Brains, Alzheimer’s, inflammation, then two days later diabetes, sugar levels, heart disease and fitness. Jeez, thankfully not my visit to the Doctor here in the West of Scotland, but the studies and practices of two Professors I shot portraits of very recently for two different editorial clients.
Amusingly the two unrelated photography jobs took place in side by side buildings at the University of Glasgow (if only I’d known that while trying to park the car), and both required of me to shoot environmental portraits of two learned Professors. Even turns out they knew each other and one had been in the other’s class.
University buildings can sometimes be a little haphazard and lived in, especially science labs, and Professor’s offices are rarely the most inspiring of places, either too small, too cramped, too busy with books, too dark, or just too messy.
Thankfully these two assignments were in one of the modern buildings at the University and after a quick walk around with the gents I had to photograph, we settled on a few locations and shot a variety of images. Into the science lab, a few portraits, then into a conference room, looking at stopping off in hall ways to utilise bright blue walls and nice windows light, and with Professor Sattar we nipped outside to see his bike, as part of his story was about making sure to get enough exercise and keep your heart strong.
I post a few frames here from the shoots, sadly no good tear sheets to go with these this time. One client used the images on their website, another in a magazine, but neither were particularly inspiring uses sadly. A shame as both gents had been very kind and generous with their time and doing what was required to keep the photographer happy and to fulfil the brief. But examples none the less of environmental portraits shot to satisfy a brief, and with minimal disruption to the busy working life of the sitter – another consideration I always feel, and that’s where professionalism of the photographer comes in, the ability to get in, get the required portraits and images, and not leave the sitter fuming at the amount of time it took and leaving them with a bad feeling for your editorial or corporate client.
On the morning of Thursday 14th Colin and I will present photography work by Document Scotland and other photographers who we have showcased on our website, and in the afternoon we will participate in workshops and be available for one-on-one photography portfolio sessions with local artists and photographers.
Future Postive Studio – a multidisciplinary creative and digital studio that specialises in content, strategy and social outreach. Co-founders Jakub Michalski and Igor Termenon will expolore the potential of digital technology and offer one-to-one or workshop opportunities to discuss any questions you many have about how to use digital to its best advantage
Highland Print Studio – an open access workshop with facilities for printmaking (intaglio, relief, sceenprinting and stone lithography) and digital imaging. Studio Manager John McNaught will discuss the facilites and the work of the HPS and run one-to-one portfolio reviews for aspiring and well-established printmakers
Hot Tap Media – is a digital production company. Its director, Rebecca Thompson, will give an insight into the potential of crowdfunding as a means to fund creative projects. She will also offer more personal advice during one-to-ones or small group workshops
The Poundshop – an art project with the goal of spreading design to a wider audience and creating a platform for designers to sell items in pop-up shops. Sara Melin will give a presentation and run also run a creative workshop
Talent Development Initiative – there will be presentations from three successful applicants of the 2014 Talent Development Initiative: Suzy Lee, Heather McDermott and Emma Noble giving them the opportunity to showcase how their work has developed thanks to the support of this programme
Wasps Studios – a charity that provides affordable studios to support artists and arts organisations across Scotland. Michelle Emery-Barker will reveal their plans to develop a studio with accommodation in Skye
There will also be an evening meal on Thursday 14 May at the Isle of Skye Baking Company featuring a performance from Leighton Jones (included in the cost of your ticket)
We look forward to hopefully seeing you there! Join us!
Earlier this week I represented Document Scotland on a panel discussion held in Edinburgh on the topic of ‘Photography in Scotland’. Organised and hosted by Ratio 7:1 photography collective, a new collective of students of photography from Napier University, and held to coincide with their ‘Dismantle’ exhibition which is currently showing, the evening was deemed to be a huge success by all who took part and those attending as audience. Speakers on the discussion panel, ably chaired by Ratio 7:1’s John Dougan, were Malcolm Dickson of Street Level Photoworks, photographers David Eustace, Ron O’Donnell, & myself, and Dr. Roberta McGrath of Napier University, Edinburgh. Lively debates emerged between audience and panel, stimulated by questions from the audience on subjects such as gender bias in photography, the history of Scottish photography, the future of photography in Scotland, and what is success and how do you achieve it? As ever there were no definitive answers, but lots of opinions offered giving much fuel for thought and further discussion.
Document Scotland would like to congratulate John Dougan and his Ratio 7:1 colleagues on their ‘Dismantle’ photography show, and for organising and hosting such a successful panel discussion event. To find out a little more about Ratio 7:1, why they hosted the discussion evening, etc, we asked John to tell us a bit of their plans. The below comes from John and shows a few images of the evening.
