Black and White

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

Caezar

Caezar are Joe Donnelly and JJ Gilmour (former members of Scottish band The Silencers). Their debut album "Time" has just been released and I was lucky to work with them on promotional images as well as a music video for the album's second single "Love Is A Reason". The photoshoot took place on a rainy May day last year in Glasgow (huge thanks to Sarah Kesson for assistance). We wanted an urban, gritty feel to the images and Glasgow has plenty to offer in that respect.

The video was a different bag altogether. The band's brief was "black and white, weird and without us in it". I have to admit, I panicked a little - I had done 2 music videos by that point, both pretty much performance-based and I'd never written a treatment for one before. In fact, I almost said no to the project but I eventually had a moment of epiphany, got in touch with the amazing Frances Thorburn asking if she'd be interested in being involved. She said yes, as did Michelle Watson from Kitsch Me Vintage who provided custom headpieces, vintage dress and was in charge of hair and makeup on the day. Fran's spine-tingling performance is what truly makes this video and I can't thank her enough for agreeing to take part in it. We filmed most of it in my living room and in a back lane in Glasgow's Charing X area. There was some additional filming done all over the city centre from Fran's car on one very, very snowy night earlier this year. The visuals of Anton Corbijn were our reference point for both, the photography and the video. Check it all out below and if you'd like to catch the band live you're in luck Caezar are are playing Òran Mór in Glasgow on July 27th (you can get tickets here).

Caezar's debut album cover featuring a still from the video.

Caezar's debut album cover featuring a still from the video.

GEAR:
Nikon D4
Nikkor 50mm f1.4
Reflector
Video was filmed with Nikon D4 + 50mm f1.4 and a Neewer CN-216 LED Light and edited in FCPX.

Rory Hutton

I love Rory Hutton's designs - I own one of his beautiful bow ties and I'm planning on expanding that collection. There are exciting things happening for him and we've got some projects in the pipeline together. In the meantime, however, you can have a look at some of the portraits of Rory I took last summer. 

GEAR:
Nikon D4
Nikkor 50mm f1.4
Nikon SB-5000 Speedlight
PocketWizard FlexTT5 Transceiver
PocketWizard MiniTT1 Transmitter 
Beauty Dish
Reflector