The New Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by British Photographer Chris Jackson

I wrote the following short letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau regarding the portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, photographed by British Photographer © Chris Jackson.

Hello Prime Minister Trudeau,

I hope you and your family are doing well. I am a Canadian Fashion/Beauty & Portrait Photographer based in Paris, France.

The reason I am writing to you is the following, I am rather disappointed that the new official portrait of Queen Elizabeth II was not shot by a Canadian photographer. First of all, I have to say that it was beautifully executed by a very talented and capable British photographer. I sincerely respect his work and really appreciate what he did. However, although, I am generally non-partisan when it comes to photographing fashion, portraits and celebrities, in this instance and especially because of the import of this assignment, there are hundreds of wonderfully talented, creative and enthusiastic Canadian photographers that could have been chosen for this project. I would have thought that the criteria and priority in choosing the talent for this project would have (at least) required that the photographer be a Canadian citizen.

One of the Great 20th-century Canadian-Armenian Portrait photographers Yousuf Karsh is just one example. The photo below © Yousuf Karsh.

Below, Official Portrait of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Thanks for your understanding. I also wish to say how proud I am being a Canadian and even more so with you at the helm of the Canadian government.

Kindest Regards


Update. I received a response from the Canadian Government:

Dear Mr. Kanarek:

On behalf of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, I would like to acknowledge receipt of your correspondence.Please be assured that your comments have been carefully reviewed. In your correspondence, you raise an issue that falls within the portfolio of the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage. I have therefore taken the liberty of forwarding your email to Minister Guilbeault for information and consideration.

Thank you for taking the time to write.

J.P. VachonManager/GestionnaireExecutive Correspondence Services for the Prime Minister’s Office

Services de la correspondancede la haute directionpour le Cabinet du Premier ministre

My Response:

Dear J.P.Vachon & Steven Guilbeault, P.C., M.P.,

Thanks so much for taking the time to get back to me and for referring me to His Honourable Steven Guilbeault. As a Canadian Fashion Photographer based in Paris, I feel a sense of responsibility to act as a kind of Creative Ambassador for how one might perceive Canadians abroad. 

This subject was brought to my attention by my partner Frédérique Renaut, who is French and was quite taken aback when she read the credits of the photo of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She stated that in France that would never happen, out of respect and patriotism to France and French Culture the Minister of Culture would be involved in the choice of the photographer.

Even as a Canadian, the French have paid homage to my work, where two of my images photographed in the Musée Rodin for VOGUE China will be on permanent exhibition where applicable. 

Nonetheless, I am not blowing my horn that you consider my work for future projects, that is not the issue here. I only wish to say, that I am certain there are hundreds of very creative and capable Canadian Photographers that could have embarked on this project. As I stated, Chris Jackson who took the photo of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is a competent photographer, however, in my estimation, many Canadian artists would have been as or more capable. As you know, one of the Great Canadian photographers Yousuf Karsh who photographer the Queen is just one example that comes to mind. He passed on several years ago, but, he was Canadian as was the previous photographer who photographed the Queen.

Again, thank you for responding to my e-mail. Missing Canada a lot!

Kindest Regards,
Benjamin Kanarek

About Benjamin Kanarek
Fashion and Beauty Photographer. Some of the magazines I have shot for include: VOGUE (China, Portugal, Brazil, Italia, Paris and South America & Mexico editions), RG VOGUE Brazil, Harper’s BAZAAR (China, en Español & Latin America, Hong Kong, Italy editions), L’Officiel Paris, ELLE (Spain, Portugal and Greece editions), Madame Figaro (France), Cosmopolitan (France and Italy editions), Glamour (France), Votre Beauté, Jardin des Modes, Dépêche Mode, New York Daily News, Fashion District News, New York Times Magazine, W (British edition), WWD, Fashion Magazine (Canada), Flare (Canada), Oyster, Tank, WestEast…