Buy Scottish traditional music photos
I’ve been taking traditional music photos at a wide range of events for a number of years. One thing that has become evident to me is that there’s a large number of individuals and small organisations putting on events across the country. Many don’t have easy access to good quality photos for publicising those events. I’m now in the process of putting together a library of digital images, which are available to buy at a reasonable price. Any of these images can be used for the purpose of promoting Scotland and Scottish culture.
I’ll be adding to the photo library over time, with pictures of ceilidhs, song and music workshops, step dancing, pub sessions, gigs and concerts, as well as a wide variety of traditional musical instruments and musicians.
If you are organising, or know of an event where I would be able to take photos to add to the library, please get in touch.
The full collection of Scottish traditional music photos are available to view on the Photography Scotland website shop pages.
Creative workshops on the island of Lismore
Next month I’ll be taking part in a weekend of creative workshops organised by Mairi Campbell. Mairi has created a programme to inspire, with opportunities to get involved in photography, song, poetry or working with textiles.
Mairi has been running hugely popular fiddle workshops based in Carnie cottage for a number of years. The mix of learning, music, a friendly welcome into the local community, and the beautiful surroundings of Lismore, has lured many people away for a refreshing and creative break. The newly built studio space beside the cottage has opened up possibilities for running a programme of events over a weekend.
‘Sing, Write and Make Merry’, running from 9th – 13th May, is going to be a fantastic start to what I’m sure will be many memorable events. There will be time to explore the magical island surroundings, and a chance to make new connections at an informal and sociable house ceilidh on the Saturday evening. And there’s bound to be music!
As well as my photography workshops, Mairi Campbell, inspirational singer, fiddle and viola player, will be running song workshops based in the new studio at Carnie Cottage. Sarah Campbell of Mogwaii design, who lives on Lismore island, will be using the local environment to inspire her textile workshops. There will also be a chance to join Jayne Wilding, poet, writer and teacher, in her writing workshops based in the local heritage centre.
Places for the weekend can be booked online on the Lismore Music Retreat website
Last weekend I met up with my own band, Shindiggery, to take some promotional photos for our gig in the Edinburgh Fringe in August. The Fringe has become a huge event, and in order to get an entry into the official printed programme, you have to get your skates on pretty early in the year!
It was a strange position to be photographing musicians for the band I’m in. I’m used to taking photos of other people, but don’t often end up on the other side of the lens. I also had to think through how to create a final image which I was in, and which would work when it was shrunk down to the 29mm x29mm size that is allowed in the Fringe programme. The timer delay is a great invention on a camera!
I decided to take a few individual shots as well while we were all together. Some of them ended up looking pretty dramatic after I’d set to with Photoshop. I don’t often creatively edit photos, beyond trying to recreate what I remember seeing when I took the original shot. For these pictures I wanted to create something that would really stand out, so I did a wee bit of experimenting.
I decided to go for silhouettes for a couple of reasons. If you’re taking photos with 7 people in the shot, there’s a pretty high chance that someone will manage to blink or scratch their nose just at the moment the photo is taken. Silhouetting the people resolved that problem, and also meant we didn’t need to spend hours taking hundreds of photos. The final image would be so small that any detail of individuals would be completely lost. I was aiming for something simple and effective.
Here’s one of the individual photos:
And the final Fringe brochure image can be seen on our Facebook event
I am available for commissions to photograph musicians and bands for publicity purposes.
Sled dogs in Edinburgh
I went down to Holyrood park this afternoon to see the sled dogs in Edinburgh for the fantastically named ‘Dogmanay’ event. Sled dog racing would usually take place in snowy countries, but for Edinburgh’s event on the 1st of January, we had sled dogs racing without the snow. Instead of sleds, the dogs pull small carts on wheels. Sled dogs include Alaskan Malamutes, Canadian Eskimo Dogs, Greenland Dogs, Samoyeds and Siberian Huskies – and they’re utterly photogenic! The teams of sled dogs are highly trained and fit. They run because they love it, and they develop a strong bond with their owners. Successful mushers are well versed in areas such as dog behaviour, nutrition,kennel management, dog psychology and training. I got the impression that it’s as much a way of life for the owners as it is for the dogs.
There’s so much going on around Hogmanay that it’s hard to decide what to get to. I’d never been to see dog sled racing before. Unfortunately, the racing finished early, so I still haven’t had that experience! But there were still plenty of dogs around when I arrived at Holyrood Park. The dogs were fantastic, and plenty of the owners were very obliging, and encouraging their dogs to pose for photos.
