The story behind the portrait used to announce Queen Elizabeth II’s death – National

When Queen Elizabeth II died on 8 September, the Royal Family announced her passing with an elegant black and white portrait.

The Queen has been photographed with wise eyes and a slight smile, conveying a serene, gentle demeanor as she looks through the camera. Royal family Written that she “died peacefully at Balmoral.”

Portrait of Queen Elizabeth taken by Jane Bown in February 2006. This photo was used to announce the queen’s death on September 8, 2022.

Royal Trust Collection

The photo, taken more than 15 years ago in February 2006 on the occasion of the queen’s 80th birthday, was taken by a famous photographer then also a woman in her 80s: Jane Bown.

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Bown was born a year before the queen and has worked as a professional photographer since the late 1940s, according to Royal Collection Trust. Over the decades she honed her career as a major contributor to The Observer and she died in 2014 as a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for her contributions. in the field of photography.

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Despite the high accolades she has won, Bown remains humble about her work.

At her CBE ceremony in 1995, Queen Elizabeth called her an artist, to which Bown replied, “I’m not an artist, I’m just a hacker.”

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The Royal Collection Trust calls her technique “humble”, adding that she is known for “working at a fast pace, using only available light and working with black and white, not color”. “.

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The result of her simple and pragmatic process is photography that feels approachable and evocative.

As a photographer who grew up in an era when black and white was the only option, Bown found color photography to be “noisy and distracting.” She briefly tested it out in the 1960s when the technology became popular, but says she liked the “simple and directness of black and white”.

“It emphasizes the basic patterns of light and shadow and creates a natural harmony for the subject,” she says.

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Perhaps that is why the queen asked Bown, in particular, to photograph her on the occasion of her 80th birthday.

In a 2014 interview with The Independentshortly before his death, Bown recalled the photo session that led to the now-famous portrait.

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“I circled around the chair, ran about three rolls.

Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II taken by Jane Bown in February 2006.

Royal Collection Trust

“I love the sight of the Queen smiling softly as her waiting lady walks into the room.”

In the end, the palace opted for a more formal portrait of the two, featuring a more restrained smile.

In its description of the portrait, the Royal Collection Trust Written: “Head-and-shoulder portrait of Queen Elizabeth II (born 1926). She was sitting, facing three-quarters of her right, and smiling. The Queen wears pearl earrings and a pearl necklace. Taken at Buckingham Palace in 2006.”

Portrait of King Charles III by Jane Bown in 1985 at Clarence House.

Royal Collection Trust

Bown has photographed other royals throughout her life, including the queen’s son, Prince Charles, now King Charles III, and her daughter, Princess Anne.

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Portrait of Princess Anne taken by Jane Bown in 1980.

Royal Collection Trust

Similarly, the portraits have a muted elegance to the spotlight, more evident in the dramatic light of Princess Anne’s portrait.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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