Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Boswell Book Festival

Click. Click. Click.

That's a great smile! Now give me your serious author face...

Click. Click. Click.

Excellent! Now give me a contemptuous sneer you reserve for when you're interviewing politicians...

Click. Click. Cli...

The room turns cold and suddenly I'm not sure whether they are obliging me by giving me a withering look, or whether I might just have overstepped a line and they are genuinely contemptuous of me for giving such a stupid instruction.

It can be a dangerous thing photographing a top BBC political journalist/presenter, and I've just done two in the space of an hour.

On Saturday I was out at the Boswell Book Festival with my camera as the official photographer. Based at Auchinleck House in Ayrshire, it is the only book festival entirely focused on biographies and memoirs.

There were 2 marquees out the front of the house where the events took place over the weekend, while Auchinleck House itself is a grand building, constructed around 1760 and was used to accommodate the authors, although there were tours of the house throughout the day for visitors to the festival.

Being the official photographer at a book festival gives you access to the authors so you can take their photos officially rather than quick snaps at a distance or awkwardly asking if they will mind if you do a selfie with them. And some book festivals have quite bigs names at them. In this case Newsnight's Kirsty Wark and Radio 4 Today presenter, James Naughtie.


Kirsty Wark


James Naughtie

But access to big names doesn't necessarily mean you get your best photos. Generally speaking you only have a few minutes to establish contact, let them know what you're wanting and take the photos. There isn't any time to really get to know them, build a relationship and explore the possibilities of portraiture together.

Well known faces might garner more comments and kudos, but the best photography usually comes when people are not in a rush to get away.

One of my favourite photos of the day was with singer and musician Thomas McConnell who was to be playing a series of Beatles tunes following a talk about the iconic band by Mark Lewisohn. Thomas has been greatly influenced by them, particularly Paul McCartney. We chatted for quite a while before I took his photo in the library of Auchinleck House, which I felt gave a sense of pop star opulence to the image.


Rising star, Thomas McConnell

However, I was also there to capture the atmosphere of the festival. Below are a couple of photos, but I've put together a collection of my favourite up on my Facebook Photography page, which you can find by following this link:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.845286692152703.1073741845.114749591873087&type=3


Audience shot at Kirsty Wark's presentation


Festival goers experiencing Scotland's finest weather. Image taken through the window by the photographer keeping dry inside the house...


Nigel Anthony with cake and book - what more could you want from a book festival?

12 comments:

allencapoferri said...

Wonderful photogaphs, Kim!

allencapoferri said...

I'll try that again with an r. Nice photographs, Kim.

Kim Ayres said...

Allen - thank you - although don't worry about spelling - I know what you meant :)

maurcheen said...

Great, as usual. :)

Kim Ayres said...

Maurcheen - thank you :)

hope said...

Amazing...love the musician shot. It really stood out when I looked at the group of shots. :)

Kim Ayres said...

Thanks Hope :)

Jonathan Chant said...

Great photos. Especially like the James Naughtie portrait. Looks like a man who knows exactly what he's about.

Kim Ayres said...

Jonathan - I only go to to spend 10 minutes with him, but I can imagine enjoying his company for much longer :)

Rab said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Guyana-Gyal said...

I see what you mean about chatting with the person first...great photo with Thomas McConnell.

Great direction re: politicians. I'm still laughing.

Kim Ayres said...

Guyana-Gyal - :)