Michael Heseltine was a Conservative Member of Parliament from 1966 to 2001, and was a prominent figure in the governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major, and served as Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State under Major. His offices were located on a building corner with one window overlooking Parliament Square with a view of the Sir Winston Churchill Statue and Big Ben in the background. Given Michael’s prominence and experience in British politics, including the buildings where he served seemed to be the best option for this portrait.
I placed Michael by the window for the whole of the portrait session, with him facing the camera for the majority of the images. Having contributed to Property Week for some time prior to this I was aware they liked to see people’s faces and have eye contact. However having taken a series of such images I decided to turn my attention to try something different. Historically I felt that Michael had played the part of political understudy and that, had events played out different, he may have been Prime Minister. In regards to portraiture and photography I felt that Michael had a recognisable face and features which could be identified from a profile side angle and thus I asked him to turn to look to Parliament with a view to both photograph the man looking at the institution where he had spent much of his life and also as someone who would be king when looking at the throne.
Since taking the portrait of Michael Heseltine he has remained active in politics and is often called to offer his opinion as a seasoned campaigner. My view of this portrait today has changed since first taking it and when looking at it I find myself wondering what does Michael think of politics, the Houses of Parliament and the Conservative party today?