One of my Gaelic teachers, Joy Dunlop, is an established singer and step-dancer (and TV presenter and and and…)., She and some friends – Edel Ní Churraoin (Ireland), Clíodhna Begley (Ireland), Suzanne Houstan (Scotland) and Catherine Nì Shuilleabhàin (Ireland) – recently formed a band called Las, with a focus on Scots and Irish Gaelic music. I went with a friend to see them in Glasgow in August, and although illness prevented all five from being there, the four remaining band members gave a fantastic performance. Coming from the two musical traditions – different but related – they worked incredibly well together, and the evening was a utter delight. I know almost nothing about step-dancing, but the differences there were also interesting – the more emphatic (it seemed to me) Irish steps contrasting with the Scottish steps.
Joy welcomed photos being taken, so here are some from the evening. If you get the chance to see them in Scotland or Ireland, do go! And maybe there is hope of there being a recording one day, who knows?!
Having recently bought a large format pinhole camera, the Ilford Obscura, I thought I’d put it to sensible use last weekend. Some more conventional landscape-type pinhole images will appear here shortly, but it seemed to me that a pinhole camera was ideal for a sports-action shoot… such as the Balfron 10k Run that took place in my village last weekend, with the start occurring at the high school along the road. After all, surely the point of sports photography is to convey action, and what conveys action better than a bit of blur? So an 8 second pinhole exposure on 4×5 sheet film at the start of a race seemed like a sensible option…
Balfron 10k run, Ilford Obscura, Ilford Delta 100 film
The Ilford Obscura (photographed using my mobile)
So maybe 8 seconds was a little bit too long – the runners are barely visible!
There was some bemusement about my camera, I must say: a grey rectangular box on a tripod, and me just guessing the exposure…
My last posting included some images of Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham, concluding with a note that I was going to Karine Polwart’s CD launch on 17.8.2012. I made some images there too, and realise that I have several photographs from various concerts over the years that I could put online that might be of interest to others, and future concerts might also result in further photographs. So I’ve started a concerts page…
Here is one of the Karine Polwart images, with more on the concerts page. It was a great occasion, and I look forward to her autumn concert in Edinburgh. And do buy her album! 🙂
On Friday evening we went with some guests from Germany to see Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham in concert in Edinburgh – just amazing. We had seen them in concert before and they are always worth going back to.
We were just a few rows back, and I found my Nikon 105mm f2 DC lens at f2 on the D90 just perfect for catching these portraits of the two gentlemen in action.
They were playing a number of pieces from their new album, Five and Twenty, which is rather wonderful (yes, of course I bought it!).
I came home yesterday to find a copy of a booklet celebrating 50 years of Edinburgh University’s Centre for African Studies, and it included my portrait of Sengalese musician Soriba Kanout, performing in Edinburgh in autumn 2011:
He was performing at the end of the 2011 Africa-in-Motion film festival (one day I’ll get around to putting some of those images on this website; I’m way behind with everything on the site just now).
I’d been asked about this photograph quite some time ago, and had almost forgotten that we’d come to an agreement about usage for this publication. It’s nice to see another of my images in print… 🙂
I have begun to rework some of my image galleries, which I thought were becoming somewhat stale and not very helpfully organised. In addition, I began to feel that just ‘dumping’ a series of images in a gallery was no longer what I wanted to do. Photographs should both tell a story, but there is also a story behind most photographs. So my galleries are now organised by type: land (land- and cityscapes), models, events. Within these broad categories the galleries will hopefully offer more of a sense of the story behind the photographs, as well as – in part – perhaps suggesting ways in which the photographs might be interpreted. Of course, this latter approach is broadly about how I understand my own work, and that isn’t necessarily how others see it! 🙂
In the first instance, I’ve done some work on the models galleries. There are several reasons for this:
there are a limited number of galleries making this a task that was more easily manageable!
for a while now I have felt I wanted to pay homage to Stephanie, who has been a profound influence on my portraiture. In the introductory narrative to the models section, I describe her role to me as a photographic muse (and I’m already thinking of the beginning of a new series of photographs that I’d like to start with her when she is next in Scotland, whenever that’s going to be). I have therefore written what are almost little photographic essays about our first two portrait sessions that might be of interest (do start with the Edinburgh narrative and then move on to the London collection!).
although I was very aware that I would have to put a lot of work into these particular narratives, I don’t expect many of the other galleries to involve quite so much work. This means I am better able to gauge the task, but also see how a detailed textual accompaniment would work.
My next task will be a little tidying up and adding to for the events section, and then I’ll begin to work on the landscapes – this looks as if it will be the most work because there are more galleries and images, but as noted above, I don’t see myself writing quite as much as I did for the two long Stephanie essays. I’ll be splitting the land galleries up into countries or regions, and will also include some of my photographs from the Middle East.
Of course, this is a bit of an ongoing project for the moment, and so I would be very interested in any comments – good, bad, indifferent – about what I am trying to do here. Please either use the comments sections below, or write to me directly using the contact page – thank you!
My most beautiful model – see the Galleries, Models page for more information
One of the problems with being off work with an arm injury (and therefore being unable to use the computer properly) is that editing photographs is also a problem: many of the mouse movements are difficult, and repetitive actions strained my arm and hand in ways that prevented me from doing anything very much with any of my images. And using my Wacom tablet was out of the question – and still is.
Now, I have far too many photographs in my optimistically-named ‘temp’ folder in Lightroom 3, just waiting for me to sort and edit them (oh, and go through the mindless but necessary tedium of adding keywords). For almost all of the photographs in that limbo state, this delay is not a problem – they are just my private photographs. But shortly before the accident I had volunteered to take photographs at an event at my son’s school: the older pupils were running a fashion show to help raise some funds, and these photographs needed to be processed urgently. And… I must be getting better since not only am I beginning to use my cameras again, I have also managed to finish the edits on the fashion show, editing photographs in batches.
This was an enjoyable evening, and the pupils’ enthusiasm was infectious – not much sullen strutting up the catwalk in evidence here! Even dubious fashion items (a leather kilt, anyone?) were worn with pride, and many of the young women clearly felt like princesses in their prom dresses and the like. (Must remember not to mention the forthcoming examinations to them…)