Friday, 29 April 2011

Ever Dundas: Writes scary things

Another of the Napier students, Ever is known for writing dark fiction which leaves her readers and audiences feeling slightly nauseous and scratching at their skin uncomfortably.

Ever Dundas

After ditching artsy ideas of her posing in a bath we went for a walk around Victoria Terrace and the Grassmarket, hoping for a nice outdoor table. When we couldn't find one (and the wind was flash-smashingly unhelpful) we ended up in her living room and once there was a friendly mannequin to hand she perked right up!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Barbara Melville: Science writer, foodie, events organiser, magician...

Another multitalented character is Barbara (website); studying Creative Writing, a science columnist with a bent toward the less knowledgeable reader, writes entertaining recipes when she can and in the last spare five minutes of the day is a magician an illusionist.

Barbara Melville

Barbara is one of the people I'm always very careful of when wielding a camera. She has a more than average sensitivity to the flaws she sees. So I was terribly pleased and flattered when she agreed to let me loose on her. She expressed a love of this image so we went up behind the museum to pose her near lots of graffiti. And then she hugged a cone.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Sian Bevan: Does pretty much everything

When not studying, Sian (blog)is an accomplished comedian, works with children and organises events. She's a dangerous subject because it's hard to work while giggling all the time...

Sian Bevan

We were meant to be sneaking into an abandoned bus station but someone had put a lock on the gate. After a nice walk in the park we ended up under a bridge, with lots of passersby peering in at who was being photographed there, and in a playpark where I made her look tiny.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

David Bishop: Writer, comics, science fiction, TV...

David Bishop (Wikipedia) has been involved in many of my geekier hobbies; he edited 2000AD for years, wrote Dr Who novels and plays (see the extensive list on his blog) and now teaches Creative Writing while writing freelance.

David Bishop

I went to see David at Napier Univesity's Craighouse campus. His only request was that we try to buck the trend and not show him "gurning like a loon", which seemed a reasonable request. On arrival I was tempted to put him against the picturesque view across Edinburgh but it was a hazy day, which put paid to that. Instead we meandered around the campus and I managed to cover about 5% of his enormous range of expressions, pausing to lick a hazard sign and parody John Napier en route.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Ryan Van Winkle: Poet etc.

Ryan Van Winkle (website) is, amongst other things, Reader in Residence at the Scottish Poetry Library. When not running around the world working with poets and other creative types he oversees much of what happens at the Forest Cafe and is generally larger than life.

Ryan Van Winkle

Ryan had suggested that, in order to demonstrate how he often feels, we arrange a long exposure in the Forest Cafe with him as a still point in the centre. It was unfortunate that on the day we had arranged the place was closed to the public and so there wasn't the usual hurly burly surrounding him. We went with the long exposure anyway. I may try a reprise on a busier day, if I can get him to sit still long enough...

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Mark Cousins, Screenwriter, director, cinematographer...

Mark Cousins (IMDB) is another person with too many strings to his bow for me to list. Certainly he writes and is based in Edinburgh, which is enough for me.

Mark Cousins

Having been told of his boundless enthusiasm and extrovert tendencies (I did not, unlike previous photographers, get him to dance naked on camera) I had the image in my head of Mark perched on the castle esplanade, overlooking the city. As it turns out, he perches all over the place! But I hadn't allowed for the scorchingly bright sun - this being Edinburgh - so it would have been very tricky to get the shot I wanted. Instead we went around the outskirts of Arthur's Seat looking for places to perch.

I'm still frustrated at not getting what I was aiming for and may well ask him for a (twilight) rematch...

Jonathan Whiteside: Writer ,graphic novels

Jonathan Whiteside recently finished a Masters in Creative Writing at Napier University, where he specialised in writing comic book style fiction. Before I met him I had been told of him, and that he was being encouraged to take his studies further and do a PhD (A Doctor of Comics? How cool would that be!?). He's working on a book at the moment involving witches and insurance, set in Edinburgh.

Jonathan Whiteside

I find that I'm drawn more to the eccentric images as I progress. I had the idea of Jonathan poking his head out from behind a bush like a very dapper woodland creature but there weren't any appropriate bushes. This was a tree I liked as we were wandering and when I went through the day's output it jumped out at me. Completely unlike anything I had intended, it looks more like a promotional shot for a stage show about fairies, but I really liked it.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Sophie Cooke: Author, poet, travel writer

It's difficult to cover everything Sophie (no blog, but she's on Wikipedia!) has done in the world of writing so I won't even try. Certainly she has published two novels (with a third on its way), short stories and a travel column in the Guardian; she won the ESRC Genomic Forum's poetry competition and has been nominated for a fair number of awards - all while holding down a job!

Sophie Cooke

We had a wander (notice a trend?) from Jacob's Ladder and around the back of the Old Town, getting only a little bit rained on in the process. I had taken a very elemental feeling from her poetry and was hoping to convey that in the portrait, so when the wind started whipping her hair and skirt around I was very glad.

Despite this shot being very obviously lit by flash - which I generally dislike - it seemed to the the one, capturing something none of the others did.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Tracey S Rosenberg: Writer, Poet

Tracey was a recent recipient of the Scottish Book Trust's New Writers Award and is about to see her first novel published.

Tracey S Rosenberg

Tracey is a long term challenge for me, and partly to blame for me embarking on this project; as she was due to be published she needed a headshot but there weren't any good ones. We had a walk around George Square and Teviot Union, were dismayed by the bookcases with red lights in them and enjoyed blocking the spiral staircase on a Friday evening.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Keith Gray: Writer, young adult / teen

Keith comes from Grimsby but is very friendly. He does a lot of work with children for the Scottish Book Trust when not writing, talking to his parrot or making board games fun again.

Keith Gray

As much of his writing seems to be quite urban and set against a backdrop of grim post-industrial northern England I liked the idea of setting Keith as a splash of colour and life against abandoned warehouses or industrial estates. We met in Granton and discovered that on a sunny day nothing looks particularly miserable. Once we were finished I realised that this image, unusual because he's rarely seen not smiling and laughing, was my clear favourite.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Aiko Harman: Poet

Aiko (blog blog here) is another volunteer at the Scottish Poetry Library, coming to us from Los Angeles. She blogs and writes poetry and oozes serenity and a sense of disarming intelligence. She said she would like to be photographed somewhere green and as she was going to be visiting the Botanic Gardens I agreed to meet her there.


On a previous visit I had spotted this archway leading up to the Chinese garden and filed it away, thinking it would be lovely in the spring. And we found it. And it was lovely.

I know there seem to be a lot of poets so far, but it's because I know a lot of them and their routines seem to match mine quite well.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Claire Askew: Poet and other things too

Claire does too many things for me to list, as you can see from this. She writes, teaches, organises and inspires which, coupled with the fact that I'd never seen a photograph that really looked like her meant that I had to try.

Claire Askew

Because she's spent an astonishing proportion of her life to date attached to the University of Edinburgh she suggested that we try around the George Square area. After a bit of a wander and trying to get her to pose with attitude in the underpass, this one pleased me.