Then taking Historical Portraits I am keen that they should represent historical fact and not be a political statement in themselves. Effectively, the viewer should be able to overlay their own opinion of the character of the person in the picture. Iain Duncan-Smith is well known amongst photographers for creating a neutral portrait, ideal for history itself to become the judge of character.
Once I arrived at Caxton House, I was able to explain the type of Historical Portrait I hoped to achieve. I began by capturing a plain and determined expression. This naturally fed through to Duncan-Smith’s accustomed political stance and stature that we know from his rousing political speeches and broadcasts. These images portray the sense of power of the man speaking with authority and determination on the floor of the Commons.
Any trepidation I had soon melted away, as in person Iain Duncan-Smith is both kind and easy to work with. He is used to having his portrait taken and as such was at ease taking my direction and guidance for the shoot. Timed shortly after the failure of the Universal Credit Bill, pushed by IDS, it was ideally timed to represent the cross-roads which faced him as Secretary.
As opinions have come in to me following the images I am able to inwardly smile at my ability to create a portrait ready for the viewer’s opinion and not weighed down with my own political sentiment. Some feel I have captured the “essence of evil” while others have determined I’ve captured “a proud and well-respected politician”. Two sides of a coin: both correct in the eye of the beholder, both upholding those individual viewers’ opinions. If I can obtain varying opinions, both positive and negative, then I have achieved what I set out to achieve: impartiality. I have remained true to, and delivered on, the essence of the Historical Portrait. Photographing Iain Duncan-Smith was both inspiring and rewarding, paving the way for many more political sittings and the challenges they bring.