I still feel a certain weight of responsibility each time and undoubtedly a sense of nerves, which are essential to keep that edge to push the creative boundaries and not retreat into the comfort of routine.
Knowing that the Queen’s appearances form part of the fabric of British royal history is especially exciting for a photographer. The banknote in my pocket features her portrait.
The British public’s psyche is built on the image of the monarch. “Iconic” seems almost an embarrassing understated word to use when discussing her impact in the world over the last century.
If the light drops in the right way and it has that magic softness to it, and you are fortunate enough to capture an endearing or responsive expression, all at exactly the same moment, you have the potential to create an image that lives on in the public psyche for generations to come.
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.
As the royal photographer for Getty Images, I spend the majority of my time recording the daily official lives of the British royal family, a role that has developed organically over the years and led to a career that has taken me to more than 100 countries around the world, and created a library of images featuring royal weddings, births, christenings, and so much more.
I have had the privilege of photographing one of the world’s most iconic and respected women.
Not only have I documented the Queen on her everyday engagements – the opening of a hospital, school visits, and the multitude of ceremonial events that form the backbone of much of the royal year – but I’ve also documented royal tours around the world and family occasions.
Taking official portrait photos has been a huge honour and the highlight of my career.
This is an edited extract from Elizabeth II: A Queen for Our Time by Chris Jackson.
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