There goes 2015, and despite the miserable weather I somehow managed to get some pretty decent portfolio out of it, including the shot above of this stunning family home with a view to die for. This was definitely a highlight, and happened towards the end of the year, the timing was just right as you can see from the above shot. Great conditions for shots like this are essential, on a smaller scale with less landscape you can add lighting to make up for any loss of natural sunlight, but not here.
Here's Gillian Welsh who art directs most of the Homes & Interior commissions checking the shot. It's always a good day at the office when the shot on the right is your office.
2015 once again saw me travelling throughout Scotland to some amazing locations, to meet and work with equally amazing people. I remember one drive in particular. Having worked for my good client JAM Studio Architects for a couple of days, I saw there were good conditions to pick up some remaining shots for an article I was working on for Homes & Interiors Scotland at the gorgeous location of Loch Tummel, featuring talented private chef John Ramsay. I had to leave Kemnay at 6am to get down to John on time as I only had until 12pm to pick up the remaining photographs of his garden as the weather first time up there didn't play. This was the last chance, summer was on it's knees and his amazing garden was turning. Spying an opportunity to drive via Braemar and the Spittal of Glenshee, I had no choice, I've never driven that road before, and having done so, I'll be heading back there as soon as I can. With a selection of my my favourite music on the van stereo driving those roads, it's a perfect way to start a working day. Here's a shot of John's garden, he's a lucky man, his cottage is up a narrow private dead end track over looking Loch Tummel.
Lest we forget a shot of the man himself and his sidekick Jed who was a total character.
Getting to taste the food was a real bonus, it doesn't always work out that way, but man, John can cook.
An ongoing project is the photography for the Carlowrie Castle, which is an exclusive use luxury venue, looking forward to getting this one finished, it's an amazing place.
Shooting the makers series at the start of January in 2015 was a great change from the interiors work. I was pushed quite thoroughly out of my comfort zone with these shots, and first instinct is to avoid it, at least mine is, at that point I know I have to commit, it's only when you feel this happening that you know it's something new or something you haven't done in a while. Once I got running with it I really enjoyed every shoot. Having the experience I do now with lighting, my only concerns were staging credible set ups that weren't too obvious and really captured the nature of the people and skills I was photographing. Of course getting your subjects to agree on your ideas isn't always an easy task, and there is usually some compromise, but it all came good in the end. It was an incredibly hectic start to the year but a refreshing one all the same. The aim was to shoot 2 per day, which is a tall order in the height of winter with dwindling light, also the travel between the 2 was quite often hairy as the weather for driving was challenging at times to say the least, with snow on the menu more than a couple of times. Dragging all the equipment around that I do on the left in such short time frames is a big effort on it's own, never mind getting it right on location, as well as getting into the right clothing as seen on the left. As a foot note if you're ever anywhere near the Knockraich farm where the shot on the left was taken you have to stop in, great place for food and soft furnishings.
It all just fits into my van and no more, it's not a huge van by any standards!
There were too many to mention them all, my own particular favourite was working with the weavers at Dovecot Studios, amazing to see such patience and skills being preserved, the looms and weavers were amazing, made for some great shots.
You can see the full set from the 100th edition of Homes & Interiors Scotland on my website here. There are also more recent maker shoots on the parent page here. Here's a few more shots from the shoots.
Looking for some new direction is something I felt the need for in 2015. Not that I'm looking to get away from what I'm doing for now, but in order to keep myself motivated and moving forward it's only healthy to expand the skill set and try and take what I know into some new ground. Being a one man band freelancer can make these notions difficult to implement. So much time is consumed with marketing, dealing with enquiries, winning work, photographing the work, dealing with the post-production, then all the admin that follows, that there is little time left to try and push the business. Admittedly in 2015 I did want to see more movement in new directions, and progress has been made, first up with these still life shots taken for The Macallan Whisky. The brief was to explore some of the old Macallan adverts with some of the limited bottles.
Working with Loud and Clear Hi-Fi I also produced some shots of high end stereo equipment, this is a project I'm going to be continuing throughout 2016, there's plenty more to follow on this, hopefully with some new case studies for Loud and Clear to follow soon.
There is hopefully going to be a good deal more of this in 2016, and hopefully the start of one or two personal projects, ideas are flying about, it's whether or not I can make the time to see them though, I was lucky enough to receive these great headphones recently, of courseI had to have a pop at photographing them with a view to adding them to arsenal of hi-fi shots I've already built up.
Keeping on a musical note, it was very much a year of buying vinyl and CD's again. Way too many to mention, and certainly not anywhere near what I used to buy in my record shop days, but still a move in the right direction. As a photographer who values copyright, it's hard to break old habits, but artists have to survive, and paying for streaming subscriptions as we all know just doesn't work for the people making the music. We'll curse the day the music goes away, I've a blog post here with links to some of the records I bought earlier in the year, I'll do an updated post of the most recent purchases soon, it's nowhere near what I actually wanted to collect, but I'd be bankrupt if I did. Every little counts.
2015 also saw the continued success of the Glasgow Interiors book that Helen Kendrick and I published through Birlinn in November 2014. This came in the shape of invites to present the book to audiences at various events in Glasgow, starting at the 'Aye Write 2015' Scottish book festival in the Mitchell Theatre to a room just shy of 200 people. This was entirely new territory for me, for those who do know me will know I'm really not great at public speaking. Bad dreams ensued for the week building up to it, that's how nervous I was, thankfully Helen is well experienced in this area, if I'd had to go it solo, I would have been a wreck. I just didn't think that many people would turn up, we got bumped onto the main stage due to the number of tickets sold. It's great to see so many people in Glasgow engaged with it's historical architecture. We have presented it a few times now, with another due in January, and later in March, my own personal favourite was the Doors Open Day presentation in the old linen bank on High Street. We ended up at the Glasgow Building Preservation trust Civic Reception at the end of the year to pick up an award for our presentation, so thanks to everyone who took the time to come down and listen to us and buy the book, we would never have received the award if it had been an empty room. There is talk of a volume 2, only and idea for now, but that could be something we get moving on in 2016.
On a personal level, getting married to this wonderful and beautiful human being in Shetland was the highlight, I've loads of images to sort through from what was my third visit to my wife's home, I'll have to get some of them posted soon, we had a wonderful seven days up there at the end of summer, we really lucked out with the weather as well. Visit Shetland, it's an incredible place.
The list of clients and people I've worked with is too long to mention, you'll find most of them on my website, with links where possible. So here's a few more shots from throughout 2015, thanks to everyone who has given me the opportunity to work with them, and put up with everything that follows, let's do it all again in 2016. xx