Photography Blog by Duncan Holmes
So, with the prospect of a Friday night in front of the TV, I was enticed away by an invite from Charlie Ross, leader of a new Glasgow based dance troupe, Slanj Pride. There were a couple of things that drew me to this 1. a chance to shoot dance up close, an opportunity that doesn't often arise and the beautiful location at Mar Hall.
I'd been considering making my way to this beautiful hotel to drop off a few business cards and try and get on to their wedding supplier list. I was somewhat daunted by the surfeit of albums from other photographers along the main hall, and with no wedding in my pocket at the venue, I chickened out of this plan.
I did have a lovely meal at Il Posto, the restaurant in the grounds of the hotel, before meeting up with the 7 (later 8) ladies of Slanj Pride, their kilt supplier, Brian and Brian's pal who was videoing on his SLR.
The event was a charity dinner following gold event at the hotel's course. The aldies weren't due on until 8:30 (eventually just after 9) so we had some time to grab quick head shots and group shots out in the grounds. It was a cold evening, so needless to say the shots outside were quite speedy. I was then treated to the sight of the ladies practising and testing out their interchangeable kilt fronts. They practised to beats so each move was an echo of a "duh".
It was a lot mroe impressive when they finally sprang into coordinated action in front of the dinner guests. A Scottish piece which evolved from a few highland dance steps into a mixture of pompom waving cheerleading and dancing. It certainly woke them up.
A charity auction ensued, with the ladies of the troupe holding up the prizes, some of which went for eye watering prices, all in a good cause of course.
The final raffle draw was performed by Ricky Ross (whom I had last seen in the flesh at Whitley Bay Arena at a Deacon Blue gig, before most of the dance troupe had been born. Needless to say, with all this dancing youth about me, I did feel the weight of my years a little. A final dance to a Deacon Blue tune and the ladies were free for a few more shots before packing up and leaving.
Some of the pics can be seen over on my Flickr pages, including some with the troupe in the midst of their routines.
The strange thing about building networks of fellow creative minds, whether they be designers, stylists, makeup artists, models, singers, artists etc. is that life can sometimes lead you down some unusual avenues.
My friend, Jacki Clark, who had helped style some of my fashion shoots, has a sideline organising cabaret and burlesque nights in Glasgow. This latest creation, the Baby Blues Club, which she formed with the singer, Michelle Elli, was a new variation on the theme.
I arrived a little early, after indulging in some tapas in the upstairs restaurant, then descended down the stairs and turned left into music heaven. Michelle and her band were starting their sound checks and I walked in on Minnie the Moocher in full swing, With sax, horn, drums, double bass and keyboard the band gave a big band feel on the small stage and Michelle's velvety whisky voice just made me melt.
I watched Jacki slowly pull the show together over the last few minutes and fend off eager patrons and then we were ready to begin.
Our compere for the evening was Gary, a familiar face who had hosted the Candylicious fashion show earlier in the year, with equal aplomb. He did seem to come over all obsessed about Geordie Shore at one stage, but I'm sure he's recovered now.
After an introductory piece by Michelle and our band, Terry turned up with his table, a briefcase and two chairs. A few rope tricks, some cards and cup and ball games later and he was whispered off the stage due to overrunning slightly.
Now I hadn't know what to expect from the next act on the play sheet, One Blood, a troupe of breakdancers. They performed 3 routines during the evening and each one was a marvel of movement, athelticism and dance, running up walls, twisting on the floor and body popping. It was a break from the jazzy, blues feeling of Michelle's band but strangely it worked as a piece of entertainment in this low ceilinged darkly lit club, speakeasy cabaret brought into the modern age.
After another couple of numbers from Michelle and her band it was the turn of the first of our burlesque dancers for the night. Vendetta Vain appeared, exquisite in a ballgown and opera gloves and graced us with an elegant dance routine. Now I'm just a country boy at heart, so I'm ok with burlesque right up until the tassels come out, when I get a little angsty and unsure about how savoury the whole thing is. Vendetta's approach made me forget all those worries and I was captivated by her routine, even as I had to remind myself to stop admiring and take a picture or two.
