Sporadic ramblings from an itinerant photographer

13/02/2015

Perch Creek band shoot

Perch Creek band shoot

Perch Creek band shoot

Perch Creek Jug Band

Last Summer I did a shoot for Perch Creek a visiting band from down under who were performing at La Clique in the Spiegeltent during last summer’s Edinburgh Festival. Made up of brothers and sisters from the same family and James who goes out with Camila they made up a lovely bunch of guys and we have a brilliant morning.  They wanted to do the shoot with a white background but had this idea of being angular. I wanted to get away from the white background being so prevalent so suggested that we took all the kit to an outside location. We needed to have something that was not too far from the car as there was quite a lot of kit and instruments and some flooring to put the band on. We opted for my back garden which actually was perfect and made life much easier.  With Jack the Dog.

Hair and Makeup by Jo from Glam Candy.

Assistant: Jonny Reynolds.

EMPOWERMENT – Social change through building

Empowerment is Orkidstudio’s exhibition at the Lighthouse in Glasgow.  Orkid commissioned me to take a series of portraits during their build of a new school for the Swawou School Foundation in Kenema, Sierra Leone.  I photographed and interviewed a whole cross section of people who were affected by the build, from pupils at the school, workers on site and architecture student volunteers  there to help with the build and exchange skills with the local tradesmen.  Some of the resulting portraits and also my documentation of the build form part of Orkid’s new exhibition “Empowerment – Social change through building” at the Lighthouse in Glasgow along side many of Orkidstudios other projects.

I took 47 portraits in total, all of them can be viewed at the front of my website with the invaluable help from Musa Konneh, one of the kindest gentlemen you could find.

4 days after we left the 4 bodies of people who had sadly died of Ebola, where bought in to Kenema hospital and the pandemic exploded.  It closed all the schools in the country and halted the build for the school, which is now looking slightly overgrown, but Orkid will get back there and finish the job off.  My thoughts are with all these people who are suffering great hardship under the threat of Ebola.

Swawou School provide free quality education in a child-friendly learning environment to disadvantaged girls from the Swawou community of Kenema town, eastern Sierra Leone.

Orkidstudio is dedicated to exploring and developing the connection between architecture and humanitarian aid.

Musa Jaward

Belong. National Theatre of Scotland 2015 season launch

I was commissioned by the National Theatre of Scotland to create a series of portraits of communities throughout Scotland to help illustrate their 2015 season.  They realised that each of their plays next year hinges on an idea of community apart from one, Muriel Sparks The Drivers Seat which has a distinct lack of one.  Each portrait represents the community portrayed in the play.

BELONG is a unique photographic essay created to accompany the announcement of the National Theatre of Scotland’s January to June 2015 Season. Working with the distinguished photographer Peter Dibdin, we met members of some of Scotland’s diverse communities. In seeking out the community members, we looked for synergies with the productions in our 2015 Season. While they were being photographed, we asked the subjects of the portraits to tell us a little about what it’s like to be part of a community.

“Tribes, families, clans and gangs have their joys and their challenges; we’ve taken that as our touchstone for our 2015 season of work,” says Artistic Director, Laurie Sansom. “In this diverse season we meet families ferociously fighting for survival, witness national loyalties challenged, confront cultural  customs and observe a woman with no ties, recreating herself before our eyes. These are stories of communities under pressure from within, friends and family rallying round, and people making incredible journeys to escape and invent new identities. This year we hope you will join us to explore what it means to feel part of gang, or out there on your own…”

Assistant credits: Cat Thomson and Alice Myers.

Yer Granny

Yer Granny

Scottish Ensemble new season Photography

Earlier in the year I worked on the photography for the Scottish Ensemble’s new season with O Street.  I was given a brief to create some images that would have a fashion edge to the portraits, I really enjoyed trying to get the performers to give me some attitude and get them to posture for the lens.  I had to stitch two coloramas together to get a cove big enough to shoot groups in.  A great company to work with in the studio and then after they let me on stage during a rehearsal at the Queen’s Hall with Chris, my assistant following me round with a flash on a stick to get the latter images.  The resulting images in the brochure look fantastic, lovely design by Andy at O Street.

Make up: Charlotte Condliffe

Assistant: Chris Gillies

Jonathan Morton Artistic Director and Leader of the Scottish Ensemble

Jonathan Morton Artistic Director and Leader of the Scottish Ensemble

08/10/2014

GREEN2014 exhibition at the Lighthouse Glasgow

Its the last chance to see GREEN2014 The Environmental Legacy of the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow at the Lighthouse in Glasgow on until the 24th of October.  I shot a series of portraits of people who use on an everyday basis 5 of the venues that where used for the Commonwealth Games.  I worked with sound artist Mark Vernon who interviewed each of the sitters and created amazing audio interviews.  Mark and I spent a fascinating month exploring the Sir Chis Hoy Velodrome, Kelvingrove Bowls Centre, Toll Cross Swimming Pool, Cathkin Braes Mountain Bike Trail and the SECC Hydro.  The Exhibition is designed by Stuco with Ostreet.

 

Chris Lowther, trainee swimming athlete at the Toll Cross Swimming pool, Glasgow. Shot for the GREEN CITY Exhibition at the Lighthouse, Glasgow.

Chris Lowther, trainee swimming athlete at the Toll Cross Swimming pool, Glasgow. Shot for the GREEN CITY Exhibition at the Lighthouse, Glasgow.

29/09/2014

Kenema Hospital, Sierra Leone

As the Ebola crises continues to encroach upon West Africa I constantly think about the couple of mornings I spent at Kenema’s general Hospital having my shoulder seen to. I was treated with such grace. These nurses are the people that are on the frontline for Ebola plague. I took these portraits of the people in the physiotherapy unit. I wish I had taken pictures of the equipment they had to use, it was made from bicycles but worked with all the apparent ease of all modern equipment.

Any way if you have some spare money please donate to MSF or some one else who is helping on the frontline to combat this horrific disease.

I was treated with much kindness at Kenema Hospital by these nurses and consultant, please donate to MSF or someone else who is combating the Ebola crises

I was treated with much kindness at Kenema Hospital by these nurses and consultant, please donate to MSF or someone else who is combating the Ebola crises

Sierra Leone portraits part 1

Recently I traveled to Sierra Leone with my wife Becky and daughter Suki to photograph for two charities in the third largest city, Kenema. The first was Swawou School Foundation who provide free quality education in a child friendly learning environment to disadvantaged girls from the Swawou community of Kenema town, eastern Sierra Leone.  The second Orkidstudio is dedicated to exploring and developing the connection between architecture and humanitarian aid. Their projects seek to help young people and communities worldwide, inspiring a sense of pride and ambition, through innovative and sustainable design. They work on a voluntary basis taking groups of architecture students to work along side locally based tradesmen. This makes for an amazing catalyst for a cross cultural exchange of ideas and building techniques.

Orkid Studio are currently building a new school for Swawou, with a solid roof and brick walls on a beautiful, peaceful site which will be a huge change from the temporary structure, next to a busy market, built from sticks and woven palm leaves that the school is currently housed in.

I did not ask anyone to pose for these images letting them stand at will and lit them with a couple of speed lights and home made light shapers created on location.

Swawou School student Hawa Soyoh

Hawa Soyoh one of the Swawou School students infront of her home.

01/07/2014
26/06/2014

Wyckham Porteous

I Photographed Wyckham Porteous earlier this week.  Wyckham is over here in Edinburgh creating a musical interpretation of George Orwell’s Animal Farm.  We shot some publicity photographs for him here in Summerhall at the small animal hospital.  Here is the information about the production in his own words:

Songs of Orwell Farm
         (an homage)
Written in the shadows of the Royal Dick, this adaptation of Animal Farm is opera in idea and a bit rock n roll in execution.
Real it’s about tyranny, the kind that shows itself in everyday living.
The promise that is broken and the deals that get struck by those that can.
We are all beasts in nature and each of us serves a master.
Wyckham Porteous shot by Peter Dibdin Photographer.
27/04/2014

Dear Scotland. The National Theatre of Scotland at the Portrait Gallery

I have just photographed the National Theatre of Scotland’s new production Dear Scotland which is here in Edinburgh at the National Portrait Gallery.  20 writers have given voice to 20 portraits exploring their possible thoughts on the forthcoming referendum and Scottish independance.  Each monologue is delivered by some of our finest actors.  For me what works so well is not only the rare chance to have a very intimate performance with the actors, but also how they bring each portrait to life.  It is also a treat to see the Portrait Gallery after hours.

I can only recommend if you have the time and there are tickets left you should go.

Anneika Rose in the "Out of the Shadows Gallery"

Anneika Rose in the “Out of the Shadows Gallery”