It seems that once something has been done 2 years in a row, it becomes a tradition. So I thought I'd better keep up with the tradition established with 2009 in photographs and continued with 2010 in photographs, with a collection of images reflecting the past 12 months with my camera.
As always, feel free to click on the images for larger versions
January - Uncky Rogan
When I was a teenager, I was extremely awkward with small children - I had no idea what to do with them. My son, Rogan, on the other hand, is a natural. Kids love him, and he's brilliant with them. When the grandchildren came to stay at the beginning of the year, I took a series of photos of Rogan with Cormac, the youngest of them. I just love the warmth and connection that oozes out of this image
February - Sean Taylor at The Mill Sessions
One of the more successful projects of 2011 was becoming involved with The Mill Sessions. The Mill on the Fleet decided to use one of its galleries as an intimate venue for musicians (it only has space for about 50 people in the audience) , and I came on board to photograph the main acts before their performance. The idea is to build up a Hall of Fame for the Mill, but it has also been a chance for me to photograph some great musicians, some of whom could well be big names in the future. Sean Taylor certainly fits that description - his blues singing and guitar work blew everyone away when he played back at the beginning of the year.
March - Scottish Tattoo Convention
When a friend of mine told me he was mates with the organisers of the Scottish Tattoo Convention being held in Edinburgh, and could get me and Rogan in with press passes if I wanted, it was too good an opportunity to miss. Out in the ordinary world, most people will be a bit cold to the idea of a complete stranger asking to take their photo. But at a place like this, people with tattoos, piercings and amazing hairstyles are used to being looked at and don't think twice about posing for the camera. For a photographer who loves faces, it was a dream come true.
April - Meg with a Dandelion
When I'm looking through the lens of the camera, you can tell when I think I can see something special, because my finger starts clicking more rapidly. With the sunlight behind Meg blowing dandelion seeds, I switched the camera to continuous burst where I can shoot up to 8 frames per second. Before I knew it, I had over 160 photos. This one was my favourite
May - Spring Fling Open Studio Weekend
For 3 days at the end of May, along with around 90 other artists and makers in the area, I opened my studio to the public. To make it a bit more interesting, I decided to photograph anyone who was interested. Usually I like to spend a couple of hours with a client in a portrait session, but for this event I spent only a couple of minutes. Even so, there were times when the queue went out on to the street and I ended up taking over 130 portraits. This one of Colin and Marianne always brings a smile to my face. (You can look through and buy a book of the photos I took that weekend here - Facing The Weekend)
June - Midsummer Music Festival
It's one thing to photograph people in the studio, where I can talk to them, get them to look into the camera and change the lighting and background. But when they are performing on stage I can do none of these things. The skill set of shooting musicians playing live is very different, but also a lot of fun. This one of the singer, Blue, from the band Quirkus, was one I was particularly pleased with.
July - The Wickerman
Trevor Leat and Alex Rigg build giant willow sculptures to be set alight on special occasions, and each year for the past decade they have created 30 to 40 foot high figures to go up in flames at the end of The Wickerman Festival in SW Scotland. If you follow this link you'll find a full set of the images I took of the Building and Burning of The Wickerman.
August - Isle of Skye
The Isle of Skye off the West Coast of Scotland is an astonisingly beautiful place. Yes it rains a lot, and when the wind stops blowing you'll get eaten alive by the midges, but when the sun comes out, it takes your breath away. We had a lovely, well needed week there back in the summer.
September - Wigtown Book Festival
Being selected as the Artist in Residence for the Wigtown Book Festival in September was an amazing experience. Over the 10 days I took in excess of 170 portraits of writers, locals and visitors to the Festival. This time I decided I wanted to avoid smiles, and asked each person to look intensely into the camera. One of my favourite encounters was the actress and comedian, Elaine C. Smith who was intelligent, funny and completely down to earth. When I asked her to glare into the lens she gave me this wonderful stare that would stop anyone in their tracks. 5 seconds later she was laughing again. During the Spring Fling Open Studio event over the first weekend in June later this year, anyone will be able to visit me in Wigtown where I'll be back at the studio I had for the Festival, and all 170+ photos will be pinned to the wall, staring at you
October - Halloween
When creating lanterns for Halloween, I still get a kick out of how easy it is to carve pumpkins rather than the turnips we did as kids.
November - With a Cameraman Over His Shoulder
BBC Alba - the Gaelic speaking Scottish digital TV channel commissioned a programme about CFS/ME. Despite me not speaking a word of Gaelic, somehow I ended up being interviewed and filmed for it (along with several others I should add). So at the point I took this photo, the cameraman in the background was filming me. I don't know whether his shots of that moment will appear in the programme, but it did feel a bit odd having a camera pointed at me while I was pointing it at someone else. I think the programme will be broadcast in a few weeks time, so I'll mention more about it then.
December - Christmas Lights
Self portraits are never easy at the best of times, because you can't look through the lens at the same time the shutter clicks. It's even harder when you're wrapped up in Christmas lights that are plugged in. Still I've rarely shied away from a challenge and I was delighted to get this one published on the site 1x.com.
An annual summary in photos for three years running - definitely a tradition now...