Now I guess, before I go any further in the recounting of the night's events, I should give you a little view of Michelle and her band at work. I'm not so old that I ever got to see the greats live in their clubs and bars. Often when you hear folk render tunes like Is you is, Minnie the Moocher, and others, either the band or the singer don't quite have that undefinable "something". Michelle and her band brought me back to the dream of those times and those places and our little underground club, home of the Baby Blues was a living breathing taste of all that is good about music. (i guess you can tell I liked them).
After another delve into breakdancing we were graced with the energetic routine of Favourite Sin, in keeping with the evening it had a little old fashioned gangster edge to it.
The fabulous night was brought to a rousing close with a duet of a kind. As Michelle sang to our souls, the boys of One Blood danced in turn and in syncopated synchronicity to the music.
I don't know when they might return to Glasgow's fair city, but I can't help feeling that the streets shine a little brighter, the people are more beautiful, the world is a better place, now that the Baby Blues is in town.
It all began with a desire to create some images, usingmodels, that I could use to promote my wedding photography business. The search for models lead me onto the sites Model Mayhem and Purestorm, both of which offered castings as a way of joiningup models, makeup artists and photographers. Through castings on both sites Igathered together a range of potential models, which were then whittled down by myself and the dress designer who had agreed to loan her dresses for the shoot.
Whilst browsing the forums on Purestorm I spotted an open day shoot for a Red Nose Day shoot at Dreghorn Studios, announced by Gerry Quiff and indirectly from that found out about the Scottish Creative Network.
Also whilst browsing castings for photographers I happened upon a request from Punk Morvs and discovered the band I’m Sick. I even had some fun taking pictures of them at a gig they were doing and again at a later gig.
During the Red Nose Day shoot I shot pictures of AdeleRobertson in clothes by Nicola Napier (nicci.n) and also met a couple of fellowphotographers. I also got to meet,albeit briefly, Miel (Lisa Heidinger) who had also answered the casting for thebridal shoot.
From conversing with Adele following the RND shoot I was able to do some photos of her catwalk show at Inspire the Attire and thereby bump into requests to share photos with some of the designers and models involved on the night.
One of the makeup artists for the bridal shoot mentioned a night at the Oran Mor, where students from James Watt college were showing their end of year work, inspired by film for the most part.
My bridal shoot allowed me to meet five lovely models, a couple of makeup artists and whilst it was not entirely without hitches, it did give me a lot of confidence for the future.
I organised a mini shoot with some outfits from nicci.n and with Camille Young, a catwalk model from Inspire the Attire. A rainy day in the Botanic Gardens with makeup by Hayley Robertson.
I went along to the Hidden Lane and managed to boldly grab some photos of Silvia Pellegrino’s Chouchou Couture catwalk show, along withsome group shots of the models in an alley in the rain. Once again I’d found out about this via announcements in the various networking sites such as SCN or Blank Canvas.
I answered a casting call from Susie B in Perth and travelled North to grab some shots at Perth railway station with hats from Hat in the Cat, makeup by Susie and hair by Michelle.
I answered a casting call from a makeup artist, Lynda Joyce and we had a lovely afternoon at Dreghorn Studios with 3 models with Stefan, Flora and Macoula.
In a moment of further madness I decided to try my hand at my own networking event, bringing together 3 photographers and 3 models (we’d hoped for more of course) and a range of vintage outfits and bridal outfits from A J Rendall. It was a fun day out in Mugdock park. This was also a chanceto take pictures of Punk Morvs with her model head on! I also met Jackie Clark,a stylist, who helped us organise the outfits and match them to the models onthe day.
During my search for bridal suppliers I had seen a dress onone of the Chinese wedding dress web sites that I really wanted to shoot. Afterannouncing my intent I teamed up with Miel again to shoot some pictures in thedress at Sloan’s ballroom in Glasgow.
An answered casting call for photographers to shoot a charity calendar lead me to arrive in a Sports centre with a half dozen other photographers, a dozen models and a brief to take pictures in Rangers Supporters Errskine Appeal football strip and evening dresses.
Another studio networking day and I finally got to meet the lovely Nicole Abbott, who’s portfolio I had been admiring from afar.
Another fashion show, The Only Way is Glasgow and I encountered the amazingly talented Megan, the lady behind Nutmeg Couture.
