The blog of photographer Kim Ayres

Alex McQuiston

"I need some photos that makes me look a bit more... grown up," said Alex as we discussed a possible portrait session over coffee.

Alex McQuiston first made his name as a talented young cellist. He has since gone on to be the force behind "Absolute Classics" - a charitable organisation dedicated to bringing internationally recognised classical musicians to perform and give master classes in Dumfries & Galloway.

There are no cities in this corner of Scotland. With the main county town of Dumfries having a population of around 30,000, and none of the other towns in the region coming even close to that size, it is very much a rural area. Without Alex's drive and vision, professional, live, classical music would be pretty much non-existent around here, with Glasgow and Edinburgh sucking in all the performers.

But despite his achievements - a combination of a popular memory of the teenage cellist, and the fact he does have a youthful appearance (even though he is now in his early 30s, he still sometimes gets ID'd when buying alcohol), means he feels sometimes doesn't get taken as seriously as he should.

The idea, then, was to create some photos that showed a maturity and confidence more reflective of the man he is today.

We discussed different ideas, and something that had particular appeal was of high contrast black and white, set against a white background.

It's a much bolder style of portrait, which immediately implies a confidence, while the high contrast tends to accentuate the landscape of the face rather than soften it. Many people I do portraits for prefer a softer, more flattering style, but that would have worked against the remit.

It was fun to work with someone who wasn't wanting to look 10 years younger, and we've ended up with a set of images we're both really pleased with.

The set up in his living room


Ponita in Real Life said...

I think those photos turned out really well! I definitely would not take him as too young to legally buy alcohol. I very much like the black and white accentuating the textures of his features. Nice!

hope said...

Bravo! He looks like a grown up...but a fun one. :)

Kim Ayres said...

Ponita - This kind of photography can add a few years to your appearance, but it's also much more characterful and interesting. I much prefer doing it to the more bland, flattering type :)

Hope :)

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