often a good way of learning or developing a skill is to take it out of the crowd and focus on that skill alone before incorporating it back in to your overall skillset. Therefore I offer classes focusing on these key skills such as light shaping. These highly-targeted classes will also cover low key lighting, mood of portraiture, subject and model direction, themes of portraiture, and my unique workshop on Power & Portraiture.

Rory Lewis Photographer-60

Intensive weekends are available for full immersion and a rapid development of skills. One will take place at my studio in Liverpool, focusing on Portraiture. The other is a Tudor Portraiture weekend held at the National Portrait Gallery. These weekends offer learning and tuition in a classroom-style environment with a perfect balance of theory and practical development. Opportunities include working with professional models and state of the art equipment.

8th November Low Key Portraiture Photography Course London Feedback

Whichever class, workshop or weekend suits your style, in honour of my Year of Learning I am offering a 10% discount on all workshops, classes and weekends from 1st Feb – 1st March 2016, just quote Promo Code COURSE 2016.

 

One-to-One Opportunities

One-to-One Fine Art Nude Photography Tuition

One-to-One Fine Art Nude Photography Tuition

Often an ideal way to tailor photographic learning and development for the individual, I am keen to set aside more time for one-to-one photography tuition sessions. Tailored to your needs, one-to-one sessions and courses are suitable for photographers of any ability. You choose the subject and content from Beginner’s Tips to Fine Art Nude or Portraiture. One-to-One tutorials are available year-round in a location to suit you including Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, London, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Belfast.

Model Ella Darling will be featuring on October 11th 2014, this time at my new Liverpool Studio, where I will be running an art nude workshop. Places are limited so don’t miss out on this opportunity to work with Ella and Myself.

Top of the Class Models

Photography Workshops & Courses 2016 

Professional models are provided for all Rory Lewis Photography Courses to ensure you develop your skills in a realistic environment. The benefit of this is that the session offers an ideal opportunity to not only improve your skills but also build your portfolio.

 

Practice Meets Theory

 

All of my classes, workshops and tutorials include plenty of hands-on practice on a firm foundation of theory. When you go away you’ll be confident in your practical skills as well as equipped with illustrated PDF booklets explaining and reiterating the Lighting Set-Ups learnt.

 

Spring Has Sprung

 

Spring will see me taking my successful Portrait Masterclass on the road to London, Manchester, Belfast and Edinburgh. These Masterclass sessions are suitable for beginners to intermediate-level photographers, making them ideal for the complete novice, amateur and semi-professional.

I'm always testing/working on my own projects. I regularly check websites like Models.com and Modelmayhem for new talent. Recently I found Model Vincent Littlehat;

Skills learned include: studio flash lighting; how to meter and read the flash; understanding of studio technique; effects of soft boxes, umbrellas, snoots and beauty dishes; how to use reflectors; soft and hard lighting techniques to affect mood; main light functions; how to use fill lights, back lights and hair lights; as well as direction of professional models.

 

March and April 2016 sees the Masterclass Tour hop the pond to The United States to offer the Portrait Masterclass in Boston (MA), New York (NY), Chicago (IL), and finally Los Angeles (CA). This is an exciting opportunity for me, teaching a new range of students looking to hone and develop their skills in both studio and location photography.

 

Back on British Soil

 

“Again, in honour of the 2016 Year of Learning, I am offering two special two-day classes on my home-turf of Liverpool.”

 

The first, from 27th – 28th March, at my Central Liverpool Studio I will be bringing together a range of teaching methods via talks and practical tuitions involving professional agency models and make-up artists. An ideal opportunity to build your portfolio with models possessing amazing bone structure, this course is unmissable for beginner and intermediate Portrait Photographers.

IMG_1575

This is a more intensive course aimed at those looking to learn and progress their studio and location photography. Those interested in creating Model, Wedding, Beauty, Actor, Talent and Corporate Portraiture will all benefit from this course. This full programme, set over two days, will transform the beginner in to a budding Portraitist. There will be multiple lighting set-ups and models available throughout the weekend. For those coming from further afield, accommodation can be arranged at a local hotel.