Another networking day at Eglington Park, this time with outfits from Jayne Faye, as well as some of the models' own. Neil MacMillan made it along again with a couple of new faces and models, Jane, Claire and Edmee.
Learning of the Oohfashion Autum/Winter show in Edinburgh,and having time to kill on a Saturday afternoon, I went along to their launchday at a gallery in Edinburgh. I met three lovely models in outfits by Kakao byK and Psychomoda and got some nice pictures. This earned me an invite to theshow itself.
That same day I had been picking up wedding dresses with amodel for a shoot on the Sunday and also visiting a shop in the afternoon toborrow some accessories. This was a shoot I’d signed up for with the ScottishCreative Network at the Radisson Blu hotel. A new call for models had brought me Dom Wilson and Emily Morton, both incredibly talented and beautiful young women and a new call for makeup artists had (I thought) brought me Katie Ford and Cat Gatenby. Cat had an emergency on the day of the shoot though, so Katie was left in the lurch a little. The kind and beautiful Sarah Berens gave us a hand with hair in our extremis and Emily’s contacts brought us Gary Somerville, hot footing it from his Sunday lie in to help out in the afternoon. The morning shoot with the wedding dresses went very well, but the afternoon shoot with the outfits by Obscure Couture and the spectacular work by the two makeup artists really gave the two models a chance to shine and I was incredibly pleased with the final results. I should mention here that Jacki Clark was managing to sneak into our shoot now and then to provide her input again.
Megan of Nutmeg Couture was then kind enough to loan some dresses for a studio day that Neil MacMillan and I had organised for ourselves.This was also another chance to work with Carol, who had modelled for me at thebridal shoot as well as meet some new faces, Priya, Lauren and Rachel.
A night out then in Edinburgh at the Oohfashion show andsome more networking links with designers involved in that one, includingAlison at Psychomoda and C.Watson, a friend of nicci.n.
My earlier contact established with Nicole Abbott now paid off as we decided to have a monster shoot with the models from PerfectlyPetite. This is a group of models that are seeking to broaden the spectrum of women on the catwalk, in magazines and in the media.
Christine (C.Watson) was launching her line in a shop shortly afterwards, also playing host to nicci.n’s works at De la Sole in Edinburgh’s city centre and had asked to use some of the catwalk photos for her launch night. I offered to shoot the clothes properly as I had a weekend free.
The call for this reunited me with Gary Somerville and also Nicole Abbott modelled with another PP model, Gemma Chan. We had a successful day of shooting in central Edinburgh before I ran away in the cold. The only down side of this shoot is that Christine downloaded the pictures to her phone,instead of a PC, thereby rendering them useless for the banners on her launchn ight, though one photo of Nicole did make the discount leaflets.
Another fashion show, the darker halloweenish In the Company of Wolves and I encountered some new designers, the fabulous designs of Velvet Elvis and the classic dresses from Eleanor’s Riot. Some weedling, begging and persuading and with the additional help of Karen Reid Designs and Psychomoda(oohfashion) we had outfits arranged for the big Perfectly Petite shoot.
Once again at Dreghorn Photography, with Gary and 2 newmakeup artists, Poppy and Carla and a hair stylist I had encountered working onone of the other groups at the SCN Radisson Shoot, Lesley we took pictures ofthe 9 models from PP. A contact from the oohfashion show meant that a reporter,Jill, from the Edinburgh Reporter was along, as well as folk from the GlasgowGuardian student paper, who had been in touch with me following the Only Way isGlasgow. We ended up with some fun, weird, daft, stylish andbeautiful images on the day, but I did have a brief collapse around 3pm so Iwas grateful when Stuart, the studio owner, could step in for a few moments andtake a few pics of his own. He’s an affable and engaging host, even as weturned the studio into a scene of chaos and disarray.
Once the dust had started to settle from that shoot I realised that I was actually starting to get people asking to work with me,rather than me always going round with the begging bowl. This lead to a shoot at a new studio (for me), Contrast Studio. With Hazel and Ashleigh as models and clothes by ten30. Cat Gatenby, the makeup artist who had had to fight holes in her roof during the Radisson shoot, was able to help out with makeup and Lesley Docherty came along again to give us fabulous hair. The two models were spectacular on the day, with Ashleigh being made up with white makeup and Hazel a more androgynous black. I even commissioned some specific jewellery from Mhairi at Bonnie Bling, who’s work I had encountered through Obscure Couture and someof the fashion shows.