Fiddle and piano
I couldn’t resist getting my camera out when I noticed the way the light was falling on this fiddle and piano recently. It was a quiet moment after a party – and what a fantastic party is was. Being serenaded by theramin is something that will stay with me for a while! I’m lucky to be part of an active community of musicians who regularly seem to have some sort of social gathering in the calendar. This one was to celebrate a friend’s 60th birthday – the event itself had thoughtfully been planned to fall on my own birthday, which happened to be at the weekend. It was a cracking evening, with the New Rope String Band playing a memorable gig, and followed by plenty of shared music into the wee small hours.
A few of us were having a quiet tune or two in the morning when I noticed the sunlight light falling on my fiddle with the piano behind.
Update – 10th November 2012
This photo is now one of four card designs which I have had printed. The cards will be on sale at the stalls at the Scots Fiddle Festival (16th-18th November) in Edinburgh.
Band photos and commissions
Da Hooley ceilidh band are a lively ceilidh dance band based in Edinburgh. In taking the band’s publicity photos, I had the extra challenge of being a band member, and having to take photos of myself. Thank goodness for tripods and the invention of the remote shutter release! I decided we could have a lot of fun with the final photos if I photographed all the band members individually, allowing me to blend a selection of photos together afterwards using Photoshop.
Da Hooley had a gig arranged in the St Bride’s Centre in Edinburgh. A quick phone call to the centre manager, and we were all set to go. We turned up half an hour earlier than usual for the gig and had some fun getting the shots taken. St bride’s was an ideal location for the shoot as they have theatre lighting and black stage curtains, which made the process a whole lot easier.
I’ve been having a lot of fun putting the final photos together. The shots have been used on Da Hooley ceilidh band’s website, and also for creating a new design for the band’s business cards.
So they’re on court, and the Wimbledon men’s final 2012 is under way. A break in the opening match for Andy Murray. What a fantastic start to the match!
We were out with the band last night, and I took the chance to take some band photos for our website. Inevitably the conversation turned to today’s match. So here’s a wee fiddly tennis tribute moment from Edinburgh.
There’s the dilemma of how you get into photos when you’re also the photographer. A huge thanks to Drew for stepping up and pressing the shutter release.
Edinburgh canal festival at Lochrin Basin
So the Edinburgh Canal Festival is over for another year. The festival takes place at Lochrin Basin, the Edinburgh end of the Union Canal. It was a packed day, with the annual raft race, trips in the currach (built by members of the Adult learning Project at Tollcross), stalls lining the canal banks, facepainting, bellydancing, barge trips, and live music throughout the event.
And there was plenty of action in the kayak basketball!
I’ve been taking photos for the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop over the last couple of months. I was down the the open evening at the new Sculpture Centre on Thursday evening. I’d seen around the inside of the building when it was nearing completion several weeks ago, and at that stage there seemed to still be a lot to be done. I’ve no idea how they managed it, but int the space of a few weeks, the building was completed, and the staff team have moved in. The new building is light and spacious, and has a wide variety of creative spaces. There are a number of individual workshops which have been snapped up by sculptors.
On top of organising moving premises, and planning several events around the building’s opening, the staff have been setting up the Sleep Trail exchange programme with China. Wang Xieda, the first artist to take part in the exchange, was at the open night. He’ll be based at the new Sculpture Workshop building for a month.
There was an exhibition of work by professor Bill Scott, the former chair of ESW, as well as a display of all sorts of artefacts form the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop’s history.
And during the evening there were a couple of young musicians keeping us entertained with plenty of upbeat jigs and reels.
There was a huge turnout for the evening, and some well known speakers, including Andrew Dixon, the chair of Creative Scotland, and Fiona Hyslop MSP, who is the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs.
The next event to celebrate the opening of the new building is the annual open day on 7th July.
The new building is phase one of the project. The next step will be to demolish the old building, and create a courtyard around the space this frees up. I’m hugely impressed by what the team at the Sculpture Workshop have already achieved with this major project, and am really looking forward to seeing how it continues to develop.
Yesterday I went to the first photoshoot with Drake Music Scotland. I was asked to take some photos of one of their bands which was rehearsing in their studio at Harewood Road. Here’s one from the teabreak!
It was a lot of fun – I’m already looking forward to the next session
I was lucky to catch up with Karen in Edinburgh last week, and took some photos of her ceramics on her stall at the Christmas Fayre at Ingliston.
Mermaid and Fish
She’ll be at the Craft and Design fair in Glasgow this weekend if you want to have a closer look at these ladies!
The Friday night concert at the Scots Fiddle Festival was rounded off by Duncan Chisholm (fiddle) and Tony Byrne (guitar). It was a superb set, with many of the slow airs and beautiful tunes that Duncan is renowned for playing.
And the staff at the Queen’s Hall were impressed at the number of encores.
