Stephen Graham Portrait Sitting

Stephen Graham Portrait Sitting Rory Lewis London Portrait Photographer

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

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

Stephen Graham Portrait Sitting Rory Lewis London Portrait Photographer

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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.

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Equipment Used

15 Minutes with Bill My tale of photographing a screen icon

William Shatner is best known for his role as Captain James T Kirk on the Starship Enterprise. I’ve had the honour and pleasure of having him in front of my lens on two occasions. In total my time spent photographing him has equated to 15 minutes. 15 minutes with Bill.

 

Being an ardent Star Trek fan, as well as prolific portrait photographer with a strong reputation for icons of stage and screen, this short time with the screen legend has amounted to an extraordinary experience. Yes I’m just a little star struck.

 

To meet one of your childhood heroes can be both awe-inspiring and utterly terrifying at the same time. Now try operating a camera under the pressure!

William Shatner Portrait Rory Lewis Photographer Los Angeles, Portrait Photographer

Where it All Began

 

My first sitting with William Shatner was back on 12th February 2015. At the time I was travelling to LA and wanted to take the opportunity to include Shatner in my Expressive Portraits exhibition.

 

Prior to my LA trip I had written to Shatner expressing my wish to include him in the project. I have to admit it was a stab in the dark. Nonetheless, the reply came that he would do me the honour of accepting my invitation.

 

In preparation for the shoot, I arrived at Shatner’s office at 10am feeling a mixture of nerves, apprehension, and barely-concealed excitement. As I approached the window I could see a large looming figure behind the blinds. It was him. There, right before me stood one of my childhood ‘greats’. Gulp.

 

The door was opened by Kathleen, Mr Shatner’s PA, who kindly informed me I had just 10 minutes to set up and 5 minutes to shoot as he was due to take a flight. No pressure then! I couldn’t let my nerves get the better of me, but how to shoot a living legend in just 5 minutes?

 

Fortunately experience prevailed and I was ready and waiting as Bill entered to take his seat on the stool. In my mind’s eye he was, until this point, a flamboyant character. As I took a deep breath and introduced myself I realised I was completely wrong. Rather than brash and larger than life, Shatner is a very quietly spoken man of only a few words.

 

As a portraitist I have learned to separate the individual’s character as an actor from the characters they have played. In the interests of simplicity (bearing in mind the 5 minute window) I opted straight for this method. However, my initial direction didn’t receive the response I’d hoped for. My request for a plain expression was met with “I don’t do plain!” I quickly took the opportunity to explain my reasoning: that as a character actor the viewer needed a blank canvas, an expressionless person, on which to hang their own thoughts. No good, no bad, no love, no hate, no character, just an opportunity to view and assume. In my experience it is this essence which makes an image thought-provoking and memorable.

 

With my explanation, Bill became more amiable. Deep breath again, using the word “emotionless” in preference to “plain”, this time he agreed. Mr Shatner took his own breath, closed his eyes, and then looked up directly in to the lens, clearly having cleared his mind of thought or question.

 

I clicked. The result was my first thought-provoking portrait of William Shatner. In 5 minutes magic had been created.

William Shatner Portrait Rory Lewis Photographer Los Angeles, Portrait Photographer

 

Second Time, Double Time

 

The second time I photographed Shatner was when I returned to LA in April 2016. Once more I got in touch to arrange a sitting. I had so much more I wanted to explore in the subject that is William Shatner. I was truly delighted to learn of his acceptance. Even more, Shatner himself was ecstatic with my first efforts. I’d done it, in just 5 minutes!

 

The sitting took place on 4th April 2016. Once again I turned up at the office to be greeted by Mr Shatner’s assistant. This time I met a more relaxed Shatner with nowhere to go, and a little more time on his hands. He was more casually dressed, wearing a black shirt as I had requested, and was available for the double the previous five minutes.

 

Preparation for a Portrait Sitting

 

Before any sitting I always spend time planning. This ‘behind the scenes’ time is invaluable for the ultimate portrait. In the case of Shatner I spent hours looking at material from both films and television programmes, as well as reviewing and assessing the other available portraits of Bill to date. There was a common theme running through 99% of them: Bill as the hero.

 

Speaking about this type casting, Bill has quipped: “I always play the hero and always get the girl.” To make a portrait of Bill that was different and unique I wanted to draw him out of his comfort zone. I wanted to polarise him away from the ‘hero’ and instead get him in the camp of the villain.

