A New Beginning

So here it is, the first post that follows the news I was going through a tricky time. In truth, I've been trying to formulate something to follow it since the month after it all happened but never found the words. To summarise, in March 2015 I was diagnosed with Guillian-Barré Syndrome - an auto immune condition where your immune system attacks your peripheral nervous system. In the space of a few days I was admitted to hospital and told that by the end of the week there was a high probability I would be on a ventilator. It was a terrifying time but an early diagnosis and treatment meant I was saved from progressing that far. That was two years ago and, when I wrote about it, never thought I would be still be referring to it all this time later. The good news is I've recovered well, with a couple of challenges that I am learning to live with...but I wouldn't necessarily change the hand I was dealt.


Guillain-Barré Syndrome caused a lot of changes in my life. In a time when the future was thrown into the unknown, it became clear that I had taken a lot for granted, sat back and let others influence my decisions, and accepted the status quo. It was this difficulty that made me rethink all of that.

The effect GBS had on my photography was profound. Until that point, I made images of landscapes and cityscapes, but I suddenly I couldn't walk the length of the room, let alone climb a hill or pound the streets. Instead, I turned the camera on those around me - my friends and family.  Over the next couple of years, this extended to family gatherings, days out and, eventually, weddings. The pull to this was strong and when I was there capturing these moments, all felt right in the world.

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Last year I was invited to shoot my first wedding from start to finish and I jumped at the chance. The bride and groom (the lovely Matt and Catherine, a.k.a. my brother and sister-in-law) were the best at letting me know what they wanted but also letting me apply the style I was familiar with. I wanted to document their day as it happened and capture the wonderful couple they are. It was a fantastic experience and, at the end of the day and 18 hours on my feet, I knew I wanted to do more of it. Lots more.

The following months I continued to exercise my craft, but I also researched and took classes. Then, about two months ago, I sat down with my wife and told her I was going to make a go of it. She was so supportive  It was a moment of putting all that fear and uncertainty to one side and trusting my gut. That brings me to now - a new website and a new adventure.

I will always love landscape photography - there is something about being isolated with your camera and working through the technical parts to capture the image in front of you. That is all the more true using film, where you can walk way from a scene, unsure if you managed to capture anything at all. Landscapes won't stop here - they just won't be the focus of this website anymore as I move into the next chapter of my photography.

If you or someone you know is looking for a photographer for their wedding/event, then get in touch or please pass on my this website. I'm sure we can make it happen.

The Wedding Day

I had the pleasure of joining two friends as they tied the knot at Airth Castle near Falkirk. It was a lovely day - both in atmosphere and weather - and one I will remember.

In a last minute decision, I took along my camera after hesitating too just before leaving. Surprisingly, I thoroughly enjoyed the day shooting and trying to capture the day's events. I'll definitely do more of this. Here are a few of my personal favourites.


The Water of Leith Café Bistro Exhibition

As years go, 2013 is a huge one for me. It's one that will mark a change in my life like no other. Fatherhood. In July (or August...who knows) I will become a Dad after thirteen years of just my wife and I. So when it came to setting myself some goals in photography this year I went easy on myself. I decided that small exhibitions were the way to go and that is just what I have done.

From the 22nd of May 2013, I will have eight prints framed and hanging in The Water Of Leith Café Bistro. I am alongside Rich Dyson, a digital photographer, who has some gorgeous long exposures of Edinburgh at night. Katy Anderson, an artist, who has some really colourful canvases based on fashion. We're there for seven weeks so plenty of time to pop in if you want.

The Water of Leith Café Bistro sits on Coburg Street and right next to the Water of Leith. It's a good place to catch your breath if you're walking along the water and they also sell maps of various things to see in the area.

The prints I have hanging are from my Edinburgh series and are 7.5x7.5" and 7.5x5" and framed in 12x12" and 12x9" black frames. They're a good size. The 12x12" framed prints are £40 and the 12x9" framed prints are £35.


If you're at all interested in purchasing any of these prints then please get in touch with me through the contact page and I can make that happen.