Duncan Chisholm and Tony Byrne
Fiddle and bow on black background
A fiddle and bow, photographed at the Scots Fiddle Festival in Edinburgh. I am developing a library of traditional music, song and dance images which are available to buy as digital downloads, for the purpose of promoting Scotland and its culture.
This photo is available to buy as a digital image from the Photography Scotland website shop
The young Orcadian band ‘Broken Strings’ played a cracking set at the Scots Fiddle Festival a couple of weeks ago.
‘Broken Strings’ playing at the Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh
Last night I went to take photos at the Usher Hall at the Concert for Trees. It was a big fundraising event, with a phenomenal number of people involved, including a large 130-strong community choir, which had been brought together specially for the performance.
I was in the hall during the afternoon, taking photos of various singers, dancers and musicians as they did their final preparations for the concert. The choir were onstage for a while, checking their seating arrangements, and having a final run through a couple of their songs. during a brief lull, a friend who was singing in the choir sat down at the grand piano onstage and started playing it. It was a real surprise to a lot of folk who didn’t know she played. And she played beautifully!
Steinway piano keyboard
Thanks to Isobel for suggesting this gallery title!
The California-based Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser was involved in the very first Scots Fiddle festival in 1996, and has been a great supporter of the event over its history. He returned to play at the Saturday evening concert this year, along with cellist Natalie Haas.
Alasdair Fraser at the Scots Fiddle Festival
Natalie Haas, cellist
Alasdair and Natalie
Find out about commissioning Ros to take promotional photos
The final Saturday recital at the Scots Fiddle Festival in Edinburgh was the first gig for Vamm, a new band formed by fiddlers Catriona Macdonald and Patsy Reid, with Marit Falt on mandola.
Catriona Macdonald, fiddler
Patsy Reid, fiddler
Vamm playing their first gig
What a cracking night that was! First on were Tyde, and band of young musicians from the Newcastle Traditional Music Course.
Andrew Waite, accordionist with the band Tyde
The remainder of the night shot by when Duncan Chisholm and Tony Byrne came on stage.
Duncan Chisholm, playing a slow air at the Scots Fiddle Festival concert
Tony Byrne, guitarist
Duncan & Tony onstage
And behind the big performance, there’s the sound and lighting engineers
It’s one of the perks of the job of photographing musicians – when you arrange to take their photos, you often end up being treated to a personal musical performance – there can’t be many jobs that have that bonus.
This one was an unusual one for me, as I more commonly photograph traditional musicians. Alison gave me a lovely short concert, playing first playing cello, then viol – what a privilege!
Alison McGillivray playing a Viola da Gamba
Alison with her cello
Alison McGillivray, cellist
There’s just one day to go before the start of the Scots Fiddle Festival 2011. From early on Friday evening, if you stray into the Newington area of Edinburgh, expect to see every 2nd person on the street carrying a fiddle-shaped case, as they head into the Queen’s Hall and King’s Hall to join in with the frenzy of fiddle-related events that will be packing both venues for the weekend.
Once it’s all over for another year, there might be a few fiddles taking up a more peaceful pose!
The Scots Fiddle Festival will be back again for its 16th year on the 25th-27th November. It promises more fiddling than you can shake a stick at, with concerts, talks, recitals workshops, ceilidhs, sessions, open stage, festival club…and a fiddle walk around Edinburgh. How do they fit all that into one weekend?
Angus Grant, playing at the Scots Fiddle Festival 2010
This year the Festival has moved to a new home, and will be based mainly in the Queen’s Hall, with some events in the nearby Kings Hall, and ceilidhs in the South Halls. Be prepared for a few extras this year – there’s a Gaelic workshop and a step dancing workshop squeezed into the programme, on top of all that fiddle playing. Dust down your instruments and get along for a weekend of fun, frivolity, friendship, festivities…oh…and full-on stint of fiddling too!
Fiddle on stage
Little Biggar Band photoshoot
We had a lot of fun taking on a recent photoshoot for the Little Biggar Band’s new website.
The Little Biggar Band from the Scottish Borders
There was some playing around with variations on a band name – how about this one?
But this was my favourite version…it took a while to get them all strung up for this shot!
Colourful Beltane celebrations in Edinburgh’s High street
I nipped over to St Andrew’s Square today to see what was happening at the Occupy Edinburgh camp. There are between 40 and 50 tents pitched around the square. A vocal group of protesters marched to the council offices, demanding a ‘Robin Hood’ tax. On their way back to the square, they ended the protest at the Royal Bank of Scotland building.
A couple of protesters quickly shimmied up the monument to the fourth earl of Hopetoun, used a scarf to gag him, and decorated him with a Robin Hood hat.
Occupy Edinburgh protesters, Scotland