James Purefoy Portrait Sitting

Actor James Purefoy Portrait Sitting (Rory Lewis Photographer October 2018)

Actor James Purefoy Portrait Sitting (Rory Lewis Photographer October 2018)

Actor James Purefoy is a remarkable stage and screen presence. From jousting Heath Ledger in 2001’s pulpy A Knight’s Tale to manipulating a cult of serial killers in Fox’s The Following, James has appeared in a wider range of film, television and theatre productions than the lion’s share of his contemporaries.

I was thrilled James accepted my invitation to sit for a portrait. The session taking place at the London Studio on 8th October 2018. As always, I had done my ‘homework’ binge watching his movies and TV series. Solomon Kane has always been my favourite Purefoy movie.

During the sitting James told me a very interesting fact, his contracts, at one time, always contained a stipulation that he could keep his character’s sword at the end of filming. His collection, as a result, is envious – with favourite pieces including the blade of Solomon Kane, a puritan avenger Purefoy played in the eponymous film, and a 6-foot broadsword taken from the ‘slightly questionably’ medieval siege epic Ironclad.

It’s not unusual for photographers to be inspired by other types of art. As you may have noticed there is a great deal of Renaissance Italian influence in my portraiture. Drawing inspiration from the Old Master painters like Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Titian and Ribera. I have attempted to masterfully recreate the light, atmosphere and tones of classical portrait paintings. This is even more apparent in my latest project entitled Selah. James conveyed his admiration for my recent portraits of Sir Patrick Stewart and was happy for his images to be lit in the same style.

Actor James Purefoy Portrait Sitting (Rory Lewis Photographer October 2018)

Actor James Purefoy Portrait Sitting (Rory Lewis Photographer October 2018)

The Hebrew word Selah appears throughout the Book of Psalms. Its precise meaning is mysterious, but it is interpreted as a pause to breathe and reflect. It has been my aim throughout the project to attempt to recreate meditative religious scenes, directing my subjects to capture the highest moment of drama. Selah has found its foundation’s in counter reformation art. I have been lost in the work of Ribera. His depictions of saints and religious figures, draw their inspiration directly from Caravaggio’s tenebrism. James portrait will take its place as a part of the project which I’m hoping to finish over the summer and bring it to exhibition in 2020.

My aim was to capture a meditative portrait turning Purefoy into a contemplative yet saintly character. But before we commenced James and I worked through a series of strong and fierce characters from hero’s to villains. Finally James obliged me with a collection of meditative and solemn expressions fitting the theme of Selah. The session lasting just over an hour, I was able to capture a portfolio of truly spontaneous images which really stand out as unique and capturing this essence of this prominent actor.

Rory is offering a limited edition print run from the sitting, only 25 will be issued.

James Purefoy Limited Edition Print
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