“Ratio 7:1 is a collective made up of seven year three students on the BA Photography programme at Edinburgh Napier University. John Dougan, Lysann Ehmann, Erin Semple, Susan McFadzean, Adam Kinship, Denitsa Toshirova and Anete Atvare came together to form Ratio 7:1 as part of a course module that required students to form a group and hold an exhibition of their work. The outcome of this was Dismantle, an exhibition held at Gayfield Creative Spaces in Edinburgh between 20th-26th March 2015.
Since the start of the process, we aimed to put on an event that would be well received and memorable to the people who heard of us and passed through the doors, this is how Question Time came about. We wanted to put on a panel discussion set up by students for people who, like ourselves, were interested in gaining insight into what the landscape of Scottish photography is like and what it takes to become a player in the industry.
For us, the event was a huge success and the liveliness of the discussion was very inspiring. Hearing well respected individuals share fiery exchanges clearly showed an existing passion for photography. I know for sure that we, as well as many of our friends in the audience found the experience very motivating. What was particularly beneficial was getting the opportunity to hear people we perceive as successful speak openly about the relationship between their personal and professional lives. This was a great opportunity to build realistic expectations on what life will be like post university.
After such a positive experience with Tuesday night’s discussion, I personally would love to explore the idea of hosting more panel discussions, perhaps hosting a weekend of talks in the future. I know that TalkSee Photography, who are based in Glasgow recently held a panel discussion with Malcolm Dickson of StreetLevel, Ben Harman of Stills and Amanda Catto of Creative Scotland on at the CCA in Glasgow which was well attended and offered good discussion points also. I wouldn’t be opposed to collaborating with the organisers at TalkSee to see what we can do to make sure debates continue to happen in both Glasgow and Edinburgh.
In regards to Ratio 7:1, after two long semesters we are taking a break to concentrate on other areas of our studies. This however does not mean that we won’t come back together in the future, it is just hard to say for sure at the moment. All seven of us will continue to make work and will hopefully have more opportunities to exhibit said works in the near future. You can keep up to date with all of our activity via our facebook page and out Twitter page.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Document Scotland and all of the participants for being a part of the discussion and supporting our exhibition and programme of events.” – John Dougan, Ratio 7:1 photography collective.
As the weather rages outside, the wind blows, snow falls and then the sunshine comes back out, we can’t but help what is happening to the climate these days. Should we carry an umbrella, or wear a t-shirt? It’s hard to know on a daily basis anymore. It’s hard to know on an every-few-minutes basis anymore…
On January 3rd, as we all contemplated the end of the holidays, good news and cheer was to be found in figures and data which were released proving that 2014 had been a “massive year” for wind and solar power here in Scotland, with enough wind power generated in six of the months last year to power more than 100% of Scottish homes. You can read many more stunning statistics and good news here on the WWF Scotland website.
Neatly coinciding with this positive news a new Instagram feed was started, on January 1st, taking a look at climate change. @EverydayClimateChange, started by James Whitlow Delano in Tokyo, and involves a total 37 photographers on 5 continents, aiming to bring attention to the perils we face through climate change, the causes of it, and the effect it has on our fragile planet. Very kindly I was asked to be one of the contributing photographers who will be posting images to the feed, which since it’s launch three weeks ago has already amassed a following of 2,900 regular viewers. I’ll be posting work from my assignments covering different environmental topics for Greenpeace, and also images from Scotland as our country leads the way forward with renewable energy and cutting the all harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
Speaking on Inside Climate News, photographer Ed Kashi, a contributor to National Geographic Magazine, said of the new project, “Climate change is such a loaded term, and the public dialogue is so disingenuous, so off the mark from the conversation we need to be having. Whether this project makes someone think about this more or spurs action, both are mini-victories that add up to systemic change. That’s what we need.”
“A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera”, the words of Dorothea Lange, American photographer who worked in the Farm Security Administration in the 1930’s, on a board outside of Stills Gallery, in Edinburgh, Scotland.
People often mention to me things such as “wah, how did you see that?”, or “you really notice things huh?”. I often just joke back, “I get paid to notice things”, and really that is the essence of this job, I do notice things, I get tuned to how people move whilst they talk, whether it is a CEO in a boardroom, or someone chatting outside a hut in Papua New Guinea. Being a photographer, whether it is for editorial reportage or a corporate portrait, working on assignment is about taking notice, seeing, predicting when things will happen and how and being there ready with the camera.
But even if you’re not working on assignment, not carrying a camera, there is beauty and interesting things all around us, not to mention a fair amount of misery. It’s all there for us to see, if only we’d actually notice instead of just looking without seeing…
Shot and posted on my Instagram feed @JshPhotog, where I post images from behind the scenes on photography assignments here in Scotland and further abroad, and little moments as I walk through the streets and life. As of January 1st 2015, when it goes live, I will be contributing to the new group @EverydayClimateChange Instagram feed, posting images on climate change and the hopeful solutions. I hope you can join me/us, take a look. Many thanks.