Film directors Sam Mendes, Ken Loach and Sir Ridley Scott found themselves in front of instead of behind the camera in a new display for the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Artist Nina Mae Fowler invited directors, also including Paul Greengrass and Nick Park, to choose a film of particular significance to them

She recorded their reactions to the films, played during their sittings, on camera and in loose sketches before turning them into charcoal portraits.

Ridley Scott by Nina Mae Fowler
Ridley Scott’s reaction is captured watching a movie (Nina Mae Fowler, National Portrait Gallery. Photographed by Douglas Atfield)

The artist, who does not reveal the directors’ film choices, said: “The directors lost any sense of being watched or portrayed as they were too engrossed in the film.”

Spectre director Mendes said that “being watched has never been so much fun.”

Sally Potter by Nina Mae Fowler
Sally Potter looks pensive during the screening (Nina Mae Fowler, National Portrait Gallery. Photographed by Douglas Atfield)

The Bourne Ultimatum director Greengrass said: “Directors are more used to studying others, than being studied.”

Wallace And Gromit creator Park said: “I was absorbed and unaware of being observed and my every reaction, expression and nuance being noted.”

The portraits, which also feature directors Sally Potter, Joe Wright and Amma Asante,  are on display in Luminary Drawings: Portraits of Film Directors by Nina Mae Fowler until October 1.