The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres


Alan McClure is a teacher, musician and songwriter and one of the driving forces of local indie-folk-punk band, The Razorbills.

We were chatting recently about a direction I’m moving my photography in. As mentioned in a previous post, a lot of my photography is about created, rather than captured images – building narratives, telling stories. So I asked Alan, if he could be the hero in an image constructed specifically for him, what theme would he go for?

Castaway, was his reply.

No swinging through jungles or shooting bad guys or rescuing damsels in distress – what appealed was a sense of remoteness, devoid of people. I wondered if he’d had a particularly tough day at school, but didn’t pry.

I enquired, hopefully, if he had a budget that would stretch to flying us out to a Caribbean island, but he was quite insistent it could just as easily be a remote Scottish island as a tropical one. Still, a trip to the Outer Hebrides might be fun, but as the thought was entering my mind he said, "Carrick beach would probably look the part". Carrick is less than 10 miles from where he lives. I silently cursed.

On the upside it did mean we wouldn’t have to share a small tent exposed to the full force of the Atlantic winds and weather (I doubt a teacher’s income would ever have stretched to a cosy B&B, let alone a luxury hotel).

So one evening last week we headed out to Carrick just before sunset to see what it might be like as a potential location. However, Alan brought along some wood just in case the conditions were right.

The tide was out and as the sky darkened the temperature started dropping. Alan lit the fire in a manner of someone who’s done this kind of thing since he was a boy scout, and long since realised some firelighters and a match are an awful lot easier than rubbing two sticks together (although he assured me he could do it that way if need be).

I tried a variety of shots, and periodically driftwood was sought to keep the fire going, but in the end the most effective were where I used the wide-angle lens, which is ideal for capturing a sense of space.

These were my favourite from the shoot. Feel free to click on any of the images for larger versions.


Anonymous said...

I like the last one a lot.. With all the darkness creeping in around him.
And that fire, burning strong... illuminating him.

Very Cool!

Capt. Schmoe said...

I like them all, though I have to say the middle one is my favorite.

The last one COULD be my favorite, depending on the context of my interpretation and of course, the context in which it was shot.

I often enjoy the scope of the scene that a wide angle lens brings to the table.

Sometimes, less is more - sometimes not.

Thanks for sharing.

Aoife.Troxel said...

I am stuck between the second and third as my favourite, but they are all brilliant. Since it was mostly his idea (haha) perhaps you shouldn't be taking all the credit! (Although, to be fair, he didn't even take you on a trip!)

Eryl said...

I like that pool of light in the last one hugely.

hope said...

The second one was my favorite as well...probably because it best seemed to convey that sense of "isolation" one would expect as a castaway.

The last one is nice, but I want to pass him marshmallows to roast over the open flames. :)

Pat said...

Love them all but standing made me feel he wasn't going to stay.
The middle one one is perfect combining intimacy and isolation - which shouldn't be possible.

Attila the Mom said...

Oh wow, those are just beautiful.

savannah said...

impossible for me to pick out a favorite. i see them as the first day alone. well done, sugar. xoxoxo

Guyana-Gyal said...

I thought I'd read, 'pirate'...I don't know why my mind plays tricks like this on me...and when I looked at the photos I thought, why didn't he say he'd like to be a castaway? So I read the post again and what do you know.

You really have captured it well. But you make it look so beautiful.

Kim Ayres said...

Anonymous, Capt. Schmoe, Aoife, Eryl, Hope, Pat, Attila, Savannah and Guyana-Gyal - thanks to each of your for commenting and giving me feedback :)

Combining your comments with the feedback I got on Facebook too, it seems the 3rd photo is the most popular, with the 2nd running a close, er, 2nd.

Oddly enough, the first photo is my favourite, and I seem to be the only one for whom it is.

This isn't that unusual, but it does make it very difficult for me to decide what will make a popular photo - as my tastes seem consistently separate from the majority.

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