Thank you to Paddy Shennan at the Liverpool Echo for running a feature on my recent work in Los Angeles, London and New York. Liverpool is still my home and its wonderful to share my latest work with the City. The article features my work with Sir Patrick Stewart, Natalie Dormer, William Shatner, James Purefoy and Stephen Graham transcript below.
(Full Interview) 11 March, 2019
Written By Paddy Shennan Specialist Writer
The Liverpool photographer who's rubbed shoulders with some of the biggest names in Hollywood.
Liverpool photographer opens up his prestigious portfolio
Liverpool photographer Rory Lewis has opened up his prestigious portfolio of portraits of Hollywood stars.
As well as arranging shoots for his own exhibitions and projects, Rory has been commissioned to capture A-listers by national newspapers including The Times. Meanwhile he featured in the ECHO last year after taking classic portrait shots of service people of all ranks and ages. The result was a project called Soldiery – which included a book, and an exhibition held in Liverpool to coincide with its hosting of Armed Forces Day.
These photographs, meanwhile, show subjects familiar to us all – up close and personal.
And here, Rory kindly gives us an insight into his time with six of the best...
Sir Patrick Stewart/William Shatner
Rory says: “Being a Star Trek fan it’s nice to have these two stars in my portfolio.”
Yorkshire-born Patrick Stewart’s many and varied roles have famously included Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation and its successor films and Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men films, while, on stage, he was King Claudius in Hamlet.
Rory says: “Patrick Stewart is a lovely, lovely guy. I photographed him in New York and this is his favourite photograph of himself – it doesn’t make him look too old, or too young.
“He boxed in his younger days and he had a boxer’s nose. It was William Shatner who told me he had been a boxer, and I had a joke with him about who would win between them – and he said definitely Patrick. He had said ‘No’ to me four times, but when I said I was doing a project of fine art portraits he said he would do it but that I would have to come to New York.”
Born in Canada, but a resident of Los Angeles, William Shatner – aka Captain Kirk in Star Trek – has been photographed by Rory on three occasions: “I’m his preferred guy now for a shoot for The Times.
“The first time he only gave me five minutes. The second time he gave me 10 minutes, then the third time (last year) he gave me 15 minutes. So that’s 30 minutes over three years.
“He’s a really nice guy, but really serious – he’s not the flamboyant, jokey guy some people think he is.”
The Berkshire-born actress played Anne Boleyn in The Tudors and also received acclaim for her role as Margaery Tyrell in Game of Thrones.
Rory says: “I shot this in London last year. She arrived normally dressed and with no entourage, which was great because people accompanying stars can say ‘Change this’ and ‘Change that’.
“She just looks perfect. She loved the photographs because there was no fuss or faff with them. She looked natural – for example, you can see the small mole on her lip. They are nice and stark.
London-born Rufus Sewell’s films have included Hamlet, A Knight’s Tale and The Illusionist and his TV work Victoria and Middlemarch.
Rory says: “This was taken in Los Angeles – where he lives now – in November last year. The first thing he said to me was ‘Thank God you are here’ – he was telling me the last photographer he had worked with had airbrushed out every line and mark and that he had looked like a plastic man.
“I wanted to shoot this based on the Italian painter Caravaggio’s works (which are known for their realism). A lot of my work is inspired by fine art and I wanted Rufus to look like the Doubting Thomas in a Caravaggio painting.
“He had just been working on the TV series The Man In The High Castle, and I remember it was a very, very hot day in the warehouse studio we were in – the sun was hitting the metal. Rufus likes an audience but I couldn’t get his jokes because I was so jet-lagged!”
The pride of Kirkby’s many screen roles include the film This Is England and its TV sequels, while he has also appeared in Pirates of the Caribbean films and as Al Capone in Boardwalk Empire.
Rory says: “I photographed Stephen in London in October this year. He had just finished filming somewhere sunny and was quite suntanned. He is brilliant at accents – a very talented mimic. I was with my wife, Alexandra, who now works with me. She is Russian and has a distinctive Russian/Scouse twang. And Stephen somehow managed to get her down to a tee!
“He’s a lovely guy. He played Al Capone so I wanted him to have a ‘Don’t mess with me’ sort of look. His hand was shaking in front of me as he made himself angry. He’s a great, great actor.”
The actor, from Somerset, played Mark Antony in the TV series Rome, former college professor-turned-serial-killer Joe Carroll in the series The Following and the title role in the film Solomon Kane.
Rory says: “I wanted a ‘badass’ picture, and it was taken in Studio City, LA in September this year.
“It was a nice sitting, and he looked really good for his age (54). He was really easy to work with, and I had a full hour with him. The time you are given can vary a lot – it was just 20 minutes with Patrick Stewart (you’ve got to be done quickly with some actors!) while I had 30 minutes with Natalie Dormer and an hour with Rufus Sewell.”