When the opportunity arrises to photograph a cinematic megastar, you have to be ready for anything – prepared to make the very most of it, whatever the circumstances. Ralph Twisleton Wykeham Fiennes is certainly a megastar, having starred in Harry Potter, The English Patient, Schindler’s List, The Avengers and In Bruges amongst many others. The client was the amazing Everyman Cinema in Maida Vale, north London, who requested a few portraits of Ralph Fiennes before he started off a Q&A session about his movie Coriolanus, with a cinema full of fans who’d just watched the film.
Initial instructions were that we were to take a few photos outside, in front of the neon sign above the door of the cinema. It seemed I’d have a maximum of about 1 minute with the man himself. Just before he was due to arrive, the ever-reliable London rain started lashing down and our original plans fell to pieces. Cue a sprint upstairs to Cinema 2 holding two light stands, to very quickly pick a spot, set up the two off-camera-flashes, take a test shot using our good friend Katie the Press Officer as a model, and in walked Voldemort himself.
As a photographer, whether shooting a movie star or a family member, you never want to exhaust their patience. The audience had just finished watching Coriolanus in Cinema 1, leaving me with extremely little time to produce the goods. I spent 38 seconds photographing Ralph Fiennes, being sure to shoot a selection of both eyes-to-camera and looking away, and both landscape and portrait orientation. Being someone who’s seen all the Harry Potter movies, it did feel like Voldemort was staring straight into my soul for a few moments! He was very pleasant and seemed like a lovely man, working with actors always makes the task a touch easier I suppose, at least they’re not camera shy!
On a side note, if you ever fancy a superior cinema experience in London, head to Everyman. Comfortable couches with side tables, food served to you throughout the film, great wine and snacks. Here are a few of my favourites…