Recently I invited former Prime Minister Tony Blair to sit for a portrait in London. Mr Blair served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007. The third Prime Minister of my career, it was an exciting prospect to capture his Portrait.
In preparation I began by examining the work of other portrait photographers who had captured Mr Blair. I also skimmed through his book and watched old Parliamentary debates on Youtube. Research enables me to gain insight into my sitters, their profile, character and even hobbies. This helps when speaking and engaging with prominent subjects. Sittings like these don’t last more than 20 minutes. Its was important to break the ice and develop an understanding of Mr Blair prior to the session.
Upon arrival at his offices in London, I setup my equipment. Lighting wise I opted for the Profoto B10. The smallest and lightest off-camera flash Profoto have created. With five times the power of a speedlight packaged in the form of a camera lens. The B10 Flash makes it easy to be creative with light at any location. Check out the video to see the B10 in action.
Seeking inspiration for the sitting, I took a great deal from my session with David Cameron. Opting to capture Mr Blair as a contemplative statesmen. Looking back and looking directly to camera, we worked through a series of thoughtful poses. I found Blair to be an extraordinary sitter. Speaking about his career, I was able to direct Mr Blair as he mediated on the past. One of my aims as a portraitist is to record the figures of our time, and this sitting certainly represents living history.