 

Take Robin Williams for example: a face well-documented in comedy and farce. Yet, when he was given the creepy and darker character named Sy in the psychological thriller One Hour Photo, we saw something utterly new, unnerving and compelling.

 

This became my impetus for the sitting with Shatner. I wanted this to be about Shatner the ‘bad guy’. I took the time to explain my reasoning and idea to Bill and he was very happy and compliant to give it a go.

 

The Portrait Sitting

 

In directing the screen icon, I drew on Shakespeare. I asked Bill to think about a Shakespearian villain and to assume this as his muse. This enticed Bill to gaze leeringly in to the lens as we transformed the heroic Shatner in to the evil alter-ego.

 

After 10 minutes, my sitting with Shatner came to an end. In total, I had experienced 15 minutes with one of my absolute screen heroes in front of my lens.

 

Lessons Learned

 

In order to direct an actor who you have admired for many years is an incredible opportunity. Photography is about so much more than merely clicking the shutter and getting some lighting tricks right. Successful photography, and successful portraiture, is about evoking a feeling. This process is impossible without direction. Direction is key.

 

When I teach photography workshops, students are frequently overawed by the number of different camera and lighting techniques available. This is the stuff of textbooks. However, what transforms you from someone who can operate the equipment to a talented photographer is what happens in that moment when the lights are set up and the camera is ready, and you are alone with the subject. This transcends the techniques and instead becomes about invention. A good photographer, therefore, is a good director.

 

Shakespeare, in Henry V, once penned:

“Oh, for a muse of fire that would ascend

The brightest heaven of invention!

A kingdom for a stage, princes to act,

And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!”

 

Emotive and powerful, and rousing to boot, in portrait photography is of utmost importance to set the scene. You must find your muse and use it to direct. You must think outside of the box, and take your inspiration from cinema, art, or simply by digging deep in to the wealth of your own experiences to find something new and original.

 

 

Caravaggio Style Actor Portraits

Renaissance portraiture and the use of chiaroscuro by the masters has been of immense inspiration to my photographic style. For those unfamiliar, chiaroscuro is an oil painting technique, developed during the Renaissance.  The technique uses strong tonal contrasts between light and dark to model three-dimensional forms. Artists such as Caravaggio used chiaroscuro for dramatic effect. Painting vivid religious depictions of light and shadow.

The Incredulity of Saint Thomas by Caravaggio

Recently I captured a series of exceptionally detailed chiaroscuro portraits inspired by Caravaggio of actors René Auberjonois, Sir Patrick Stewart & Iain Glen.  In these portraits I have attempted to emulate Caravaggio’s naturalism and dramatic lighting with photographic effect. Creating super detail of skin tone, texture and colour. Using inventive art direction I opted for vivid and stark expressions from the contemplation of René Auberjonois to the emotionless Sir Patrick Stewart and the wicked smile of Iain Glen.

 

100 LIMITED EDITION PRINTS OF SIR PATRICK STEWART AVAILABLE CLICK HERE

Sir Patrick Stewart Intense Chiaroscuro Photographer Portraits Rory Lewis LIMITED EDITION PRINTS AVAILABLE CLICK HERE

 

Iain Glen Intense Chiaroscuro Photographer Portraits Rory Lewis LIMITED EDITION PRINTS AVAILABLE CLICK HERE

Actor René Auberjonois Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

100 LIMITED EDITION PRINTS OF SIR PATRICK STEWART AVAILABLE CLICK HERE

Caravaggio (Chiaroscuro & Expression) Portrait Photography Workshops

The Royal Lancers Portraits

My current Portrait Project entitled Soldiery has taken me all over the UK &  Europe capturing portraits of the Men and Women of the British Army. My recent sittings took place last month with The Royal Lancers in Catterick Yorkshire. The Regiment was formed following the amalgamation of the 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s) and The Queen’s Royal Lancers last year.

 

I was delighted to work with the regiment having the opportunity to capture portraits of a wide range of troopers, from the Colonel of the Regiment to the Regimental Sergeant Major, a selection of officers, NCO’s and enlisted troopers.

 

Soldiers are very easy to Direct, Sutherland, once quipped “Accuracy is Truth”. With a degree in history, detail is very important to me as a visual artist. I pride myself on capturing every line, mark and scar. Solemn duty and capturing the vivid yet emotionless expressions has been my directorial impetus for the soldiery exhibition.