Putting On A Show

For what seems like the longest time, everything I've done in photography has been geared towards my exhibition in October - photographs I took were carefully thought about as to whether they would fit into my theme. The weeks leading up to it were some of the most exciting learning curves I've had yet since taking my photographs seriously.

The theme wasn't difficult, it took two of my favourite things and combined them - black and white film photography and Edinburgh. I've shot Edinburgh for a couple of years now so I was wanted to display my favourite locations taken on various types of films and cameras.

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Once I had decided on the shots I wanted to use I headed to Still Gallery on Cockburn Street and used their digital lab. In there they have a Hasselblad Flextight X1 scanner which does a superb job of showing your negatives as sharp as they actually are...and in some cases, are not. Seeing your negatives of any size for the first time scanned in with high accuracy is something that blows your mind.


Deciding what size the prints were going to be and what frames I would buy were decisions that relied on each other for the answers, it would definitely be the most frustrating part of the process. Due to the number of prints I wanted - thirteen - and the fact I didn't have any of them printed or framed already, the framing was going to be a costly investment and one that I needed to be sensible about. Everybody loves IKEA, it allowed us to furnish our first home with ease and it was about to save me once again. I decided on the frame style I wanted, checked the various sizes available to match my print ratios, and checked stock levels. I sat with my sketchbook and drew out scale drawings of frame and the mounts I would need and then laid out colouring pens to show me the size I could expect. The decision was made...simple, but it worked.


In my last public outing with my prints I used a local company in Leith called Giclee UK Ltd. They did a fantastic job so I used them again knowing what to expect. I prepared the files and sent them to Chris who I had been dealing with. I was using Hahnemuehle Photo Rag which is a wonderful paper to have your photographs on and I would recommend it to everyone. It's 300+ gsm and resembles cartridge paper and has a slight velvet feel to it. It's as matt as you could want it and that was something I wanted.


One thing that surprised me was having to learn different trades outside of photography. The first one was graphic design which, other than my website, I haven't designed much but I wanted my business cards to match my website in style. The easiest way to do that was through a PDF designed in Photoshop and uploaded to the MOO website (the company I had trusted to print them). Happy with the design I sent it off and received them five days later - they looked great. As well as that I also laid out a small brochure with information about me and the prints for sale.


During the time I was picking frames and measuring mounts, I had decided I wanted a small border around the image before the lip of the mount so this meant custom mounts. I looked up a mount cutter and inhaled sharply at the price - it was a more than I had bargained given the money I was spending already. Lou Davis - who organised the last show I took part in - was kind enough to let me spend an afternoon at her studio to cut mounts for the prints. Lou was even kind enough to show me how to use the cutter and also measured out mounts for me to cut - a huge thanks must go out to her.

The weekend before setting up was spent assembling the prints with the mounts, and the mounts with the frames - a job that took me a lot longer than I ever thought but I wanted them to be perfect.


On Monday morning I picked up a few last minutes items that I was going to need - easels for the window display, string to hang from the picture rails. Once that was done it was the first time in the last few weeks I had time to consider how nervous I was about the show - how it would be received, and if anyone would go.


The guys at Tidalfire were fantastic - they showed me what I could use, what I couldn't do, and then let me get on with it. In all it took two and half hours to get set up and that was including doing one wall twice - at 6ft 5ins tall I can forget that everyone is not my height so standing back from the first wall showed that they were a little bit too high. I did the second wall slightly lower and it looked a lot better so returned to the first wall and corrected it. Once I made up my mind on height it was a simple case of repeating the process and that is where my trusty measuring tape came in - I measured everything - even now I can tell you that every frame was 32cm from the picture rail, was spaced 25cm from the next frame and the price was flush with the right edge and 1cm from the bottom. It sounds mad but having these measurements meant getting each frame perfect first time and the photos flowed around the room. It couldn't have gone better.

If you made it along to Tidalfire then I hope you enjoyed it. A big thank you to all who promoted it it through friends, family, and online - it made a huge difference. I had a blast doing this show - I made a few sales and gained a little more exposure locally so I'll definitely do it again in the future.