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Tilda Swinton, Edinburgh - Geraint Lewis, 2001

4 March 2011

The Independent commissioned me to photograph Tilda Swinton at the 2001 Edinburgh Film Festival. She was promoting the film The Deep End at one of the city hotels. I arrived early to set up and saw her being photographed for Time Out. She looked amazing in a beautiful pale blue suit with that unique look of hers, a look I was hoping to capture. When the Time Out shoot ended she went upstairs to change.

When Tilda came down again she no longer wore the pale blue suit but a blouse that I did not care for, and my heart dropped. So I decided to go for a tight head shot. To get a soft look to the face I bounced my Elinchrom flash off the ceiling – not such a good idea as the forehead then had a massive hotspot (although the rest of her face looked good). This crop was the only option. I scanned the negative and on lightening the image the eyes went this lovely green colour. That’s all I did – no digital effects – just 150mm lens on a Hasselblad loaded with Kodak Portra film.

Orson Welles once said he was someone who proceeded on a series of accidents. In photography it’s often the same.

Geraint Lewis began working at The Independent newspaper in 1988 after studying photojournalism at the London College of Printing. Now freelancing, he combines theatre photography with portraits, PR and corporate work.

Photographer since 1988. EPUK member since 1999.

See more work by Geraint Lewis

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