 

Military Portrait Services Available.

Lt Colonel MJ Mudd DSO. The Royal Lancers

Lt Colonel MJ Mudd DSO. The Royal Lancers

Capt Anani-Isaac The Royal Lancers

Capt Anani-Isaac The Royal Lancers

Lcpl Ryan Bonell The Royal Lancers

Lcpl Ryan Bonell The Royal Lancers

Capt AR Humphreys The Royal Lancers Military Portrait Photographer London Rory Lewis

Capt AR Humphreys The Royal Lancers Military Portrait Photographer London Rory Lewis

WO2 (RQMS) KM HOUGH he Royal Lancers Military Portrait Photographer London Rory Lewis

WO2 (RQMS) KM HOUGH The Royal Lancers Military Portrait Photographer London Rory Lewis

Royal Lancers, Military Portraits, British Army Portraits Photographer Rory Lewis

Royal Lancers, Military Portraits, British Army Portraits Photographer Rory Lewis

 

The Bookshelf of a Portrait Photographer

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

 

Cecil Beaton Portraits & Profiles

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


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

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


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

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


Karsh Yousef – A Biography in Images by Malcolm Rogers

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


Caravaggio: Complete Works by Sebastian Schutze

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


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


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

 

Brigadier Günter Eisl Portrait Sitting

Austrian General & Defense Attaché to UK, Brigadier Günter Eisl commissioned a portrait at the Austrian Embassy in London. I am no stranger to working with members of the British Armed forces; it was a nice change to photograph a soldier from the Austrian Military. Opting for strong and tall poses, I directed the Brigadier as to look solemn, ceremonial, stately and formal; shooting from lower angles to emphasise hight and responsibility of his rank.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Toby Jones Actor Portraits

 

Actor Toby Jones, London Portrait Photographer Rory LewisToby Jones is one of the UK’s most prolific actors, After appearing in supporting roles in films between 1992 and 2005, Jones made his breakthrough as Truman Capote in the biopic Infamous. Since then, his films have included The MistW.Frost/NixonCaptain America: The First Avenger, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy  and Dad’s Army. I invited Toby to sit for a portrait at the London Studio and to my wonderment he graciously accepted. He arrived at the studio looking very bohemian and scruffy. Jones only, 5ft 5in with his quirky tufty bed head hair and a few day’s stubble. His distinctive looks have helped him play a range of flawed heroes.

 

Before we met, I spend days watching his work, Patterns emerge when you binge-watch Toby Jones. One is his formidable ability to define a character before he even opens his mouth. In Infamous, a blink-and-you-miss-it gesture tells us his Capote is going to be a terrible gossip (he scans the room slowly, mouth closed but tongue sticking into one cheek); in Berberian Sound Studio, his walk suggests a man both pedantic and socially crippled; in The Girl, the grind of little jagged teeth hints at Hitchcock’s sadism.

 

Jones is one of my favourite actors, seeing his bohemian image I wanted to create a series portraits with a uniquely patent and unadorned view of Toby. Unprepossessing the viewer with Toby’s distinctive and individual character. Jones was a joy to work with, and seeing his immense talent first hand through the lens is a joy to behold.

 

Actor Toby Jones, London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

Actor Toby Jones, London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

Actor Toby Jones, London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

Actor Toby Jones, London Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

My Cinematic Inspiration

Creativity is inspired in many ways, but certain genres lend themselves to a more perfect collaboration, and for me this is film and photography. Harking back to the old days, a Photographer’s skill was reliant on interpretation on film, and the blend between Photographic and Cinematic experience makes more sense. The two go hand in hand. Cinema inspired me to take up Photography, and the Art of Cinematography is not lost in Photography. For me, as a Photographer, this inspiration is personified in the actors who are central to the film and its success.

Rory Lewis Photographer Photographing Sir Patrick Stewart London Portrait Photographer

Rory Lewis Photographer Photographing Sir Patrick Stewart London Portrait Photographer

It can be a mysterious world being behind the lens, both in film and photography, but whereas the film has its own dedicated director, for a Portrait Photographer you are both Director and Cameraman rolled in to one. First and foremost, before anything else, the Portrait Photographer needs to be a Director of People. If you don’t direct the shoot, it will show: you can’t fulfil the brief or relay your inspiration. The Portrait is the mirror image of my thoughts and feelings, reflected back for the viewer’s interpretation. It takes a good actor to get the best out of Portrait Photography, to be able to understand direction, feel what I am feeling or trying to say with the Portraiture.

