Published on February 6, 2014 | by Emma Francis


Last chance to visit: Behind The Mask exhibition


Somerset house

The exhibition at Somerset House has the biggest collection of BAFTA-nominated actor portraits ever assembed. [Flickr: Tony Hisgett]

The west wing of Somerset House has been taken over by the biggest collection of BAFTA-nominated actor portraits ever assembled.

Ending this Friday (February 7), Behind The Mask is an exhibition of portraits of over one hundred BAFTA winners and nominees, from 1954 to the present day, by renowned photographer Andy Gotts MBE.

The project has been more than two years in the making and includes photographs of Julia Roberts, Al Pacino, the late Heath Ledger, Tom Hanks, Scarlett Johansson, and the back of Samuel L Jackson’s head.

Gotts is most known for his black and white portraits of Hollywood actors and singers. However, this exhibition goes beyond the Hollywood smile and looks deep into the character of the subject.

Speaking about his career, Gott said: “Even though I have been given the title ‘celebrity photographer,’ I have always seen myself as a photographer of actors. I have always been a movie buff and getting the opportunity to meet my matineé idols is beyond a dream come true. I specialise in character studies of the face and try to show a new and different side of world famous faces in my ‘warts and all’ style.”

The exhibition makes you realise just how prestigious an event the BAFTAs is. Below each portrait is the number of awards or nominations the actor has had, with many of the best actors of our time receiving just one or two nominations.

Dame Judi Dench is one of the few displayed with an incredible record of BAFTA awards and nominations below her portrait, which beautifully represents her elegance and eminence.

Behind The Mask will exhibit at Somerset House, London until February 7. Some of the exhibition will then move to BAFTA’s 195 Piccadilly venue from February 9 until February 16 – the date of the EE British Academy Film Awards – as well as Asprey London, venue of the Awards’ Official Nominees Party. The Somerset House exhibition is free to visit and is open from 10am to 6pm daily.



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