The blog of photographer Kim Ayres


Ruth Morris and Gavin Marwick make up 2/3 of one of my favourite bands, Bellevue Rendezvous. World-class musicians, they never fail to carry you off to other worlds with performances and music that are nothing short of sublime. They also live locally, regularly play in pub folk sessions and to my absolute delight accepted my invite to my 50th birthday bash last year. They had finished recording their new album "While Rome Burns" the day before and we were all treated to a live performance of it.

More recently Ruth and Gavin have teamed up with the incredibly talented Pete Garnett (of Moishe’s Bagel) to form a ceilidh band called Whirligig, and I was asked if I could do some publicity photos for them.

We decided to go for 2 different kinds of images. Firstly we wanted something that looked cool and professional – a group shot and individual portraits in the same style, while the 2nd needed to be more of an in-action shot to portray the fact they are a band you get up and dance to rather than just sit in your chair and listen.

Ever since the discovery of the edge lighting effect when one of my flashes failed to go off during a shoot a few years ago, I’ve used any excuse I can to replicate the style. However, while I generally manage to achieve the effect I want on one person at a time, trying to get it to work on 3 in the same shot proved trickier. Making sure shadows were not being cast in the wrong places required many shots and the manoeuvring of patient musicians back and forth until I got the balance right.


Gavin Marwick

Pete Garnett

Ruth Morris

After a well-deserved break for lunch, we began the second, more complex shot.

What we’d decided to do was try and create a shot where the 3 of them looked like they were playing to a dancing crowd, but I wanted the audience to be blurry with movement. This meant a long exposure, but in order for the musicians not to be blurred too, they had to remain absolutely motionless for half a second at a time while everyone else swirled back and forth.

It took quite a few attempts, as sometimes one of the dancers would linger too long in front of a musician, or the light balance wasn’t right, or one of the players wobbled a bit. However, we got there in the end and they were pleased with the sense of life and energy in the final image.

If you're needing a first class, world class, ceilidh band for your event, I can't recommend them highly enough.


daisyfae said...

The action shot is absolutely marvelous! Makes me want to dance!

maurcheen said...

All fab photies as usual. I do love a chèilì.

Kim Ayres said...

Daisyfae - I'll expect to see you posting a video of you dancing soon then :)

Maurcheen - and I do love an alternative spelling :)

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