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.

Actor René Auberjonois Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

Sir Patrick Stewart Intense Chiaroscuro Photographer Portraits Rory Lewis

Iain Glen Intense Chiaroscuro Photographer Portraits Rory Lewis

René Auberjonois Portrait Sitting

René Auberjonois has an instantly recognisable face which I believe becomes better and better with age. Star of stage and screen Auberjonois, has appeared in  M.A.S.H, Star Trek Deep Space Nine and Boston Legal to name but a few titles. I wrote to René several months ago to arrange the sitting in Los Angeles, and to my wonderment, he agreed to sit for a portrait during my visit to LA a few weeks ago.

 

René boasts an incredible family tree being related to Napoleon himself, His mother, Laure Louise Napoléone Eugénie Caroline Murat (1913-1986), was a great-great-granddaughter of Joachim Murat, one of Napoleon’s marshals and King of Naples during the First French Empire, and his wife Caroline Bonaparte, Napoleon’s youngest sister.

 

Inspired by my sitting with Actor Sir Ian McKellen, René requested I use a similar style of lighting for his portraits. I was delighted to recreate the mood to capture the incredible detail of René’s profile. Auberjonois incredible acting talent seeps through the portraits, each frame became more expressive than the last.

René Auberjonois Portrait Sitting, London & Los Angeles Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

René Auberjonois Portrait Sitting, London & Los Angeles Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

René Auberjonois Portrait Sitting, London & Los Angeles Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis

René Auberjonois Portrait Sitting, London & Los Angeles Portrait Photographer Rory Lewis