Mo Blog

Friday, 22 October 2010

Indoor Bowling: On The Carpet

Friday morning. Bowling. Out of the rain and out of the ordinary (for me anyway). The second part of our sports journalism assignment and I decided to up the ante from The Speedway to some high octane, full blooded, adrenaline overdose...indoor bowling. Putting the pace in pacemaker... I was all set. No surprise that it was a totally different story then. Starting at the end, I really enjoyed the morning.

I rang up the night before to see if such a sport even existed this time of year to be told very certainly yes. I was ran through the itinerary for the bowling club for the day. 8.30 entry, 10am seniors league, ladies at 12...all the way through to the crack of dusk. So I though "right", a handful of gents, lingering around a big carpet, chatting the war, pineapple juice to hand.
It was heaving. A fluorescent cavern teeming with sprightly lads bounding through rounds of bowls, exchanging throws and encouragement. No need for speed when your wit is quick enough. I received a wink a piece from the first half dozen I met in the lobby. They guided me upstairs and held the door. A convoy of twinkling eyes turned my direction, full of unhurried routine and mischief. Cups of coffee and juice, soft shoes and gold watches. Simple rules for simple pleasures. The man in the office listened to my explanation about the assignment in silence,  gave a tilt of his head and leisurely pointed to a silver haired player. "Is your camera insured?"
I sensed a ripple of silence around the room.

"See Ronnie, he'll break the glass." Deadpan.


But that was all it needed.

Far away, from across the room,

"Dis he need a photy o' you Davey? I hope you're wide angle son."
"Aye, show him yer good side Davey."

Davey drops a shoulder, pouts and flickers his eyelids.
And back and forth the banter went, uninterrupted and good natured. A relaxed and measured vibe around the floor. Until one of the real seniors stepped forward as all the ridicule was calming down and suggestively asked "Eh son, are you from News of the World?"
Serious laughter. All about.
I didn't get it.

Aye, blade of grass there pal.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Stitches and Stubble

Here's the round-up and the wind-down for our shoot from Major Friday last week. But where better to start...than where i started? How Drole.
Iceland this summer brought forth many amazing experiences to my head. Some, including my lovely colour prints and perhaps some of the traditional cuisine, i'm still digesting. New experiences, however small have a tendency to precipitate a changing of tastes. And no where have my tastes changed more in the last year than on the subject...  of menswear.
How convenient eoin. Anyway, during our meanderings around a balmy Reykjavik, Sola brought me into a grey basement of some old mall. "...maybe this place has a toilet" I was thinking out loud, when she led me by the hand into one of the greatest treasures and possibly the last bastions of gentlemen's fashions anywhere along the Mid Atlantic Ridge. This is of course the noble Herrafataverslun Kormáks og Skjaldar emporium. (Go on, say it.) Here they all were, the man's best friends. Cuff-links and canes, top hats and tailoring, modern cardigans and creaking old tailcoats. Wonderful stuff, crammed full of old typewriters and mannequins,  any kind of vintage prop you care to name. Brilliant colours aglow all the way down to their range of socks. And if the décor wasn't enough, some eyewatering intricacies will bowl you out of those old jeans and right into some tweed. There is a resident barber complete with candy-striped gilding and a chair of red leather so barberish - your hair would shape itself just sitting in it. On top of this, if ever you were to treat you and your generations to come to a fine new suit, your purchase will be announced to a glass of whiskey. And this is only because recent legislation forbids them offering you a cigar!

Out in front of the shop I encountered some mystifying photography. The man responsible is Baldur Kristjáns. A renowned and ingenious Icelandic photographer whose calender with the shop sparked off all manner of experiences and taste-changes in my head to say the least. And they have happily lay dormant until our first studio session last friday. IT did get me thinking about photography and passion. When there is so much fashion around, and so little menswear by comparison. And even less again are they wearing any shirts, and smaller still are the few wearing full breasted finery, and then only the microscopic few represent the gentleman of old. Eccentric but elegant; poised, purposeful and madly pedantic. Not a ripped bulk of bagels and buns with an aircraft-carrier chin, any guy, with morals and a moustache. BRILLIANT.
To my help came Edinburgh's answer to gentlemanly retail - Walker Slater Victoria Street. They took the time to show us around, find our right style and fit us up with some handsome stitches and some razor brogues. For the ideas... well i wish i could be more helpful. I know if i was transported back to the studio with the same materials, everything would be completely different. Which is refreshing actually, because that is exactly where i would like to go.

But not before:

And all that is left is to go step by step through my lighting diagrams and equipment...Only joking, its nearly 2 in the morning. 

But i wont hesitate to expose those behind the seeeenz

Special thanks to Haig and Andy for their efforts and a huge thanks to Hank and Burden for forcing me to stay put and let them do all the running around. Saviours! What a team effort


Saturday, 9 October 2010


I'm so knackered! Thats not the sort of thing you write about in a blog is it?
I'm just back in the flat and dumping my bags and winging my files in and wondering... how did all that fit into just a friday? For truly it was a week in one day. One part photography and one part epic.  BUT, I feel great that i have the energy left yet to talk about it! And better yet, I can measure on a stick how my talking now will be more experienced than my talking yesterday. Its almost an impossiblility the scale of learning. Ha, im laughing at its impossibility.

I think the 7 days in a day is something maybe not so unique to photography but is something i can expect a bit more of. I had an afternoon of FashiON in the college studios booked and this evening was put away to shoot the Edinburgh Monarch's Speedway for photojournalism. What a treat shooting sooo much stuff in a day and two things that push your skills in totally different directions. How did it all come about? Well, 7 days of work. Back. Forth. Phones, mails. And it all culminates in 3 hours that feel just blinding. But brilliant.

Haig and Andy made the trek to College this afternoon to rock the seamless and the gentleman at Walker Slater Vicotria, Street really went above and entrusted me a few exotic stitches for the shoot. All the sketches and tearsheets really helped bring everything together too. Doesn't sound like 2 weeks preparation though does it? Well, there'll be a whole post due for this one

Straight out of the studio me and Karen had a half hour downtime before making the halfwaytoglasgow excursion to Bathgate. She, in fairness, had planned and arranged the whole thing. I got a passenger seat and a camera bag- the dream! We had center access and could pretty much shoot as we pleased for the 15heats of mad roaring speedy loudness. It was not easy. It was hard. But, it was hilarious with Karen at the wing. And where failure is right up in your face, theres always a bit of comedy in a tractor race (word.) Everyone was so nice a swell. Literally everyone, and for no particular reason. Helpful, full of advice and stories, chock full of that rare vibe people give off when they're just chuffed that you came at all. But the con? All our photos look like a child took them and they are the ripe fruits of 3 hours frantic (sweating i daresay) labour! And that is this term's lesson. Take a photo apart, sure, But take it yourself...well on you go

And special thanks to Mr.John "It don't matter if you're black or white -wooo-  I still want to give you a hard time" Campbell