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October 11, 2018

Court and Spark

Sample some of the beautiful portraits from the 70th Emmy Awards. Photographs by Robert Ascroft

  • Mike Farah and Joe Farrell of Funny or Die

    Robert Ascroft
  • Angela Sarafyan

    Robert Ascroft
  • Brandon Victor Dixon

    Robert Ascroft
  • Claire Foy

    Robert Ascroft
  • Game of Thrones cast and crew

    Robert Ascroft
  • Henry Winkler

    Robert Ascroft
  • Marsai Martin

    Robert Ascroft
  • Matthew Rhys

    Robert Ascroft
  • Merritt Wever

    Robert Ascroft
  • The team from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

    Robert Ascroft
  • The Queer Eye Fab Five

    Robert Ascroft
  • Regina King

    Robert Ascroft
  • RuPaul Charles

    Robert Ascroft
  • Thandie Newton

    Robert Ascroft
  • The team from The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

    Robert Ascroft

Stars used to recreating reality on locations around the world were nonetheless astounded on TV's big day when they reached the emmy photo studio.

There, photographer Robert Ascroft and his team had created what looked very much like the windswept courtyard of an old Italian villa — right down to the fallen leaves. As Robert modestly says, "We decided to bring the outdoors indoors."

From hours before the September 17 showtime, through the three-hour NBC telecast and beyond, Emmy winners, nominees, presenters and performers flocked to the media center adjacent to L.A.'s Microsoft Theater.

Behind draping, Robert's studio was discreetly tucked away, like that perfect little hotel you don't want too many other travelers to discover. After marveling at the vine-covered walls and shabby-chic furnishings, stars took their places at Robert's suggestion — on a divan, on garden benches or simply standing with eyes cast wistfully into space.

"I can be set up and have all my ideas ready," Robert says, "but when the talent walks in, it can become something way better than I ever thought it would be."

Like when Angela Sarafyan of Westworld filled the space with her stunning and sparkling Christian Siriano ball gown. Or when Mike Farah and Joe Farrell of Funny or Die indulged in some autumn fun, tossing twigs and leaves at the camera.

Returning for his second year in the emmy studio, Robert knew what to expect — and how to prepare. He is, after all, well known for his work in celebrity portraits, fashion, beauty and advertising, for print, the web, billboards and television.

"We plan everything as much as possible," he says. "Then we wait for those happy moments when everything comes together. While we're working, some of the biggest names in television and movies are standing outside, waiting to come in for a quick shot. I believe they see the value in documenting this great moment with a beautiful portrait.

"Having photographed a lot of the people who are coming through, when they see my face, they're like, 'Oh, hey!' It's a nice, but quick, reconnection. To see them at their brightest moment is very exciting. These people have worked extremely hard. They've dedicated their lives to their craft. They're always professional, really fun, and they bring a lot to the table."

And they left with admiration for a photographic artist. Enjoy Robert's work above and in the latest issue of emmy magazine, and hear his comments from the set at

This article originally appeared in emmy magazine, Issue No. 10, 2018

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