I had the pleasure recently of a portrait shoot with Scottish-footballing legend Rose Reilly.
Visiting Rose down in her Stewarton home, near Glasgow, to photograph for the The Times, I was regaled with stories of Rose’s incredible footballing career in the 1970’s and 1980’s when she reached the top level of women’s football, playing not only for Scotland but also for Italy, and for clubs such as ACF Milan, and ACF Catania in Sicily.
With those clubs she was a pioneer for Scottish women’s football. Rose twice won the Serie A Golden Boot, in seasons 1978 and 1981, and won eight Serie A titles, a French title and four Italian Cups. In 1984 she played for the Italian women’s team winning the then unofficial women’s world cup.
One of the greatest pleasures of shooting portraits, being an editorial and press photographer, is the chance to meet people, to hear their stories, to spend a little time with them. I have to admit Rose wasn’t someone I’d heard of previously, but what a great shoot it was, doing the photos, having a coffee, talking, listening to her stories. Little jobs like that are the pleasures of working in this industry.
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.
Photographing things that go bump in the night! Another editorial and portrait photography shoot from recent times, photographing at the National Trust for Scotland’s Culross Palace and spending an evening, after hours, locked in the palace with paranormal enthusiast and palace custodian Linda Whiteford.
Kinda tricky to photograph that which can’t be seen, and maybe only felt by a cold whisper of air against your hands (or was it just a draught?), or a bump and sudden thud on the floor when you know there is no-one else in the building…all very spooky. I’ve done many crazy assignments in my photography career but this was up there with the more unusual, especially when we sat in cold rooms, in the dark, chatting to the spirits…
But, it all worked fine, Linda was great for collaborating with, making some portraits with, and the mustard yellow walls of the palace exterior looked lovely. And then later one, with a bit of judicial photographing into old mirrors, photographing into the flare of torches etc, we managed to bring about the feeling of supernatural goings-on.
Here’s the spread from the magazine, and also a few outtakes from the evening’s photography assignment.
An email pops in asking if I can take some reportage and editorial style portraits of a furniture maker for his website. We chat on the phone, hit it off, and a few days later I’m up north in Scotland in a wood shed photographing Jonathan Rose and we’re discussing chairs, his hand built intelligent furniture, owl droppings in sheds, and the general life of artists and photographers.
An enjoyable day in which the brief was to photograph some images of Jonathan at work, showing where and how he crafts his chairs, and to take some portraits he can use on his website and for various design magazines, brochures, trade fairs etc.
A few weeks back I was photographing an editorial portrait for Psychologies Magazine, and got to spend a very enjoyable few hours with Sandra Patterson of Kids Be Happy Ltd. Sandra was interviewed about the times when her job was tough, and she and her husband made the conscious decision to move home and to relocate to Dumfriesshire, to the countryside where the light was more plentiful, the air was abundant and a sense of openness brought a bit more harmony to their working life and decision making. Something I’m sure we can all learn from!
Here’s the spread from the magazine, showing how they used Sandra’s portrait, and then below some more photographs from the portrait shoot. Sandra was a great model, very patient, and had good ideas on where would be suitable locations for taking the photos.