In the Studio David Warner & Rory Lewis Photographer

In the Studio David Warner & Rory Lewis Photographer

For me this makes for a wonderful experience each and every time I get to work on a sitting with an actor. Portrait Photography and Actors are a marriage made in heaven. Therefore I have made it my business to undertake sittings with many of the talented actors who themselves have inspired my career. Actors who have inspired me include: Sir Lawrence Olivier, Sir John Gielgud, Peter O’Toole…who have their roots in the greatest acting establishments such as RADA, LAMDA and the Italia Conti Academy.

 

This has led to me, over the last two years, dedicating nearly a third of my time to personal Portrait Projects. I am continuously striving to set up new shoots with the people who have fuelled my own inspiration. The result is some incredible experiences and incredible work representing some of the most notable portrait sittings and finding their essence in the movie clips that gave me a hunger for portraiture. I strongly believe that all Photographers should take time out to watch these films and discover the feelings they evoke.

 

Hoping I’m not hiding an inner-psychopath, it’s the villainous characters that seem to hold the most allure for me. When I was younger I found an ability to relate to intellectual villains with a thirst for power, often with pasts strewn with tragedy and abandonment. As a child I would become attached to these fictional characters as if they were comrades. I’d become genuinely upset if they were killed. I was the ‘odd kid’ who wasn’t automatically drawn to the hero. I think I was drawn to the charismatic and empathy-inducing villains as they had so many more layers to their characters. The dramatic effect worked on me. To be an actor playing a villain also requires a degree of complexity rarely found elsewhere, and therefore their acting is likely to have inspired both stage and screen, making them the very people I want to work with.

 

Sir Ian McKellen:

Sir Ian McKellen London Portrait Photographer Rory LewisAccolades don’t get much greater than those poured on this screen legend. Twice nominated for an Oscar, and a recipient of every major theatrical award in the UK and US, he is exceptionally regarded as the single most acclaimed British theatrical talent of our time. I am transported back for inspiration to his portrayal of Richard III. Juxtaposed on a 1930’s timeline, the movie uses the play to evoke the fascism of that time, and the cinematography of Peter Biziou is simply awe-inspiring. McKellen as this legendary Shakespearian villain occupies this dastardly role like a poisonous spider in its web luring in its prey. This tortured villain comes to life in the embodiment of Sir Ian McKellen. Universally loathed, while loathing himself. A hunchback, he looks in the mirror in the play’s first scene and describes himself:

Sir Ian McKellen Rory Lewis Photographer

Sir Ian McKellen Rory Lewis Photographer

“Deformed, unfinished, sent before my time in to this breathing world, scarce half made up, and that so lamely and unfashionable that dogs bark at me as I halt by them.”

I invited Sir Ian to sit for me at a Portrait Session whilst he and Sir Patrick Stewart were performing Waiting for Godot in the Cort Theatre in New York. I was most definitely flabbergasted when he accepted. I was fortunate enough to travel to his home in London where I felt truly humbled to photograph this titan of the stage in his own surroundings. The little boy in me was jumping up and down with glee to see Gandalf’s sword hanging on a clothing rack like an umbrella! The enormity of the task and sense of responsibility before me hit me. I drew inspiration from his prominence as a Shakespearian performer and decided on a style of Portraiture reminiscent of the Renaissance Artist, Holbein, using lighting in such a way to preserve the intimate detail and wisdom found in his expression.

 

Steven Berkhoff:

Steven Berkoff Portrait Sitting LondonSteven Berkhoff is a well-renowned genius of the stage as well as being a successful playwright and director, continually setting the benchmark for stunning and intense performances on both the stage and screen. Known best for his villainous roles, I was inspired by his stellar performance as Hitler in 1988’s War and Remembrance. He fought off stiff competition for the role, and ultimately it was the right casting choice. He recalls: “As soon as I put on that strange little moustache, everything clicked. I look astonishingly like him and after my audition, Dan Curtis, the director, just sat there stunned. He more or less gave me the part on the spot.” (The Guardian Desperately Seeking Hitler)

The result is that Berkoff’s portrait of the psychotic and demonic Hitler is breath-taking. Viewers are shockingly mesmerised as they watch this psychopathic tale of history unfold. I was particularly struck by the intensely compelling scene where Rommel (Hardy Krüger) accuses Hitler in regard to the Concentration Camps. Berkoff inhabits the role of Hitler is a vicious and despotic response. You can’t fail but be struck by it.

