By Photographer Miles Aldridge
The brief for the Game of Thrones TIME Magazine issue was to shoot a cover and individual portraits of all the leading characters, plus the show creators/writers. The shoots took place at studios in London and Los Angeles, recreating the same set for both locations.
When thinking of how to photograph each individual I wanted to acknowledge influences of themes in the show while capturing the traits of their own unique characters.
I was inspired by the work of artists such as Lucas Cranach and Albrecht Dürer whose northern European renaissance paintings resembled the medieval setting of the show and set about making a modern interpretation of their paintings with both lighting and set design.
The light was used on the ‘full flood’ setting to give clean shadows which I knew would flatter all my subjects which was important when shooting so many different people and wanting to make all images in the series link.
In addition to the key light, I had a Broncolor Beauty dish with a grid to light he subject’s hair. The Beauty dish was set above and just behind the actor and coated with a colour gel corresponding to the chosen background of each person. For example, in the image of Emilia, you can see that her hair has been highlighted with pink to match the pink velvet of the background. As fill lights, I used broncolor 90 x 120 cm and 60 x 60 cm Softboxes to lighten the shadows, gelled with a light green/ blue filter.
When lighting for the shoot, I used the Broncolor Flooter as a key light, which I always gravitate to as my starting point. For this light, we did not use any gels as I knew I wanted this light to stand out from the others.
The set design for this shoot played a huge part in conveying my idea and really giving the readers of TIME magazine a sense of both the topics in the show along with representing my distinct style.
The vivid colour narrative in each brings the viewers into the world I have created for these actors while the careful placement and selection of each prop brings to life the mystical, dark world of The Game of Thrones.
All of the portraits were taken on Rolleiflex 6001 with 120/180mm lens, set at f.16 and shot on Kodak ekta 100 ASA film – rated at 80 ASA, to bring more information into the shadow areas. The film was processed at labs in London at + 1/2.
Behind the scenes
Miles Aldridge (British, b.1964)
is a fashion photographer widely known for the distinctive style of his photographs, which are over-saturated, surreal, and glamorous. Aldridge sets a stage and mood akin to the great Hollywood directors of the 1940s through 1960s. Infused with intense color, light, and drama, his women and men are always beautiful yet detached. The women he portrays, in particular, are often caught in dark or mysterious situations. Among his influences are his father, graphic designer Alan Aldridge, and filmmakers David Lynch, Derek Jarman, and Federico Fellini. After studying illustration at the Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design, Aldridge worked as a music video director, and in 1993, officially turned to fashion photography. Not long after his career change, Aldridge was already shooting covers for W magazine. Since then, Aldridge has worked with many publications, including Vogue, The New York Times, and The New Yorker.