Scotland is rippling with creative talent, as part of the 100th edition of Homes & Interiors Scotland I was commissioned to shoot portrait photographs of some of the people who make up this talented body. It was a tough gig in between the interior shoots I had to complete for the magazine, the deadlines were tight, and I was in a position where I had to shoot three people a day at one point. Given more time I would have approached some of the shots differently and spent more time lighting them a bit more carefully, but I had to work with the time I had. Of this is a two way street, thankfully everyone I shot was game and brought something to the party, it was a great exercise for me, pushing me out of my comfort zone slightly and working under way more pressure than usual. A lot of these shots weren't published, I've posted the ones I liked along side.
First up we have Andy Scott who was incredibly accommodating, and a an all round great guy to have met, I had two visits to Andy's studio to pick up the shots required although only one was published. It was fascinating to hear him talk about his incredible work, and insightful to see his process, no big secrets of course, just an unbelievable amount of hard work and graft. Another Scottish treasure.
Next up we have the artist Jesphson Robb, in his super minimal studio where he drums up his ideas for public art installations and furniture design, a very focussed individual, we had some good chat about his concepts and how he works.
Shooting Stephan Spicknell who owns the Cottonrake was probably the most mental one out the lot. 9am in the morning at a popular west end bakery is not great time to get a shot of an owner who has just returned to work after having a second child, he did well, probably better than me. The kitchen was tiny, there were two other bakers knocking their pan in the same space, while I had location flashes set up to try and bring some usable light into the images. Despite the utter chaos we got there, the lenses were steaming up after every couple of shots, it was a real test but Stefan was great. Fastest I've had to move in quite some time, and the food........ oh you have to go and try some of the food, it's outstanding.
Designworks in Glasgow, the home of incredible home made tablet, as well as one of the leading interior design practices in Scotland. I've worked with Designworks on a couple of their big projects including the stunning Bristol Mews down in London. Above the showroom is where a lot of the work gets done, including the architecture and the sewing. Work spaces are always such a rich environment to shoot, and this was no exception, we had a great laugh with Catriona and Linda, the work they do is incredible and no doubt very demanding.
Gemma Bain runs Planet Flowers through in Edinburgh, the size of her operation took me by surprise when I got there, some serious warehouse space which I would have loved to take some shots in, sadly they were in between orders, and it wasn't quite full, it would be good to go back and see what it looks like in full swing, the work her and her team do at weddings is incredible, you can see more on her website.
I've always wanted to get a look inside Callendar House. This 14th Century French Renaissance style mansion sits in the heart of Callendar Park in Falkirk, and Gillian Smith curates the exhibitions in the park gallery in the house itself. I had less than an hour to get some lights set up and photograph Gillian in the gallery space, it didn't help that I wanted to take in the exhibition of botanical paintings either, as it featured some of the very talented Victoria Braithwaite's paintings.
Angus Ross does some fascinating things with wood, he has a unique way of bending it using steam which leads to some really interesting design. I photographed Angus a while ago now for a different article, but these shots were just right for this Makers article, I had a great day in the workshop with Angus and his team, good to see him nurturing young talent and keeping the skills alive, if you're ever in Aberfeldy you should drop into his showroom.
Claudio Sapienza owns and runs his successful deli Maialino on William Street in Edinburgh. Hailing from Florence, and landing in Edinburgh via a brief spell in Cork Claudio brings the authentic taste of Italy to Scotland, I was lucky enough to sample some of the wares while I was shooting his portraits, the Finocchiona (fennel salami) is his own personal favourite from home, and I can't argue it was supremely tasty.
What a riot we had shooting Guy Grieve on his Shetland built fishing boat, hand diving scallops off the coast of Mull. Not a game for the faint hearted, especially in winter, Guy tells us how easy it is to die diving in the sea if you don't play exactly by the rules. He has been running the Ethical Shellfish Company since 2008 and has a team of divers dedicated to the sea and looking after it's bounty, they know how to take only what is required and leave enough for the sea to flourish, a stark contrast to other fishing methods. I'd never been on a boat this small before, neither had editor and art director Gillian Welsh, luckily I've never had a problem with motion sickness, I actually quite enjoy being on boats, we piled the lights on with all my other gear and went for it. The freshly caught pan fried scallops we had on the boat were the best I've tasted, we got some great shots along the way, Guy and his team were great to work with, and what better a back drop than the immense beauty of Mull.
Nestled in behind the Campsie hills near Fintry the Knockraich Farm has not only a soft furnishings showroom but an award winining artisan dairy producing crème fraiche, crowdie and yoghurt which they supply to some of the top Michelin star chefs in Scotland. This was another shoot where I was informed I had five minutes to get into the appropriate clothing to enter the dairy, get lights set up and get shooting as the cultured milk was ready to get poured, a very time sensitive operation. I'm surprised I got any shots at all, the lens was steaming up every second shot, and Katy couldn't wait, she had to plough on with the job at hand otherwise the batch would have been ruined. Thankfully we managed to get some great environmental portraits.
Sandra Colamartino is the creative director at the Quirky Gift Library, where they design bespoke design-led gifts for people looking for something a bit different. Quite an operation, way bigger than I thought it was going to be, it was good to finally meet Sandra, she used to be the editor at Homes & Interiors Scotland, we had spoken many years before. Visit the website for a gift with a personal touch.
Graeme Crawford knows his coffee, fair to say he's probably obsessed, which is good news for people who like great coffee. In the small space of time I spent photographing Graeme in his west end cafe Papercup, I drank way too many, I was completely ripped, and also taken with just how good it was. They roast their sustainably sourced beans on site in the shop, all the food is ethically sourced as well, and the locals know it, I could barely move for customers, a great place to stop and have lunch if you're in the west end of Glasgow.
Illustrator Hannah Nixon is in her final year at the prestigious Glasgow School of Art, she provided Homes & Interiors Scotland with the cover for their 100th edition, a first time for having an illustration on the cover.
Naomi Robertson is a master weaver who forms part of the incredibly talented team that work in the Dovecot Studios. I was blown away by the size of the studio, the patience and vision to pursue this great art form is incredible, it's great and more crucially important to keep these skills alive and pass them on. The looms themselves are a work of art, there were so many options for composing good photographs. It was a big space to light up, I'm glad I made the effort, the vibrancy of the colours really came good, I wanted everything in these environmental portraits to be sharp.
Based in Arnprior near Stirling, Steven Burgess Furniture is home to exclusively bespoke and finely crafted furniture. Steven has been off the tools for quite some time now but still oversees the whole process from design to completed pieces. He has built the company up from the ground with his own hands and initially no staff. The finish has to be seen to appreciate the quality. These shots reflected Steve's role as director of the business he has created, from the workshop to the showroom, which was in the process of being heavily extended when I was there in January.