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Friday, May 24, 2024

Picture Perfect: Royal photographer reflects on his favourite snaps of the Queen

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“Taking official portrait photos has been a huge honour and the highlight of my career.” 

At the news that Queen Elizabeth II has passed away at age 96, the entire world has fallen silent.

The King and the Queen Consort will stay at Balmoral through this evening and will go back to London tomorrow, according to a brief 26-word statement issued by Buckingham Palace.

In light of Her Majesty’s demise, we consider an excerpt from photographer Chris Jackson’s 2021 book Elizabeth II: A Queen for Our Time, where he shared his favourite images of the adored royal. The book was published to commemorate the world’s longest-reigning monarch.

The Queen has been a constant figurehead and an icon for as long as most of us can remember.

She is equally admired and respected throughout the world as the head of the Commonwealth. Her steadfast presence has conveyed steadiness, objectivity, and accountability.

The thrill I experience when I get the chance to picture such a figure never wanes. Even today, the rarity of these occasions makes each engagement all the more unique.

Every time, I still feel a certain amount of pressure and surely a sense of nervousness. These feelings are necessary to maintain the edge needed to push the limits of creativity and avoid giving in to the comfort of routine.

The king is a central figure in the collective psyche of the British people. When talking about her influence on the world over the past century, the word “iconic” almost feels too modest.

If the light falls just so and has that special softness to it, and you’re lucky enough to get a cute or responsive expression all at once, you have the ability to make a photograph that will live on in the collective consciousness for a long time.

It is the sense of anticipation, more often than not unfulfilled, that drives me on from engagement to engagement, in the constant search for something better. Above all, however, it is an honour to have the opportunity to document these moments, effectively acting as the eyes of the world at these engagements.

The majority of my time as the royal photographer for Getty Images is spent documenting the official daily lives of the British royal family. This position naturally developed over the years and has since taken me to more than 100 different countries, where I have built up a library of images that include royal weddings, births, christenings, and much more.

I had the honour of taking pictures of one of the most well-known and admired women in the world.

In addition to covering the Queen’s regular engagements, such as the opening of a hospital, visits to schools, and the other ceremonial events that make up the bulk of the royal year, I have also covered royal excursions throughout the world and family gatherings.

The pinnacle of my profession and a great honour for me has been doing official portrait photographs.

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