Steven Berkoff (Rory Lewis Photographer) (2015)

Steven Berkoff (Rory Lewis Photographer) (2015)

As for my Portrait Sitting with Berkhoff, I arrived at Steven’s London home a little apprehensive over what to expect, this psychopathic portrayal lingering in my subconscious mixing with rumours that he was difficult to work with. His reputation as the ‘go-to bad guy’ had in all reality put the fear of God in to me! It soon became apparent that my nervousness was unfounded, and it was an absolute treat to sit and work with this seasoned veteran.

 

David Warner:

NPG x138151; David Warner by Rory LewisDiversely building an acting career known for playing both romantic leads and sinister villainous characters, on both stage and screen, David Warner had been top of my list for a portrait sitting for many years. Simply put, he is my favourite actor. As a child, I recall falling in love with the movie Time Bandits, in which David played ‘Evil’. Somewhat later, my father introduced me to his love of Western movies and I was introduced to The Ballad of Cable Hogue. In this, David played the character or a wandering minister named Reverend Joshua Duncan Sloan under the direction of Sam Peckinpah – known for his explicit depiction of action and violence – in this instance through the medium of a western filled with music and comedy. The role played by Warner was a Minister of his own volition through which Joshua pursues his passion ruthlessly seducing emotionally vulnerable women.

David Warner Rory Lewis Celebrity Portrait Photographer

Warner himself has successfully avoided sitting for a portrait since Cecil Beaton had coaxed him in to it back in 1964 when Warner was just 24 years old. Now at 72, with his acting career firmly under his belt, I wanted to capture this more seasoned and experienced persona for my Northerners Portrait Exhibition. I was treated to a memorable sitting whereby Warner rose to the challenge in astonishing fashion, creating expressions with emotions that entrance the viewer. I was thrilled when, after the session, the National Portrait Gallery acquired one of the images for their permanent collection.

 

Ian McShane:

From Lovejoy to Deadwood, from a lawless saloon owner to the sexiest of beastly British mobsters, award-winning actor Ian McShane has, time and again, captured the public’s attention by playing bad guys, scoundrels and thieves. His enthusiasm for villainous parts was summed up when he ardently declared “The devil has the best tunes!” His Lancastrian voice, described as “syrup on sandpaper”, is instantly recognisable and transports you to a dastardly portrayal of whichever character he is turning his hand to now.

 

Ian McShane (Rory Lewis Photographer) (2015)

Ian McShane (Rory Lewis Photographer) (2015)

Personally, I most admire Ian for his role as the late 19th Century brothel-keeper and bar owner, Al Swearengen, in the HBO series Deadwood. For me this was McShane’s best and most complex role which he inhabited with utmost gusto.

Ian McShane (Rory Lewis Photographer) (2015)

Ian McShane (Rory Lewis Photographer) (2015)

With his strong Blackburn roots, McShane was a must for my Northerners Portrait Exhibition. I made contact with Ian’s agency and struck lucky as he was currently in London promoting his new film Cuban Fury. It was an amazing experience to photograph him, with quips and jibes such as “You’ll have to pay me for that!” when I jokingly asked him to give me the Al Swearengen look. Plain, simple expression was my theme for the Portrait Session, shot on black backdrops, to truly capture the texture and character of Ian McShane.

 

Julian Glover:

Being the self-confessed Sci-Fi nerd that I am, capturing Julian Glover in Portrait was essential. A screen-legend, we can reel off a list of roles including great names such as Star Wars; Bond Films; Indiana Jones. Since 2011 he has played the ongoing role of Grand Maester Pycelle in Game of Thrones. This is his role that fascinates me the most. Here is a complex character who appears weak and fragile, yet a true fan is treated to deleted scenes showing there is more to him that we think.

Julian Glover Actor Portrait Rory Lewis Photographer

Julian Glover Actor Portrait (Rory Lewis Photographer) 2015

Julian Glover (Rory Lewis Photographer) 2015

Julian Glover Actor Portrait (Rory Lewis Photographer) 2015

With such a strong and diverse acting background, I wanted to bring this through in my work with him. At the beginning of the session we sat down to discuss the shoot and the direction it would take. We decided to draw on his role at the time where he was starring in the Scottsboro Boys, a powerful West-End musical charting the story of a group of nine black teenagers, brought together by fate in a case which sparked the American Civil Rights movement. Adding this to his vast number of villainous roles over the year, I decided to focus on two juxtaposing looks: the plain, simple and thoughtful character portrait, and the villainous opposite side of the coin.

