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Game of Thrones photographer Helen Sloan talks about her experience working on the show



Game of Thrones is a show full of talented people, showrunners, cast, and crew alike. If you have ever seen photographs from the show which didn’t seem like they belonged to a scene you have watched, it’s highly likely that the official​ photographer of the show, Helen Sloan took it. She has been with the show right from the beginning. In a recent interview, she talked about her job, and Game of Thrones itself. Read on!

Helen Sloan was recently interviewed by Wex photographic, and she talked quite a bit about her life on the show, as the official photographer. First off, she was asked whether she knew about Game of Thrones. She replied :

“I didn’t really know anything about GoT, other than it was a very successful series of books that my brother had read! It was sold to me as “swords and horses and stuff – right up your street, really nerdy and cool at the same time.” That gave me a chuckle.

As we started filming, I made a decision to not read the books. I wanted to be current, in the moment with the scripts. I felt that if I read ahead and discovered that a character “went bad” then I wouldn’t shoot them correctly for the series we were in at that time – I felt it was important to not know too much, or too far ahead.”

Helen Sloan was then asked about what a normal day on set was for her. She explained :

“There is no “normal” on a film set. One day we are exploding ice walls, the next day we are in a brothel – especially on GoT. It’s different every day, and that’s fantastic because the excitement of seeing something new every day really helps you forget the early mornings and late nights!”

She then explained how they receive a call sheet the night before, explaining the details of the shoot. She explained a typical day on the set, step by step :

“In the morning I will pack the equipment into the car and drive to the location or the studio. There I’ll load the gear into my little specially modified cart with 12-inch all-terrain wheels for getting through Irish ditches and rivers of fake blood on battlefields! We shoot a continuous day with no break. I’ll cover scenes and also BTS (behind the scenes documentary), and maybe do some specials in my photo studio.”

This apparently is followed by post-processing, and editing. Next she talked about how it was a pain to try and get the perfect shot every time. Helen says that poor lighting conditions make for a tough setting, but there’s nothing quite like trying to capture the best of a battle sequence. She explained :

“What you cannot see in the show is the 30-strong camera, sound, stunt, ADs and SFX teams all scrambling behind the camera lens, following the action as it plays out across the set. Everyone’s trying desperately to read the crew around them, so that they can carry out their task without disrupting, distracting or falling over anyone else. It’s hard to explain this bizarre dance to anyone who hasn’t visited a film set. In the midst of it, my job is to capture this crazy circus, as well as the scene in front of us.

She said that there are often no second chances in grabbing that priceless shot in such a setting, and that the pressure is immense.

In addition to this, she also said that the nude scenes are the only ones she doesn’t attend, to grab pictures, since they’re no use for publicizing the show. Talking about who she enjoyed working with the most, she gave a very diplomatic-seeming response, but one perhaps just as true :

“Honestly – and I don’t want it to sound like a cliché – all the cast on Thrones have been amazing. We have had some incredible people come and go over the seasons. I wouldn’t even know where to start – everyone has their own style and preferences when it comes to being photographed, and that always keeps me on my toes. You have to be adaptable to each person’s individual needs and comforts.”

Last of all, she talked about her dream shot :

“My dream shoot would be to gather together the entire cast and crew of Game Of Thrones, every character living or dead in the show in costume, every crew member who’s ever worked on the show, and I’d have a giant photo of the thousands of people that came together to make this thing that is GoT. It would be impossible, but in a parallel universe, I’d love to be able to organise that somehow. Maybe I should pitch it.”

Man, wouldn’t we love to see that? What do you think about this interview? Talk to us in the comments, down below!

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Founder at Wiki of Thrones and a full-time Game of Thrones fan who does other work when he has finished reading and writing about Game of Thrones and also dreams about playing a role in the show.