The blog of photographer Kim Ayres

Eva in Black and White (and colour)

While I am in my element doing staged shoots with a team of people all collaborating to help create something special, my first love was moody close up portraits (usually in black and white) and I will still look for any opportunity to grab one when I can.

I've photographed Eva a couple of different times over the past year and she's great for throwing attitude down the lens. She's friendly smiles in real life, but my camera connects to her on a different level when I bring it up to my eye.

So at the Renaissance Punk shoot (see – we were doing as part of a Re:Dress Scotland project, I thought I would try and steal a few head shots with her, even though it was primarily a fashion shoot.

Aware that I was really needing to get the full length, and larger environmental images, I only shot off a handful of close-ups, and didn't have much time to think about what I was doing.

However, a couple of weeks later, after I'd edited the main photos, I went back to see what I'd got with the head shots and really enjoyed deep diving into the editing, creating photos that made me sit back in my chair and go "wow!"

I remember writing several years ago that over and above making the client happy, what I'm ultimately chasing in a photo shoot is to create something beyond what I thought I was capable of. But as I improve in my photography, this bar gets set higher and higher, so happens less and less often.

These photos of Eva triggered that elusive feeling in me.

However, I've also been reminded that what I'm looking for in a photo is usually quite different to what anyone else is looking for. The response on social media to the images has been OK, but not at the level I was secretly hoping for.

But that's alright.

Most photographers will complain that what they feel are their greatest ever images get little response, while something that was quick and easy can sometimes gain traction and praise that feels completely out of proportion to the effort in creating it (how often have I commented about the fact I will get 10 times the amount of likes for a quick selfie of me and my daughter than I will ever get for a finely crafted narrative photo?).

But over the years, I have (mostly) come to terms with that. The important thing is for me to keep chasing some kind of aesthetic satisfaction deep within me, regardless of anyone else's taste in imagery.

My wife will sometimes talk about scratching her bones to describe that internal itch or drive that cannot easily be relieved.

This image was my favourite of them all. I added the anarchy graffiti on the wall behind to contribute to the mood I was after, but so much more subtle editing went into this, there were times I was pixel-pushing at levels no one else would ever see or notice.

However, I also discovered I really liked the colour version of this too

And then, following a video I saw on YouTube, I decided to try it out with a blue-pink colour shift, which created a cyber-punk feel (rather than the Renaissance Punk theme of the shoot) that grabbed me as well.

Feedback and thoughts are always welcome – and you are allowed to admit to not feeling the same way about these photos as I do!


Model: Eva Taylor
Hair: Nelson Brown and his team
Makeup: Alanna Barszczynski
Outfit: Circle Vintage
Location: Rosefield Mills, with thanks to Dumfries Historic Buildings Trust


savannah said...

I liked the intensity that you captured! The color photos were provocative, especially the "punk" one! xoxo

Unknown said...

Fabulously crafted B&W portraits Kim.

Kim Ayres said...

Savannah - many thanks for taking the time to let me know - much appreciated :)

Unknown - many thanks! Please leave a name if you post again. While praise is always lovely and appreciated, it is multiplied if I know who it's coming from :)

Anonymous said...

These images are truly awesome and for sure have the "Wow" factor as you so aptly described!

Anonymous said...

Above anonymous is Jacqui in case you were inquisitive:)

Kim Ayres said...

Many thanks, Jacqui - and for letting me know it was you! It always makes a difference when I can put a person to a comment :)

neena maiya (guyana gyal) said...


And more wow!!!

I like them all, colour, black & white...don't ask me to decide. :-)

As Savannah says, intense!

Kim Ayres said...

Many thanks Neena :)

maurcheen said...

Absolutely love these.

Kim Ayres said...

Many thanks Maurcheen! :)

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