 

Iain Glen:

Iain Glenn ActorWith Scots roots in film, television and stage, Iain Glen is an actor of domineering proportions. Best known for his roles in the Resident Evil film, and for portraying Ser Jorah Mormont in Game of Thrones, his is no stranger to our screens. Admiring his career over many years, his dark portrayal of Resident Evil’s Dr Alexander Isaacs stands out most to me. In charge of the Nemesis Program of the Umbrella Corporation, Glen plays an eminently cool, yet evil, scientist. I was thrilled that Iain accepted my invitation for a shoot and the session took place in London last month with Iain arriving, by bike, at the London Portrait Studio. As always, I had done my ‘homework’ in order to start conversation, put him at ease, and get the best from the shoot. Iain in respect conveyed his admiration of my recent portraits of Sir Patrick Stewart and wanted his images to be lit in the same style.

 

Iain Glen (Rory Lewis Photographer) (2015)

Iain Glen (Rory Lewis Photographer) (2015)

The shoot commenced, creating striking frames, with Iain enthusiastically posing without requiring direction towards the end. The result was that I was able to capture a selection of truly spontaneous images which really stand out as unique and capturing this essence of this prominent actor.

 

William Shatner:

It’s no secret that I am a Trekkie. Therefore, as a Portrait Photographer, I was desperate to undertake a shoot with William Shatner, famous for his role as Captain Kirk. From the age of 7 this is an actor who has captured my imagination through his screen-presence.

William Shatner (Rory Lewis Photographer) (2015)

William Shatner (Rory Lewis Photographer) (2015)

One of his lesser-known roles was as Adam Cramer in the 1962 American film ‘The Intruder’ where Shatner played a mischievously villainous part where he powerfully and manipulatively incites townspeople to racial violence. The introductory scene to the character of Cramer has him confidently stepping off a bus: the self-assurance is innate and stays with him throughout. The audience sees a charmer and begins to be drawn in to his thrall before it becomes apparent this is a tool achieve an end, ultimately to politically affect masses and incite racial violence. This role struck me with power through Shatner’s depiction.

Therefore, when I was afforded the opportunity to work with Shatner in Los Angeles, I could barely contain my glee let alone my professional image. It took a few deep breaths on spotting him at his office, to commence the task of setting up my Portable Studio Kit. With a number of different ideas floating in my mind, I explained to Bill that I was aiming to achieve a simple expressive look. His reply “I don’t do plain” jokingly left me re-describing it as ‘emotionless’. The result was a series of wonderful expressions that capture his essence perfectly.

William Shatner (Rory Lewis Photographer) (2015)

William Shatner (Rory Lewis Photographer) (2015)

With a lighting change, I then directed Shatner to a more fierce look. In the majority of his roles he has been the hero, instead I wanted to capture the inner villain. Joking that playing the hero won him the girl, we had fun turning the expectations on their head, and photographing a different side.

 

This was a remarkable shoot for me and a wonderful experience. Having the opportunity to photograph an icon is indescribable.

 

Andrew Robinson:

Continuing in the Trekkie theme, Andrew Robinson was a strong contender for my Expressive Portraits Exhibition following his role as Garak in Deep Space Nine. For me, this desire was strengthened by his notoriety for his role at the first psychopathic killer, Scorpio, from Dirty Harry, as well as playing the part of Larry Cotton in the horror film Hellraiser.

Andrew Robinson (Rory Lewis Photographer) (2015

Andrew Robinson (Rory Lewis Photographer) (2015

On a personal level, the role in Dirty Harry struck me most profoundly. The film begins with one of the coolest opening sequences in any thriller. Perched on the roof of a San Francisco skyscraper, Scorpio with wild hair and piercing blue eyes takes aim as a sniper targeting a young woman in a rooftop pool. With the unforgettable theme tune standing as a backdrop, the anticipation building for the inevitable shot creates a sense of dread, and once delivered we receive a real gut-punch.

