Portraits of former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams

February 13, 2014  •  1 Comment

Dr Rowan Williams portraits

By Paul Rogers

Portrait of Dr Rowan Williams at Magdalene College, Cambridge Dr Rowan Williams, the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, photographed for The Times in Cambridge. 

I had ten minutes to photograph Rowan Williams at the end of an interview for The Times which took place at his residence at Magdalene College, Cambridge. He was talking to Rosemary Bennett about the perception and roles of older people in connection with the charity Abbeyfield. You can see more about this in this article in The Times.

During the interview, I selected three or four locations that I could easily and quickly position Dr Williams in. I've photographed him a few times in the past, though never in a one-to-one portrait session, and I knew he would be a kind and patient subject. I also knew I'd have to work quickly - though he's used to being in front of the cameras, he's a busy man, and I knew I'd be up against the clock. In these situations, I like to start with a simple picture, often with just available light, and quickly get 4 or 5 pictures, upright and landscape. It's important to have a clean background, and to try and use a couple of different lenses to get a broader range of pictures. So even if the subject tires quickly and decides I have enough pictures, I know there's a fair choice of shapes to allow the page designers a few options in their layout.

Fortunately, Dr Williams seemed happy to continue for a couple more minutes, so we went outside into the garden where I shot the picture above, using the sun as a backlight, and keeping the aperture wide at f/1.4 to minimise the distraction of the busy background. Here's a few of the others from the set, leading up to this picture.

Here you can see more of my Editorial Photography for The Times.


1.Ian Martindale(non-registered)
Great work, Paul. Really strong portraits and really interesting to read about your approach.
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