Confident, dashing and witty, Henry Cavill epitomizes the modern British Gentleman – one who is in possession of effortless style and indefatigable self-assurance. Unashamedly masculine, Henry is utterly seductive. It makes sense then, that in 2007, Dunhill chose him to be the face of their brand for a fragrance line that included London, Black and 51.3N.
Henry had this to say about representing Dunhill:
"I am very honoured to be the face of Dunhill BLACK. My traditional values are important to me and I love that this fragrance is all about taking a gentleman’s approach to seduction."
Elin Hörnfeldt is the photographer who worked with Henry Cavill for his Dunhill Black and Dunhill London fragrance television advertising campaigns. She documented the experience through still photography of Henry between takes or behind-the-scenes and gave us some insight into what it was like to capture him on film and why he made such a great fit for the Dunhill brand.
We know that Dunhill wanted to create with this campaign a new image of the English gentleman, a modern representation of the cool Londoner. Robin Harvey and Blaise Douglas, creative directors of Dunhill said: “We were looking for someone beautiful who would appeal to females as much as men, someone with a marked personality and a great self-mastery.” What do you think it was about Henry that caused Dunhill to choose him to be the face of the brand?
Henry's natural personality, I think. He's really a "good guy" and also, a gentleman with a clear sensibility. Robin and Blaise both have a great eye for casting as well as intuition for casting a person "ahead of time", and they were as we all can see totally spot on with their choice of Henry!
For Henry, Dunhill was one of his first photoshoots and his first experience as a model for such a famous brand. Was this apparent to you while you were working with Henry? What is different about the experience of working with a professional model versus a budding actor?
Oh, I didn't know this! So no, this didn't show. I remember though at the shoot thrilled after working so "quickly" with Henry and instantly getting the images that I wanted, saying to Blaise that "Oh! I so love doing men’s fashion! Henry is really easy to work with, so smooth and gives instantly what emotion or presence you ask for!" Then, Blaise said "Well, I think it's because Henry is an actor so he can act (and is used to "give" to the director)." So, I think we all spotted his talent even if it was his first big brand shoot.
Can you give us some insight into how you got some of the photos of Henry Cavill that we've seen from the Dunhill ads?
I took the images when they were not shooting; each image was taken very quickly in-between the scene takes. I also followed Henry around to capture him in more intimate personal settings, such as when he was reading his script (for something he was working on at the time) and waiting in the dressing room.
These images were taken at the same time as they filmed the advert (TV commercial) Dunhill London. It was shot in two days in London, in a studio, on location (a rooftop and at a street in London) and outside London where the helicopter scenes were filmed. When it's an advert shoot, it's usually very precise timings for each scene and small breaks in-between the scenes when the next scene is set up, that you as a photographer have to follow.
It has been said that Henry Cavill does not take a bad picture. What does that mean from a photographer's perspective?
I think what people mean when they say this is that they both find him very handsome and that he is photogenic. For me, photogenic is just being naturally present in yourself in front of the camera, then you will be "captured" on an image beautifully by the photographer - "no matter what" kind of moment or expression.
Did you have any interaction with Henry on the Dunhill set? What was he like to work with? We hear he has quite the sense of humour, were there any funny moments on the set?
Yes, I talked him like you do to everyone on the shoot, and yes he has a sense of humour. I remember this, and there were funny moments, but I can't recall exactly what the scenes were. I'm always very focused when I take pictures so I stay attentive to this.
Please share with us your favorite photo that you took of Henry Cavill for Dunhill. Why is that your favorite?
The funny thing is that I have had many favourite shots of him as I have seen these images for a while now, and the selections (of Dunhill London) were showing him quite versatile. Right now, I think it's this one. I think this image shows his personality, sensibility and presence in heart. I also love the series of Dunhill Black fragrance and the warm colour and setting of them.
Did you realize Henry was also an actor when you were photographing him for Dunhill? Have you followed his career since the photo-shoot?
I googled him before the shoot and that's how I saw his work, but my sisters knew about him and said: "Ohhh…. it's him from Tristan and Isolde!"
What projects have you worked on recently? Have you done any other cologne ads?
I've been doing quite a lot of portraits with musicians and actors/actresses (including one with Roger Moore), and been working on other new projects that I will share as soon as I can. No cologne ads, but hopefully very soon!
Elin shared with us a collection of exclusive images from the London photoshoot last week. She also has shared with us exclusively this rare photo of Henry Cavill from the London fragrance photoshoot.