 

The second exciting weekend Masterclass is drawing inspiration from the National Portrait Gallery. With close examination of the Collection we will work with models to replicate and develop upon the painter-inspired tone and lighting back in the studio. We will investigate and explore the dynamic between the photographer and sitter and how you influence this relationship to affect the outcome of the shoot. This Masterclass is ideal for those who already have some knowledge of digital photography and know how to use their camera in manual mode.

 

Summer Sun

 

Summer will see me holding Advanced Portrait Masterclasses in London. These masterclasses are suited to intermediates or as an ideal follow-on from the spring classes. Best suited for those who have a decent comprehension of the technical elements of photography, these courses aim to expand your knowledge of lighting as well as the ideas and techniques behind great portraits.

CAN109.apprentice

Creatively, emotionally and technically, candidates will develop enormously as they progress through this Masterclass. A full day will be dedicated to Classroom-style learning with time dedicated to both the theory and practical elements of Portrait Photography within the context of Portraiture ‘Greats’ from Yosef Karsh to Cecil Beaton.

 

Additionally, the class will incorporate composition, atmosphere, lighting techniques, kickers, modifiers and gels. With a secure grounding of theory, we will then practice the techniques and incorporate the ideas we have learned as we attempt to recreate some of the images we have studied. Creativity is the focus here, but this incorporates technical elements and a good technical understanding of your camera is required.

 

Key Skills Focus

 

“For those looking to concentrate their learning time on specific areas, I am offering four distinct workshops.”

Low Key Portraits of Sir Ian McKellen Rory Lewis Photographer

Low Key Portraits of Sir Ian McKellen Rory Lewis Photographer

The first will concentrate on Low Key Portrait Lighting. You will learn how to invoke drama, dark and depth with shadows and contrast for an overall dramatic look. Lighting is a key focus here and we will learn from the ‘Greats’ – Yosef Karsh, Eve Arnold and Cecil Beaton – in order to enable you to recreate their iconic style. We examine: three-point lighting; key light; back light for illumination; kickers; gels; modifiers; testing, all with the added benefit of a fantastic model

 

The second key-skills focus will be a Model Direction Masterclass. Working on your interpersonal skills to lead and direct a shoot this is a highly practical course. We work with the Studio as a Stage with you as the Director. This course will develop your confidence and enthusiasm for mastering visual balance and composition. The models provided offer plenty of scope for practice so that you leave the course fully capable of directing a portrait subject. Passing on many of my handy tricks and tips picked up over the years and combining them with my trusted “do’s and don’ts” you will soon be well on the way to creating incredible portraits.

Power & Portraits Masterclass

Power & Portraits Masterclass

The third course is the Power & Portrait Masterclass. This is an unmissable class for those interested in Military, Political and Real Portraiture. Models will be kitted out in military uniform and formal attire making this a highly practical and true to reality workshop. We will investigate both the archetypal and subversive depictions of strength and power. I will draw on my inspiration from Hans Holbein, as well as my previous shoots with prominent Political and Military figures, to instruct you how to make the most of body-positioning, composition, lighting and subject interaction in order to capture the innate qualities that have made these shoots successful. This course is suited to those who already have some knowledge of digital photography as well as how to use their camera in manual mode.

Rory Lewis Photographing Sir Patrick Stewart (2015)

The final course is a London-based course on Understanding Light. Artistically and professionally, lighting is everything. Your success will depend on your ability to master lighting and how light works. This is a three day course that will demystify the fundamentals of lighting and give you the concrete skills needed to create a powerful image using the right lighting for whatever the circumstances. You will leave this course being able to shoot more efficiently, capture consistently well-lit images as well as reach new creative heights as a photographer.

 

Online Learning

 

If you can’t make any of these courses online consultations are now available. Nothing is more frustrating to a photographer than not getting any meaningful or helpful feedback from other photographers. You want to improve but without any direction it can be frustrating. Rory Lewis photographer is now offering online tuition and advice for photographers worldwide.

 

The Year of Learning – Exciting Opportunities

 

2016 will offer photographers from all levels of ability the chance to develop and enhance their skills with a particular focus on Portraiture. I am excited and delighted to be able to offer guidance and learning rooted in my success as a Portrait Photographer ensuring every base is covered, and whatever you are looking for in a wide-range of classes and courses throughout the year. Wherever suits you best, and whatever photographic skill you’re looking to work out, I’ll be there!