This scene played in my mind as a met Andy. I discovered he had once shared a room at LAMDA with Brian Cox who I had photographed last year. The sense was one of completeness that these two eminent figures had been captured in my Portrait Photography. The shoot with Robinson was one of ease and achievement: he is a natural in front of the camera and at ease with the non-transient nature of Portrait Photography, a complete change from his usual depiction on film. The result is that the images capture the essence of this incredible actor as a true reflection of all he is and has achieved.

 

Brian Cox:

A talented thespian, he has also made a solid name for himself in major Hollywood productions such as X-Men 2Troy and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. He was also the first man to play Hannibal Lector on-screen, in the 1986 Michael Mann film, Manhunter. The role which stands out the most in my eyes was Cox’s portrait of Nazi War Criminal Goering in the TV dramatisation of The Nuremberg Trials. Cox had to learn what drives some men to carry out unspeakable deeds, and portray an unrelenting man.

Brian Cox Actor Rory Lewis Portrait Photographer

Brian Cox Actor (Rory Lewis Portrait Photographer) (2015)

I cannot begin to state the awe I felt when Brian Cox – even more so when he turned up for our London shoot on the back of a scooter. Having the star of my favourite episode of Hammer House of Horror, the Silent Scream, sitting and posing for me was such a treat – it really makes your job as a photographer that little bit easier when you work with an actor who can tell a whole story with just one look. He is such a funny and pleasant man who, at the same time, has such a commanding aura about him. I had an absolute blast working with him in what was a truly humbling experience.

 

Sir Patrick Stewart:

When I was an 8 year old boy, Captain Jean Luc Picard was my boyhood hero. As I grew up, but retained my love of all things Star Trek, I became more and more enamoured with this legend that I not only saw in my childhood’s favourite series, but also on stage and screen, a true stalwart of British acting talent.

Sir Patrick Stewart (Rory Lewis Photographer) (2015)

Sir Patrick Stewart (Rory Lewis Photographer) (2015)

Looking back, two of Star Trek’s The Next Generation’s episodes particularly inspired me. The first titled ‘The Best of Both Worlds’ in which Picard is taken captive by the Borg, and the second, ‘Chain of Command’ in which Stewart stars alongside my screen idol David Warner when Picard is taken to Gul Madred for interrogation. This is an incredibly powerful episode with torture methods including sensory deprivation and bombardment, forced nakedness, stress positions, dehydration and starvation and physical pain.

Leading up to the shoot, I became somewhat star-struck. As I waited in the Neo Studios in Manhattan the fanboy inside me was jostling for prime position and ran the risk of overshadowing Rory Lewis the Photographer. Drawing on reserves I wasn’t aware I had, I managed to shake Sir Patrick’s hand and move forward on a professional basis with my inner Trekkie firmly at bay.

Sir Patrick Stewart Rory Lewis

Sir Patrick Stewart (Rory Lewis Photographer) (2015)

Before the shoot, I was aware that there are in fact very few photos of Sir Patrick where he is not in character. It therefore became my desire to capture who he was as a person. I staged a few photos to determine the best facial positions and the appropriate height for the camera, and from there the shoot commenced with ease. Drawing on his time and experience as an actor of long-standing, he effortlessly adopted the expressions and emotions we, together, thought suitable. The result was a marriage of natural kindness and fierce intensity.

 

Enabling me to keep the Trekkie-Rory in his box, I found Sir Patrick to be curious, warm and extremely polite. This shoot will stay with me forever, both professionally as a Portrait Photographer, but also personally to have met this stalwart of my life’s screen-based inspiration.

 

The Cinematic Inspiration, Full Circle:

As my career and success develops, my Cinematic Inspiration not only now draws on what I have seen, witnessed and been moved by as a young child, teen, and adult…It now also draws on the experience of meeting some of these screen legends in the flesh and working with them on a professional level. Whilst my cinematic inspiration is a work in progress, and my Portrait Sittings will always be driven and guided by this, I am also honoured that this inspiration can now grow knowing that I have captured the essence of these great giants of our screens.

 

I feel driven to continue drawing on my cinematic inspiration and therefore am striving to secure shoots with Anthony Hopkins, Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson, Clint Eastwood and even Arnold Schwarzenegger. I can now not only draw on my specialist knowledge of actor’s headshots, directional and photographic skills, but I can draw on my cinematic inspiration that has fuelled real productive and successful sittings. Through identifying – and capturing on film – the je ne sais quoi of McKellen, Stewart, Berkhoff and the likes, I feel confident I can portray personas with power, poise and a sense of the timeless characters screen-legends are known to play.