Wednesday, 30 March 2011

New website up and running

Thanks to great work by a very good friend Sheila my website has been transformed. She has used Joomla and is going to give me a short training course so that I can update it myself.  Lets see how we go!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Sometimes handsome happens at home

Our weimaraner Dan looking more than a little sorry for himself today. That makes two of us.

 It was a short shoot believe it or not as he got all self conscience and left embarrassed.  He's a flippin dog for goodness sake! Still got his payment in treats and hugs.  The Clark Gable of the dog world and a dude.

Just wondering if vulnerable dog requires an Informed consent form to be signed?  Trouble is he's got paws like boxing gloves and so his print might not fit on the LCC form.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Lets Dance class - Bob

I've been privileged to work with adults here in Perth who have learning difficulties in a dance class setting.
The images are not for general release but Perth and Kinross council who commissioned the work had 15 A1 images printed on foam board for display tonight and are putting together a booklet containing further images.

Bob shown above with dancer Ruth very kindly agreed for me to use the photographs I'd taken of him.  I felt suddenly very emotional as I got back to the car. In this photograph Bob is holding his head still while looking directly into the camera and the determination, effort and intelligence can be seen in his eyes.  I can't recall anyone having such an effect on me in such a short time.  The whole shoot lasted just fifteen minutes.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

It's World Downs Syndrome Day on March 21st

Spent this afternoon in Edinburgh at the invitation of Downs Syndrome Scotland.  With just two days to Worlds Downs Syndrome Day go I hope you'll take a few minutes to look at this video produced by Downs Syndrome International. Thanks

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Exhibition at Trellis UK conference

It was like meeting old friends again today as I showed a number of last years images 'The Most Important people in the World:Honesty' at the conference.  They are printed poster sized on aluminium composite and looked swell on easels. It wouldn't have been practical to hang them for a day.  Please see Bill below followed by an extended caption.

There are a few times in anyones life when something happens that is so poignant that it moves us to the core.  Bill did that to me.
As he stood in front of me he raised a clenched fist to his chest. It takes a special kind of hat I thought he said. ‘Hat Bill?’ I queried.  He shook his head very emphatically from left to right in silence and concentrated very hard before saying ‘heart’.  
It takes a special kind of heart.
He would often ask me if I was ok and on at least two occasions, when he saw me having a tea in the cafe, would put his hand in his pocket and produce some small change.  He would ask again ‘Are you ok?’ as if to offer to help me out by paying for my drink.  Ask yourself when you last experienced an act of kindness?
Now and again he would hold out the flat of his hand with a celtic cross lying in it and then tap his nose as if to say ‘now you know’ before hiding it from view like an NYPD cap badge.
Bill stands for all that is special about the fellas who work in the Walled Garden.  Life hasn’t been that kind to him and yet he still wants to take care of others.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Pinkie and John portrait shoot

Crackin couple who live in the same village and who make some amazing stained glass and then the rest of the time make techno music and gig abroad (yes really).  They were a little intimidating in the beginning but turned out to be quite shy when it came to the shoot.  One hour later and engaged in chat and things got easier.  They have a new album coming out in August and I'm going to do the publicity shots.  Woke up at 3am this morning with what I think is a great concept for that shoot - we'll find out in the next couple of days if they agree :-) They gave me a copy of their yet to be published album!

For more on portrait assignment see

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Portrait assignment

Lesley, Eves mum talks about looking into the eyes of her child for the first time.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

CCP Melbourne

Like many organisations CCP have felt the need to offer up a grand title as a way of drawing visitors.  Fair enough really and they had a number of exhibitions going on despite having only three rooms.  One of the projects I particularly liked was by Lyndal Walker and was entitled La Toilette d'une Femme which featured images of women dressing up in their home situations.  One other visitor to the gallery summed it up as she walked passed me and said out loud "I really like these' and I had to agree and we both smiled.

Another project by David Griggs featured tatoo'd ex prisoners in Manila.  I wasn't so sure about what he was trying to achieve as at first the subjects were facing the wall as if being frisked and then they had hoodies covering their heads so they couldn't be identified and then when I thought there was a theme of anonymity emerging we had some portraits showing the subjects plain as day looking into the camera. All were exposing some amazing tatoos on their bodies.  He was in Manila for two months and there were twelve images.  I was wondering where you would you start to reduce such a project to twelve and while I was kind of neutral on the work maybe he had spoiled it for me by making the wrong choices.  Some of the images were striking, one in particular, and all that achieved for me was a distortion.  Maybe that image ,as good as it was, should have been left out.

My thoughts as I walked away from the gallery were again on how important access is and how then we must make the most of the precious situations we get ourselves into.  Thats not to ignore our obligations to our subjects who have allowed into their private space.

Lyndal Walker achieved that in spades and worth the visit alone

David Griggs sorry its a miss

Friday, 4 March 2011

Photo opportunity

One of the 'service users' at the Walled Garden here in Perth has as a result of my project there last year invited me to take her wedding photographs in August and I'll meet with her to discuss it when I return.  I'm really pleased to have been approached and appreciative of the opportunity this presents to extend that work.  I'll want to spend all day with her and document a day in her life - Noelle doesn't know that yet!

Melbourne Saturday morning

Been here the lions share of a week now - few hours in the office this morning and then some free time this afternoon at last.  Found out last night there is a centre for contemporary photography in Melbourne and I'll be there - looking forward to seeing whats on show and to raiding the bookshop - we don't have one in Scotland any more.... :(

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Anthropology - understanding and benefits

Here I am on the other side of the world literally with my day job.  Long flights mean reading time and thats a plus (one of few) and I'm working my way through 'An introduction to social anthropology'.  The author talks about presenting the results of an anthropological study to the informants/collaborators and somehow distancing those who contributed to the work by using terminology only familiar to those trained in anthropology.  The people who gave so much to all understanding are alienated from the final output because they do not understand the words and concepts used.

How might that apply in photography? Should we present our work in a familiar way so that those who were photographed recognise it, appreciate it and thank us for it?

I'm still convinced that at least some understanding of Anthropology will have a positive effect on the way I approach projects and the quality of the output.

(The image below was taken near Hanoi three years ago and shows children catching butterflies.)