Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Surprisingly, I seem to be well...

Last Monday Rogan went down with something horrible. Food poisoning was his own diagnosis. He couldn't think what he'd eaten that might have caused it, but he was convinced the symptoms seemed to fit.

However, in the middle of night a couple of days later, Maggie got hit by the same thing, so it was obviously something else.

Later in the day, Holly went down with it.

That night, so did Meg.

I was the last man standing...

... waiting for my turn...

... and waiting.

Never before have I been so hyper aware of every single ache, burble, internal movement or noise - each one surely indicating the onset of this extremely unpleasant illness.

Nearly a week has now passed and everyone is now pretty much over it, so it seems I have survived unscathed.

I'm extraordinarily grateful it bypassed me but I have absolutely no explanation why.

Still getting wee bursts of panic each and every time my stomach gurgles though...

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Status Quo live in Dumfries

"Please please pleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseplease..." I threw myself onto the floor in front of Andrea - commissioning editor of Dumfries and Galloway Life magazine - reached out and squeezed her ankles then looked up pleadingly while trying to make my small grey eyes as large as possible, and begged her to set me up with a press pass.

Undignified, perhaps. But it worked.

A couple of my photos in Dumfries and Galloway Life

A few weeks ago legendary rockers, Status Quo, played at Palmerston Park in Dumfries - the football grounds of Queen of The South - to a crowd of over 5,000 people. It might not sound much when you think of stadium filling concerts of many big named bands, but this is Dumfries we're talking about, so was on a scale virtually unheard of.

As a teenage headbanger, I had the longest hair of any boy in the school, and my school bag was covered in carefully scribbled names of as many rock and metal bands as I could think of. Status Quo may not have been the heaviest of metal, but they knew how to rock and have a good time, and I was a fan.

These days they might look a bit like your granddad, and their famous wide-legged stance when playing the guitars is considerably less wide as you fear for the state of their hips, but they can still work an audience to perfection, playing everyone's favourite songs with just the right level of banter to keep the crowd cheering.

Leg stance not quite as wide as it once was

And while there were people of all ages at this rare local event, it has to be said the majority were definitely over 45...

With a small handful of other press photographers, I was given free reign of "the pit" - the space between the audience and the stage, allowing us to get in close with the cameras.

With support from Big Country and Reef, it was great night out.

And it didn't even rain.

Here are a selection of my favourites, but you can find many more on my Facebook page here:


There's nothing phallic about a guitar...

"It's the wrong trousers, Gromit, and they've gone wrong!"

Dedicated Fans

Dedication taken to a whole new level

Rockin' All Over The World

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Eden Festival, Photos and Birthday Card

The Cracked Man played at Eden Festival this past weekend.

One of the frustrating things for me as a phtographer and musician is I've yet to figure out how to take a photo of us while I'm playing. Fortunately I was able to hand my camera over to my friend and fellow photographer, Chloe, who took some lovely shots of us.

The Cracked Man playing in Rabbie's Tavern

However, the best thing about playing at festivals is that in return for performing for around 30 to 40 minutes (which is huge fun in its own right), I have the rest of the weekend to wander around with my camera, taking photos and listening to some great music.

Here's a wee selection of the images I took, but you can find more on my Facebook page, here:


I missed the powder paint war, but there were plenty of casualties...

The can-can

The pink panther as I'd never seen him before

Submotion Orchestra

Zoë Bestel and her new coat.

Today also happens to be the 20th birthday of my wee bouncing baby boy, Rogan. Not so wee now, on the one hand it's difficult to believe 2 decades have passed since he was born, and on the other it feels like I can't remember a time in my life when he wasn't a part of it.

In a tradition established many years ago, I usually make a birthday card for him by Photoshopping him into some image reflecting his tastes of the time. Previous cards have included him as Wolverine from The X Men, Orlando Bloom in Pirates of the Caribbean, and Dr Who. Last week we went to the cinema to see the latest Mad Max movie, which we both thoroughly enjoyed....

Mad Max, or Raging Rogan?

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Dancing and movement

Alexandra retired from professional ballet dancing when she was 40 and then went on to become a fitness instructor. Now in her mid-60s, she is still incredibly fit and lithe.

We were put in contact via a mutual friend, and at the weekend she came to this corner of Scotland to collaborate with me in a series of photos for 2 separate projects.

When hunting for a potential venue for the shoot, I came across the Dumfries School of Dance, which is based in an old school house. With high windows and a wooden floor, it had just the atmosphere I was looking for.

The outcome of these projects won't be seen for quite some time to come. In the meantime, however, we were asked if we could do a couple of photos for the Dance School itself in exchange for the use of the studio, and I can show you these.

I was specifically asked if it was possible for some slightly abstract ones of the dancer, and a black silk scarf was left with us if we wanted to use it.

I figured the best approach would be to put the camera on a tripod and take some slow shutter-speed images - between 1/3rd and 1/5th of a second. This meant there would be a lot of movement blur which, if we played it right, could create some interesting photos.

I was really quite pleased with the result.

As always, feel free to click on the images for slightly larger versions.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Behind the scenes: Photo shoot of Macmath: The Silent Page

Last Autumn I wrote abut the photo shoot I did for Macmath: The Silent Page (see blog post here). The photos were for the promotion of a project bringing to life a selection of songs, some of which had not been heard for over 100 years, to be adapted and performed by some of Dumfries and Galloway's finest, internationally renowned, traditional musicians.

On Sunday I went along to one of the performances at Easterbrook Hall, which was a highlight of the Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival. It was nothing short of superb.

A couple of weeks ago I remembered that Peter Renwick, the project manager, took various bits of movie footage of the shoot and gave it to me immediately afterwards, so I decided to create a little behind-the-scenes video.

Ali Burns, the creator of the idea and driving force behind the project, forwarded me a copy of a recording at one of their rehearsals, of the song Johnie Scot, which I added as a sound track.

I've also put together a folder on Facebook (you don't have to be a member to view it) of all the photos I did for the project, which includes individual portraits of the performers and some shots of Broughton House, where the Macmath collection of songs resides.


Ali and the others will be turning the songs from the project into a CD, which you can pre-order from here: