Mo Blog

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Silver Apples & Earth Live

Here's a little recap on some live music I have covered over the last month. First off is a solo set of esoteric loudness from electronica pioneers Silver Apples,  live at Mono as part of the Glasgow Film Festival.

I shot the set of melodic drone masters Earth at the Caves a little while back. Clock their review for The Skinny here if you missed out, it does them supreme justice.


Friday, 23 March 2012

Hiva Oa

I Teamed up with Edinburgh musicians Hiva Oa to produce their publicity stills at the start of the year. It wouldn't do us justice to say it was just a really good shoot. Apart from everything working out to plan, it was no sweat on all fronts. This could almost be a 6-step prescription for the perfect shoot.
     First        We shot in Leith. Well of course we did.

    Second    We used a great location with tonnes of possibility. We weren't shy of creative
                     ideas for a second. There were surfaces, bookshelves, tables and wallpaper,
                     quite literally, to the ceiling.

     Third     We kept on the move. We took our gear to the stairs, we went outside, we tried
                     loads of space and made the most of natural light. We used the props we found
                     and didn't weigh ourselves down. Just keeping it really simple.

    Fourth    We kept it really simple. Sort of. We lit a temple worth of incense to haze out our                                 room. We even bunged an old fluorescent tan lamp into action to do wild
                      things to the shadows and spread the most eerie shade of green over everything.
                      Sweet! (but blinding) Things got so out of hand I even shot a roll of film.

     Fifth     We wrapped up and had a celebrated with a crate of wine and fell into the trap of
                  swapping an inexhaustible supply of YouTube videos. Basically when the wine is out,
                  you are on to a winner.


Friday, 16 March 2012

Edinburgh International Festival - A New Year

Wednesday saw the launch of the programme for the EIF's 2012 Festival. I was invited back to shoot the launch photocall and file to the press.

As Spring is starting to shake the limbs of the city to life again, I had it forgotten after such a drawn out winter, that the festival is officially on the horizon. This winter in particular was so grey, I had just accepted there would never be a summer again. But now that the proof is all around (and I went to the shop in a t-shirt this morning just to check), I can't but get excited for August.

The EIF programme is particularly exciting this year and I cannot hide just a tinge of jealousy that I won't be on the front lines again this year. Pick up a brochure from the Hub and while you are at it, take a final look at my exhibition EIF: The Big Picture.


Thursday, 8 March 2012

When you carry a camera

Amazing things happen.

Before I even begin, this is more an appeal to myself than anyone. I just don't realise it yet.

Everyone wonders at some stage where they all go? All the thousands of images that get taken by photographers on and off the clock. No exaggeration, I shoot loads. I don't use a digital chip and a fast shutter by accident, I exploit every advantage it gives me in my work. But with photography, as many other things, when there is a give there is also a take. Technology always feels inverse. What we gain in facility and convenience, we compromise in love. I have been no different.

I am not about to go prosaic on shooting film. I'm not even really lamenting. I am saying that I take an awful lot of images. They wind their way into the cryptic bowels of a hard driveand the odds of ever encountering them again stretch the longer I take more photos. But when the planets align, and I'm down for a trawl, it does literally feel like a blue moon. I find some of the most wonderful things. Things I am certain have just manifested through digital stagnation, like pixel metamorphosis. Images I can hardly remember taking let alone claim authorship of. Images to and from shoots. Waiting on trains. Testing my equipment. Getting my bag in order. Literally from just sitting on my lap, accidentally or otherwise, the motive long forgotten. Images that stand alone, that just amaze me in their perennial obscurity.

The confrontation at the end of all this is the realisation that I have neglected my camera and compromised the love. Stills of The-Every-Day. Tracing the line back, I started as any other photographer, by using their instincts and raw materials by taking pictures of what was around them. Slowly what was once my full outlet of photography got overgrown with commercial schedules and briefs. No complaints there, but to my right hand side there sits a bag with a camera in it. A device that can make crisp sense of shapes and colours gestures that bypass our eyes. It is these images that keep me alive. I can gradually close the bag as I drift into more a commercial approach. But if I do, I miss all of this...


Friday, 2 March 2012

Glasgow Film Festival

I was invited along to join in and photograph the fray of the GFF last week. If ever the balance of culture and fun was to be tipped, this was it. Heavily in favour of fun though!

It is easy to forget that at the core of arts and culture events, swathed in glamour and panache, cinema does everything its own way. Its recipe is artistic celebration at its most social. Less the stiffness of the gallery launch and less operatic than the stage. If there is one thing the blockbuster approach brings, it is a damn fine jolly. What more can you ask from a business of entertainment? Comically up-itself perhaps, but it is the the loosest, most inclusive form of enjoyment out there that you can share with 100 strangers at a time. And at the moment (in my jazz age reverie at least) I can happily forgive its mass production for the charm and messiness and swagger of the red carpet. Film can take itself very seriously but the cinema is still a party.

Which is exactly what was put before my eyes in Glasgow. An already incredibly broad and adventurous programme of screenings was supported by an ensemble of cinema events in creative spaces full of colourful people. A total mix. Isn't that what festivals are all about? That and fun.

The full festival galleries are avilable to look at here. Also, major credit to Stuart and Ingrid for their amazing work on the other events.

Sheree Folkson and Sally Philips of The Decoy Bride

Murray Grigor, producer of the documentary Big Banana Feet, which covers Billy Conolly's 1976 Irish tour.

Step into the Blytheswood!

Tom , son of writer Sally Phillips  gets his front row seat for The Decoy Bride

Gala Champagne
Festival Co-director Allson Gardner during a tech for a Q & A

Murray Grigor introduces Big Banana Feet to a sold out Glasgow Festival Theatre

Queues rock the block on the opening gala of the GFF

The audience is listening - the premiere of My Sister's Sister opens the first night of the GFF

Director Lynn Shelton during her Q & A for My Sister's Sister

Wooden box woo the crowd at eh GFF gala

Guests at the Gala

And of course once theres a tambourine on the go how can I not make a cameo?

Say hello to the band! Corinne on cowbell and The Barman, on the wine.