Keep The Flame Alight

One of my favourite projects of 2018 was working on Martha L. Healy’s sophomore album “Keep The Flame Alight”. The publicity images and the album cover, as well as the music video for album’s lead single “No Place Like Home”, were all shot in the Scottish countryside (Stirlingshire to be precise). I also designed the album packaging. If you’d like to catch Martha live, she will be opening for Jill Jackson in a couple of weeks at this year’s Celtic Connections (tickets here). I’ll be there and so should you cause both of these ladies rock. In the meantime, check out the video and some of the photos we took for this project:

Behind the scenes

Behind the scenes

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Video filmed with Sony A7III + Sony 35mm f1.8
Metabones Nikon G to Sony NEX E-mount Converter
Nikkor 85mm f1.4
Nikkor 50mm f1.4
Zhiyun Crane 2 Gimbal
Edited in FCPX

GEAR:
Nikon D4
Nikkor 85mm f1.4
Nikkor 50mm f1.4
Neewer 120cm Octabox
PocketWizard FlexTT5 Transceiver
PocketWizard MiniTT1 Transmitter 

2018 Round Up

Well hello 2019. I’ve read enough short essays from various people on social media summarising their ‘18 so I’m going to spare you (and myself) another one. Instead, here are some of my favourite images I took in the past 12 months:

And, as always, here’s a round up of my favourite music from 2018:

ALBUMS OF 2018

Dirty Computer Janelle Monáe
Caution Mariah Carey
Isolation Kali Uchis
Honey Robyn
Golden Hour Kacey Musgraves
I Used To Know Her H.E.R.
Murmurations Simian Mobile Disco
Bloom Troye Sivan
Ella Mai Ella Mai

SONGS OF 2018

Butterflies Kacey Musgraves
Love That Makes You A Cup Of Tea
Gretchen Peters
Make Me Feel Janelle Monáe
GTFO Mariah Carey
Missing You Robyn
Bloom Troye Sivan
Like Sugar Chaka Khan
After The Storm Kali Uchis
Tongue MNEK
Boys Lizzo

Feral Ground

I met Thomas Petersen, the Danish visual artist better known as Grundvold, a few years ago and we talked about doing a photography project ever since. We finally managed to get together this autumn and headed to Pollok Park to take some pictures. Shot on analog and digital, we called it “Feral Ground” and intended for it to be a commentary of sorts on toxic masculinity, the masculine/feminine, strong/vulnerable in all of us. Results below:

GEAR

Nikon D4
Nikkor 85mm f1.4
Profoto A1
Canon AE-1 Programme + 50mm f1.8
Kodak 400TX

Analog Photography

Digital photography didn't exist when my interest in taking pictures begun. I was 16 when my parents got me a second hand Zenit 11 and in order to get my head around it, I enrolled in photography workshops where l learned the basics of an SLR as well as how to develop negatives and prints. My first digital camera was a Nikon D40 which I got on sale in 2009, and I've been shooting digital ever since. I love it, I enjoy its flexibility, the control it gives over your files and the retouching process and how much faster your overall workflow can be thanks to modern technology.

Having said that, I've been missing shooting analog for some time. I feel like I second guessed myself less when I shot film and was more confident in my abilities. Admittedly, I was a teenager then and that might've simply been the arrogance/ignorance of youth rather than confidence, but I felt drawn back to the days of shooting analog nevertheless. You can get really snap-happy with digital just because you can, rather than because you need each frame, so I wanted to remind myself of the discipline of shooting film where each shutter pressing matters, and where you don’t have the digital LCD screen on the back of your camera to double check the exposure. And so a couple of years ago I got a Canon AE-1 (with a 50mm f1.8 lens) on eBay and started shooting analog again. Not for commissioned stuff, cause that would be a commercial suicide, but for personal projects, behind the scenes shots, friends and such. I've tried different films and fell back in love with Kodak (duh!) which is what I used to shoot all my black & white stuff on back in the 90s.

I don’t develop my own film or prints these days as I don’t have the time and, to be perfectly honest, don’t think I’d have the patience anymore. I’ve been using DS Colour Labs for that and they’ve been great. All in all, it’s been an educational and interesting return to basics for me, if frustrating at times. I’ve realised I shoot differently on analog, I even tend to frame images in a different way than on digital. Conversely, I’m definitely not as trigger-happy when working with a digital camera now. I’ve actually got a couple of bigger 100% analog projects lined up at the moment and I’m dying to get a Rolleiflex and try shooting medium format but for the time being here are a few images taken on film over the past couple of years:

Noise - Love Speaks Opera

Noise is a Scottish opera company whose aim is to broaden the audience for contemporary opera in Scotland. I’ve worked with them previously on their “Hirda” project, an opera written in Shetlandic dialect, and was delighted to be back photographing and filming their most recent production, “Love Speaks”. “Love Speaks” is a short opera written by Kevan O’Reilly and Jenny Knotts about love and relationships, celebrating the availability of prEP on NHS Scotland. The short piece was directed by James Robert Carson and featured stellar performances from Marie Claire Breen, Douglas Nairne, Kenny Reid and Shuna Scott Sendall. You can see the short film I made for this below as well some images from live performances and rehearsals.

GEAR:
Nikon D4
Nikkor 85mm f1.4
Nikkor 50mm f1.4

Video filmed with Sony A7III + Sony 35mm f1.8
Metabones Nikon G to Sony NEX E-mount Converter
Nikkor 85mm f1.4
Nikkor 50mm f1.4
Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8
Zhiyun Crane 2 Gimbal
Edited in FCPX