The British Army is a diverse and proud organisation with a cherished heritage. ‘Soldiery’, both as a portraiture exhibition and subsequent book, has been a project that focused on historically documenting the modern British Military in a contemporary reflection, of historical portraiture of days gone by.
Professional Portraitist Rory Lewis has collaborated closely with the Army in a busy schedule of hundreds of military portrait sittings. The results feature the Army’s Leaders and Soldiers from a range of iconic regiments. Each depicts the unique identity of the regiment and rank. Rory’s initial aim was both historic and ambitious, and he has succeeded in creating an exhibition and book of the project.
Soldiery, as a portrait project, was a labour of dedication for two years. Rory visited 23 geographically and diverse regiments. For a history and military enthusiast, this project has combined passion and artistry and allowed for a unique experience travelling the country from Fort George in Inverness to the Yorkshire Dales and then south to London, Andover and Aldershot. Working with the men and women of the Army, you quickly discover how diverse the military is. Through the Soldiery project, Rory has met soldiers from all over the world, including Malawi, Zimbabwe, Canada and Australia.
Each and every regiment is unique, almost like its own tribe, with its own uniform, traditions and heritage. Each proud of their identity, both past, present and future. From The Royal Lancers one day, to The Household Cavalry, The Gurkhas, the Parachute Regiment. The project is extensive, and succeeded in capturing the 21st century face of the evolving British Army. Soldiery had a wide and ambitious scope: to capture the ‘greats’ of our military in a contemporary yet timeless portrait collection, which will serve as a historical record of the British Army in the early 21st Century. Soldiery is, in essence, living history. It includes military men and women who are both esteemed, renowned, and proud. Importantly, it captures several of the Army’s Generals and the Senior Staff. Soldiery is the British Army in all its regimental glory. Rory Lewis’ work has drawn on inspiration from the portrait paintings of famous military artist George Dawe, who completed no less than 342 portraits of Russian Generals.
“Just by looking into the eyes of the men and women you can see those soldiers who have just passed out looking fresh-faced and ready for action, and then look at those who have been veterans of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan with more experienced and vivid emotions.” This is Army life through the lens. Each portrait depicts a different story.
Sutherland once quipped “Accuracy is Truth”. A degree in history and a passion for all things historical and military shows in Rory Lewis’ work on Soldiery – detail and accuracy have been crucial to getting results. He takes pride in capturing “every line, mark, and scar” in order to hint at the story behind the military figure. Direction in the Soldiery project has involved a skilled photographer’s hand and character in order to capture the vivid yet solemn and emotionless expressions that make for historical accuracy. The photographer as a facilitator is a crucial role to play. Heroism and a sense of responsibility is naturally defined in these regiments, and getting this across through the lens is crucial for a project of Soldiery’s scope.
The British Army is a diverse and proud organisation with a cherished heritage. ‘Soldiery’, has been a project focusing on historically documenting the modern British Army in a contemporary reflection of historical portraiture of days gone by. Photographed by Professional Portraitist Rory Lewis. Foreword by General Sir James Everard, KCB, CBE NATO’s Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe. This book features portraiture of the Army’s Leaders and Soldiers from a range of iconic regiments. Each depicts the unique identity of the soldier, regiment and rank. Rory also explains his inspirations from the master portraitists of the past and the story behind the project.
Printed on Ultra High Quality Pearl Photographic Paper Click Here to Purchase from Blurb’s Online Bookstore
Size Standard Portrait, 8×10 in, 21×26 cm
ISBN Hardcover: 9781389024757
Open Evening 31st January 2018 6.00-8.00pm
The National Army Musuem
National Army Museum
Royal Hospital Rd, Chelsea,
London SW3 4HT