portrait and fashion photographer and director
KNOWN FOR: His striking and often slightly eccentric portraits of world leaders, A-list celebrities, international and local cultural icons, and everyday folk. Stewart has collaborated with Baz Lurhmann and Catherine Martin throughout their career working on Romeo and Juliet, Moulin Rouge, the Great Gatsby and now their latest biopic, Elvis.
WHERE ARE YOU BASED? Presently I am based - whether I like it or not - in Sydney Australia.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB IN THE INDUSTRY? I’m old; my memory is selective and faded. My first-ever job was for Vogue Living magazine, and my first-ever job of any substance was for the New Zealand beer, Steinlager. I travelled with an art director all around the world for six weeks shooting a campaign of people drinking beer.
CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT WHAT YOU DO AND YOUR PROCESS? I take photographs, and more and more over the past few years, I make short content films. I’m interested in two things: Meeting new people, and hearing their stories so that my work is as close to a representation of them as I can make it.
MOST MEMORABLE SHOOT/JOB/PERSON YOU HAVE WORKED WITH? How much time do you have? I’ve got lots of stories about lots of people from all corners of the globe.
YOU ARE QUITE ACTIVE ON INSTAGRAM, ESPECIALLY WITH YOUR RECENT LOCKDOWN SERIES. WHAT ROLE DOES IT PLAY CREATIVELY FOR YOU AND FOR YOUR WORK? I’m only really on Instagram, and I’ m either really into it or having a rest from it. Over the lockdown, I got quite into making a series of FaceTime portraits of people from all over the world. Then my enthusiasm waned, and now I’m trying to get myself motivated to give it some attention again.
That, and featuring in a few of my daughter's TikTok videos is my only real social media involvement.
We’re staying at home a lot at the moment. what’s keeping you entertained? I’m listening to a podcast called Team Deakins by Roger Deakins, the cinematographer.
WHATS YOUR FAVOURITE SONG/FILM/SHOW/ARTIST?That’s actually a lot of questions, so in order:
"London Calling" by the Clash (though this changes regularly).
Withnail and I.
Ian Dury and the Blockheads last show in London before he died.
The Cure at Splendour [in the Grass] a few years ago.
A last-minute walk in on a Waylon Jennings show in Texas is up there, too.
A combination of Lucian Fraud and David Hockney.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE COFFEE ORDER? Piccolo, 1/4 sugar.
YOU ARE DIRECTING AND MAKING FILMS NOW, HOW DID THAT EVOLVE? Out of necessity.
ARE THERE ANY FUTURE PROJECTS OR PLANS YOU CAN SHARE WITH US? Heading to Queensland to work on Baz Lurhmann’s new film Elvis - shooting portraits and a BTS film on the 'making of'.