The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

Shelagh McDonald

I’ll put my camera on high-speed-continuous-shoot mode, and you flick your head up so your hair flies out…

We’d got the main shot sorted. Now we were just having fun.

A little over four decades ago, Shelagh McDonald was the rising star of the Scottish Folk scene. Her first two albums were widely praised and included support from the likes of Richard Thompson. Then suddenly she mysteriously disappeared and didn’t resurface until a few years ago. And it’s only in the last few months that she’s started taking small steps back into the world of music and potential limelight.

You can read more about her early career and what happened in the intervening years in an article here -

At the end of next month, Shelagh will be playing at the Mill Sessions in Gatehouse of Fleet, where I’ve been photographing the main performers for the past couple of years. She’s being supported by local band, The Razorbills, who will also be backing her for a couple of songs.

Because Shelagh is still at the early stages of her return to performing, she doesn’t yet have any decent publicity photos. So when she came down to the area to rehearse with The Razorbills a couple of weekends ago, time was set aside and I headed out with my camera.

There was nothing of the Diva about Shelagh – she was warm, friendly and very easy to chat to. In fact we’d been blethering for over half an hour before I remembered I ought to get my camera out.

But there’s also nothing shallow about Shelagh either. She clearly has great depths and great strengths, whatever her self doubts might tell her, and I hoped to capture a touch of them in this photo.

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

Shelagh McDonald

As I was clicking way, asking her to move her head this way or that, I was really struck by her wonderful, thick, long hair, which at times seemed to cascade more like a waterfall

Cascading hair

With a couple of good, usable photos in the bag, we decided to play a bit, and this is where we thought it would be fun to capture that hair in mid-flight.

Hair with a life all of its own...

I don’t suppose it will appear on any publicity photos, but we did enjoy ourselves

Sometimes keeping a straight face is just a wee bit too tricky...

Once we’d finished playing, we headed with The Razorbills down to the beach at Ross Bay to get a shot of them all together.

Shelagh McDonald and The Razorbills

So, if you’re in the area, then make sure you book your tickets ahead for the Mill Sessions on March 30th. I guarantee you will be in for a treat.


Kateri Von Steal said...

I love the last picture.

mapstew said...

Yep, the colour shot be the one Kim!

Not taking from the others, 'cos the subject is stunning! :¬)

David Mark Williams - Poet said...

These are great photos, Kim. You have captured so much with your portraits of Shelagh. They are beautifully revealing of her. I also love the group shot too.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Strength and vulnerability, you've captured them here.

hope said...

I love that Hurricane of Hair shot. :)

Nice work, my friend. Although if I was that lovely lady,I'd go for the color shot...makes you wonder what happy secret she has.

Jonathan Chant said...

yes, really lovely series of photos. I like the colours in the group shot.

Kim Ayres said...

Kateri - thank you - and welcome to my ramblings :)

Mapstew - thank you :)

Mark - thank you :)

Guyana-Gyal - thank you :)

Hope - it seems that despite my propensity to shoot dark and moody, everyone loves colour and smiles... ;)

Jonathan - thanks - I desaturated them by about 1/3 as I felt it created a better mood to the image :)

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