 

2014 Year in Review

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

 

Erica Kemp Lord Mayor Rory Lewis Portrait Photographer LondonPortraiture is now the name of my game: 2014 has certainly been an incredible journey of discovery and growth as well as artistic truth and relevance. I feel refreshed in my work and have enjoyed the wonderful success of the last 12 months, I’m looking forward to the ‘onwards and upwards’ both professionally and personally – these are exciting times for Rory Lewis Photography. Thank you to my wife, family and colleagues for their support as I’ve made these developments. The beauty of an artist is the ability to experiment and ‘play’. I have been more determined than ever to realise this – that through experimentation I can learn, and most importantly deliver at a higher level. In the continual bid to hone my own Unique Style I am continually refining my ideas, my inspiration and my direction. Beginning the year with a ‘make or break’ attitude having spent too long spreading myself too thinly professionally and knowing something had to change. 2014 has been that year, seeing a more balanced but more worthwhile focus, by concentrating on where my passion lies – Portraiture.

 

NPG x138151; David Warner by Rory LewisI was ecstatic when my Portrait of Actor David Warner was acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in London. I built on this public recognition of my work by having a wide range of Celebrity Portrait Sessions throughout the year. Expansion was essential, no longer am I just to be found in the North West UK, but in both London and New York. Back in 2004, when I began my career in Fashion Photography, it was the way forward, the path to photography and career success. I enjoyed the recognition of publication, in magazines, newspapers and catalogues, often being called upon by various Fashion Labels to photography their collection. But with maturity and artistic credibility, I gradually fell out of love with the ‘easy’ road. It no longer sits easily on my personal character, and the discomfort grew as I was struggling to be myself in what I felt was an elitist superficial world of photography. I was failing to be true to myself, my personality, and importantly, my artistic style. Artistically I wanted my work to be a reflection of reality, a mirror of truth.

 

This led me to real people leading real lives and portraying them in a real way. I can become absorbed in the story of someone and relish the challenge of reflecting their emotions and character through Portraiture. So farewell Fashion Photographing, and welcome to Portraiture, of Generals, Actors, Artists, Sports Personalities, and Politicians.

Sir Ian McKellen & Sir Derek Jacobi Rory Lewis Photographer

Sir Ian McKellen & Sir Derek Jacobi Rory Lewis Photographer

I began to conceive the idea of my Northern Portrait Exhibition very early in the year and was thrilled with its ultimate success. Northerners started out as a small local project yet soon became a National Exhibition featuring actors, sports personalities, artists and politicians from the North. A blend of story, history and personality, drawn together by Northern Roots, now transcending the globe, offered an opportunity to travel to bring this unique collection together. Big names, big characters, big achievements such as Sir Patrick Stewart, Sir Ian McKellen, Craig Charles, Emma Rigby, General Sir Nicholas Houghton, and many other prominent figures.

Rory Lewis Photographer Photographing Sir Patrick Stewart London Portrait Photographer

Rory Lewis Photographer Photographing Sir Patrick Stewart London Portrait Photographer

Rory Lewis Metro Interview Photographer

Rory Lewis Metro Interview Photographer

This was a truly fascinating project. Sponsored by Calumet Photographic and held in aid of the worthwhile cause UNICEF, the exhibition moved from Liverpool in July, to Manchester in October, and finally to London in November. The project was not only a developmental and artistic learning curve for me, but led to me feeling more comfortable in my own Unique Style, and this is now reflected in my work. I was thrilled when the BBC, various other television companies and the National Press all featured the Project giving the project not just local, but national recognition.

Luis Suares for Pepsi London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

Luis Suares for Pepsi London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

For clients such as Pepsi, I have enjoyed a wide range of Commercial Photography assignments, which have included Portraiture such as a commission to photograph successful and advertorial big-name footballer, Luis Suarez. Knowing that Rory Lewis images are being used in such high profile promotional campaigns, including posters as well as drinks bottles and cans, has been a fun and enjoyable part of my year. With the brief to create fierce portraits blended with Rock Star Style stills, I couldn’t wait to get started. It was an opportunity to direct and create a shoot in tune with my artistic desires

Travel has been an inevitable, but enjoyable, by-product of the shift in my photographic direction. My passport has been ranking up the miles with trips to Spain, Morocco, Italy, New York, Ireland and the USA. Good Old Blighty is home, but these trips have been enriching and given my work influence both cultural and socially. Take a quick peek at some of my travel snaps here.

New York Rory Lewis Portrait Photographer

On a personal level I haven’t just seen a seismic shift in the nature of my work and my creative style, but 2014 has been a year of highs as it was also the year I married my incredible wife, Alexandra, who has supported and nurtured my professional change. Still based in Liverpool despite spreading my wings, this year also brought the opportunity to extend my home-grown roots by opening my new Photographic Studio in the heart of Liverpool.

 

2014 saw a continuation of my desire to offer Photography Workshops. A key joy for any creative person is to share and nurture a passion in others. I am grateful to be able to do this, whilst partnered with Calumet Academy, as well as extending the locations of my Courses to additionally include not only Liverpool, but London, Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Belfast. Wherever you are in the UK, Rory Lewis Photography Courses can be there! I enjoy imparting what I have learned and discovered to others: from lighting techniques to directional skills, it really is a joy to work with aspiring photographers, and the feedback has been nice to hear too! It’s been good for my ego, knowing I can use my skill and self-development to help develop others. I’ll be forever grateful for reviews such as the following from Amateur Photographer Denis Dame who attended one of my Portraiture Workshops:

 

“Rory’s Portraiture Masterclass was a brilliant course”

“Rory is a fantastic and patient instructor and answered all our questions no matter how basic or advanced. I took nearly 400 images throughout the day and was mentally drained and excited because we covered so much. A fantastic value for the amount of hands-on course work and topics we covered. Rory was able to get us all taking great images.

Rory Lewis Photography Courses Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, LondonI have been an amateur photographer for years, but this was my first time using studio lighting for portraits with models. I had expected only one model, but Rory had hired three fantastic models. All had their own great characteristics, which allowed us to experiment with lighting to see the effects given different facial features. Rory demonstrated the use of several one and two light set-ups, and allowed us to take several images from each. Additionally, we used different back drops, and reflectors. We had hands-on opportunities to use a light meter and set up the studio lights to the proper power and distance. We learned about how to diffuse the lighting and control it with a honeycomb.

He also demonstrated how he captured many famous actors that are a part of his Northerners Portrait Project to support UNICEF. A noble effort. We were able to create similar images during the course.

We learned how to work with models and direct them to help create amazing images and moods. By the end of the course we all had gained confidence in working with good models.

I would highly recommend the course to people that have never worked with models, or studio lights. If you have worked with models and were not quite sure how to direct the scene, then this is also a great course.

Well done and I hope to take another class in the near future.”

 

So here’s to 2015 and my onwards and upwards! I am looking forward to extending my programme of courses to make them more extensive whilst focusing on my true love of Portraiture, from Beginners, to Intermediate, as well as a course in advanced Location Portraiture Lighting. You’ll still find me offering Art Nude Photography Courses, with a special Hasselblad Art Nude Session, allowing delegates to try out the superb Hasselblad H5D Camera System, an opportunity not to be missed.

London Liverpool Manchester Liverpool  Model Portfolios

Whilst also arranging photoshoots with models, dancers and actors throughout 2014, I’ve loved the new creative and practical expansion and vision of Rory Lewis Photography. From helping new models and actors find their first footings in their chosen fields.  I’m glad to still be the photographer of choice for many of the UK’s top agencies. I’ve come to learn that I can still be true to myself in all shoots by offering a comprehensive service based on high quality pictures achieved through my no-time-limit ethos. My clients are not rushed, nor do they receive a hard sell, just good honest portraiture at its best. From sessions with Game of Thrones actors, screen legends Julian Glover and Iain Glen, to the industry newbies, my heart now truly resides in Portraiture.

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

See you in 2015, but before I go, take a sneak peek at my new Exhibition Expressive that will take place at the end of the year. Whether Stateside or on home turf, I look forward to seeing you there.

 

Holbein’s Inspiration: His Place in Portraiture

Subliminally, without really knowing, we’re all exposed to art – as well as impressions – that shape our unconscious and our ability to think, perceive and feel. As we move through life, art that was once a staple of our history books takes on a greater meaning, and perhaps this is none more true than for Renaissance Art and our assimilation with it as being what portraiture with power is about. The essence of the best portrait photography is mirrored in these Renaissance pieces. For me this is especially true of the Tudor Portrait Artist Hans Holbein ‘the Younger’.

