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November 04, 2019

The Sweep Spot

Winners and others find a peaceful place to breathe in Robert Ascroft's studio at the Emmys.

  • Billy Porter

    Robert Ascroft
  • Bill Hader

    Robert Ascroft
  • Phoebe Waller-Bridge

    Robert Ascroft
  • RuPaul Charles

    Robert Ascroft
  • Michelle Williams

    Robert Ascroft
  • Sterling K. Brown

    Robert Ascroft
  • Jared Harris

    Robert Ascroft
  • D. B. Weiss and David Benioff

    Robert Ascroft
  • Tony Shaloub

    Robert Ascroft
  • Jharrel Jerome

    Robert Ascroft
  • Jodie Comer

    Robert Ascroft
  • Alex Borstein

    Robert Ascroft
  • Patricia Arquette

    Robert Ascroft
  • Cast and creators of Game of Thrones

    Robert Ascroft
  • Cast and creators of Fleabag

    Robert Ascroft

 As winners swept up to the stage of the Microsoft Theater on September 22 to collect Emmy gold, they also swept into history.

Among them, Billy Porter of FX's Pose, who became the first openly gay, black man to be nominated for — and win — the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. And he did so in a show-stopping hat whose asymmetrical upsweep mirrored the high spirits of the evening.

Those spirits carried winners, nominees and presenters from the theater to the adjacent media center, where, for the third consecutive year, photographer Robert Ascroft captured exclusive Emmy-night portraits in his elegant studio.

Amid walls that evoked the color of the sea, Robert's clientele alternately relaxed in stylish armchairs, perched on tufted settees or struck poses on the Persian rugs scattered across the distressed wood floor.

For stars like Michelle Williams, who made a passionate case for workplace equity as she accepted the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie, and RuPaul Charles, who urged viewers to exercise their right to vote as he received the Emmy for Outstanding Competition Series, the stop at Robert's studio provided a moment for calm reflection — which led, for some, to a sudden revelation.

"I heard from Jodie Comer, among others," Robert relates, "that when they are in the studio, all of a sudden it hits them — they've won the Emmy. They say, 'This is surreal,' or 'I'm in shock,' because it's the first moment since they were announced as winners that they can breathe and take in what has happened."

And so, both the artist behind the camera and the artist in front delight in the moment: as Robert quickly snaps a pensive portrait or environmental image, Emmy's glitterati settle into their newest role — before heading into the revelry of the party circuit and into the history books.

For more of Robert Ascroft's elegant portraits, pick up emmy magazine No. 10.

This article originally appeared in emmy magazine, Issue No. 10, 2019

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