2 years ago I was artist in residence at the Wigtown Book Festival. Over the 10 days I took 173 photos of authors, visitors and locals all staring intensely into the camera. I printed them out and stuck them around the walls of the studio so anyone coming in had the experience of 346 eyes staring at them. Not for the faint-hearted.
Last year I returned to Wigtown with a new mission - to photograph authors as literary characters. These photos have now been made into a 2014 calendar to help raise funds for the festival.
You can find the full set of images in one of my Facebook albums, here:
Some of them I'm really pleased with, and others I can see where I didn't have the clarity of thought and purpose when the photos were taken, and so don't have the level of impact I'd have liked.
However, one of the great things about doing this was it made me start thinking in a different way about my photography. Up until then head shots was my main thing. And it still is in many ways - I do love faces and I can't see that going away any time soon. But photographing people as someone entirely different meant I had to start thinking about costumes, props and location. Most of the photos required a fair bit of advanced planning and an awful lot of problem solving.
This is leading me in the direction of looking to create images with stronger narrative content and higher production values - an example being the one I took of Anne Lindsay for her book, The Undefended Hour
This year, I'm back at the Wigtown Book Festival to see if I can find more authors who might be up for being photographed as literary characters. Photo shoots will then be done across the winter so the images will be ready for the Festival to use publicity and promotion for next year.