(Left) Holbein's Portrait Portrait of the Merchant Georg Gisze 1532 (Right) Rory Lewis Portrait Lord Mayor of Liverpool Erica Kemp 2014

(Above) Holbein’s Portrait Portrait of the Merchant Georg Gisze 1532 (Right) Rory Lewis Portrait Lord Mayor of Liverpool Erica Kemp 2014 (London Portrait Photographer)

In the works of Holbein lies the heart of my portraiture inspiration. I loved history as a child, its permanence and transience all at once, reflected through the eyes of cultural and societal change, how it has been documented and therefore how it is recalled. I was fortunate to live near to Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery, a treasure trove of pieces that began to unconsciously inspire and challenge me. The Gallery exhibits several of Holbein’s Works, which reflect not only the Renaissance period but exude a timeless quality as records of history.

 

With Holbein we gaze upon solemn yet intensely powerful expression. His subjects are painted as though frozen in that moment in time, the essence of their being, authority and personality captured forever from that one moment. Holbein took his interpretation of his sitters seriously, knowing they were the testaments of time, and this has inspired me to adapt a similar style for my own Photographic Portraiture.

(Left Holbein's Portrait of Sir Richard Southwell 1536 (Right) Rory Lewis Portrait Lord Mayor Liverpool Gary Millar 2013

(Above Holbein’s Portrait of Sir Richard Southwell 1536 (Right) Rory Lewis Portrait Lord Mayor Liverpool Gary Millar 2013 (London Portrait Photographer )

My work calls me to photograph many high-profile corporate individuals and political figures, and over time I am continually drawn to Holbein’s influence in my own interpretations of the subject of portraiture. I believe Holbein’s style and timeless authority easily sits alongside the modern portrait – I aim to imbue my viewers with the same thought provocation that he succeeded in creating.

 

(Left) Holbein's Portrait of Sir Thomas More, 1527 (Right) Rory Lewis Portrait Sir Patrick Stewart  2014

(Above) Holbein’s Portrait of Sir Thomas More, 1527 (Right) Rory Lewis Portrait Sir Patrick Stewart 2014 (London Portrait Photographer)

Detail, in the eye of an artist, is everything. As a viewer you don’t realise how the tiny intricacies of art combine to leave you with a bigger picture, a bigger sense. For Holbein, his portrait of Sir Thomas More illustrates this ability to focus on detail. There are the slightest imperfections that reflect in themselves perfect definition, making it appear almost like a photograph itself. There is no Renaissance ‘air-brushing’ away of imperfections, there is no place in portraiture for the Death of Real. What you see is a true likeness of the subject at that moment in time. Real is everything – it is the tiniest of imperfections that define a person as the character they are. This can be seen in my portrait of Sir Patrick Stewart where I encouraged and captured the true facial tones and imperfections, capturing the essence of the man, just as Holbein did with More.

 

Objectivity is crucial in portraiture: for Holbein and for me. The outward appearance of his subjects directly reflects the inner character, personality and mood without an over-layering or obscuring of this essential essence by the artist himself. I endeavour to follow this same style, bringing an integrity to the final portrait that allows the viewer to reflect on their own opinion and understanding of what they see.

Portrait of Sir Henry Guildford & Iain Duncan-Smith  (London Portrait Photographer)

(Above) Hans Holbein Portrait of Sir Henry Guildford (1527) & Iain Duncan-Smith Rory Lewis (2015) (London Portrait Photographer)

Having worked in fashion photography, I know and understand the drive to create perfection that renders an image false. In portraiture, Holbein teaches us, it is the imperfections that make perfection. Models are directed on what to be, how to act, how to represent emotion: for portraiture this is simply wrong. A true representation and a guiding and directing to the true inner person is what makes a portrait thought-provoking and an accurate historical record that exudes timeless quality.

 

The greatest collection of Holbein’s work is on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London. His works provide inspirations to historians, art-lovers and passers-by alike. His viewers are drawn to a naturally level-playing field that allows interpretation and true-understanding. It’s this timeless quality I seek to recreate and learn from.