For a photographer whose work burst into the public's consciousness with his iconic black and white portraits that adorned the film posters for Trainspotting it's little surprise that Canon Ambassador Lorenzo Agius has very close connections to the movie world. One of those connections is with actress Kate Winslet, who Lorenzo now regards as a friend. CPN editor Steve Fairclough spoke to Lorenzo Agius about his recent portrait of the Oscar-winning actress.
Lorenzo reveals: "I first met Kate after she had made her first film, 'Heavenly Creatures'. I think it was a shoot for Empire magazine and she stood out as a person that I remembered. I've known her for about 15 years and now she's a friend. Her shape and face has changed but in this photograph that's her – it's not retouched in any way."
The Kate Winslet portrait shown here was shot at Milk Studios in New York as Lorenzo explains: "It was for the Saturday Telegraph and they basically let me do what I wanted with the brief."
As with this portrait, virtually all of Lorenzo's portrait work is now shot on the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III. He reveals: "I used to shoot film but the problem with shooting on medium format is that you are unable to get low light unless you are shooting with a tripod. The Canon equipment has allowed me to shoot at lower light levels due to the speed of the lenses and the autofocus system of the cameras."
He adds: "For this shot I used an HMI Arri light and bounced it into some soft silver foil. I wanted to get that 'dappled light' effect. All of the light that hits the back wall reflects. I've used this form of lighting quite a few times – it becomes kind of moodier, sexier. On film I would have had to shoot with a tripod but I can hand hold and shoot at around 1/60sec at f/4.5 or 5 or 6. The quality is lovely – you get that richness in the image."
"The EOS-1Ds Mark III is my 'workhorse' now – as I get to know it more I use it for different things. The build and usability of the camera for a professional is great – it feels big, hardy and tough," explains Lorenzo. For the Kate Winslet shoot Lorenzo teamed the EOS-1Ds Mark III body with Canon's EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens and shot everything hand held.
He adds: "It was a good, fun shoot. It's great to work with someone you know. I wanted to see the face and get the form of the body." The result is a stunning combination of pose and lighting that reaffirms the fact that Lorenzo Agius is, quite simply, a superb portrait photographer.
Kate Winslet portrait – Lorenzo Agius
Location: Milk Studios, New York City, USA
Date: 10 November 2008
Camera: EOS-1Ds Mark III
Lens: EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM
Exposure: 1/60sec at f/4.5
ISO speed: 400
Biography: Lorenzo Agius
© Remy Cortin
Following several years working as a photographer’s assistant in London, Lorenzo Agius went freelance in 1989. Specialising in advertising, portraits and still life his big break came when he shot the publicity posters for the film Trainspotting in 1996. Shortly after that he secured a cover shoot for Vanity Fair’s ‘Cool Britannia’ issue and shot the stills for the Spice Girls movie. He now has a reputation as one of the world’s leading portrait photographers shooting celebrities including Madonna, Muhammad Ali, Johnny Depp and many other Hollywood A-listers.