So the last shoot of the year was in answer to another FBcall from a makeup artist. The chance to shoot vintage clothes from We Love toBoogie Vintage’s pop-up shop and 5 models was not to be sneezed at. It was acold bitter day in Glasgow last Sunday, and the light soon fled the scene afteronly starting at 1pm, but I am quite pleased with the end results here too.Four of the models were new faces from a Glasgow agency, and it was interestingto see how their different personalities were reflected in their poses when they weren’t shivering in the cold. Themakeup by Siobhan Keenan and Lynsey MacDonald was spot on and the simple buteffective hair styles suited the chosen outfits.
And somewhere in between all that I’ve been doing my regularwedding photography, 1 communions, family portraits and payingwork!
My advice to folk trying to break into this lark (you must be mad)...
Don’t be afraid to talk to folk, don’t be afraid to ask and take lots of photos cos now and then you’ll get one that really takes your breath away!
, General Photography
, Model Shoot
, Erskine Hospital
, Radisson Blu
, The Only Way is Glasgow
, In the Company of Wolves
, Perfectly Petite
, We Love To Boogie
So a little while later and I have woken up enough to continue the story of the fashion show in the Sub Club in Glasgow.
The show opened with Sweet Danger. Born of the mind and hands of Leelah Macauley, this range of negligees and nightwear with an edge had also featured in the Oohfashion show across in Edinburgh.
Lilly Love Lock were next up. I'd met Domonique in her other guise as a model, so was thrilled to see her with her other hat on, as a designer. Her Stars and Stripes playsuit drew cheers from the crowd and her T-Shirts caused a stir as well. Her style has a very accessible edge to it, pushing boundaries without trampling them.
Meemee Couture was a little step beyond with wild golds and unexpected frills. Wild fabrics and interesting designs made for an exciting visual experience.
Jenivieve Berlin Millinery were next up. I'd also seen Jenivieve's work at Oohfashion and before that at Inspire the Attire. Her latest series, lace and chain certainly took the darker theme of the night to the edge, with the models gagged and sometimes bound, the only sign of freedom being the wild explosions of feathers, and colours on the models' heads.
Jennie Loof had also been at Inspire the Attire. Her current collection is a lot more inspired by Scottish styled fabrics but with contemporary cuts and styles.
Following Chouchou Couture's display of Holly Hoods, I will never be able to look at bubble wrap the same again. The hoods made for some interesting visuals with the zombiesque makeup the models were sporting.
Linzi Austin played with fashion in interesting ways, from a full bodysuit with green prison arrows to materials and designs that played with the female form.
Athif Dean took things a step beyond again with one outfit made, it seemed, out of hair extensions, and trousers that trailed goat like hair behind. Plus this gothic dress with an impossibly long train.
Then came the intermission.
So, for once I was not able to charm my way in early or be at the head of the queue. My wife managed to snaffle a front row seat by the short catwalk in the Sub Club but it was at the start of the walk, not the end. I hid my disappointment, said hello to Daniela Flores again, and prepared to wait for the hour until the show itself.
The disguised DJ played a range of discordant and unsettling notes to bring the mood. The volume and beat rose as the witching hour of 9pm arrived in a flurry of strobe lighting.
Anyway, it is late now and the photos have almost finished backing up, so the rest of this tale will wait and here's a couple of pics as a taster.
With Autumn drawing itself around us and pretending to be winter, now is normally when things would quiten down for me, with just a few weddings here and there to while away the end of the year.
This year is slightly different, with my recent accidental forays into the world of Scottish fashion.
So tomorrow is the wedding of a friend, across the water in Dunoon. A challenge to my scheduling skills so that I get the right ferry to get to the registry office on time. Luckily, I won't have to worry too much about making the last ferry as it is a ceremony only shoot. This means that we'll grab a few photos with the groom before, a few shots of the ceremony itself and then photos of the newly wed couple and their guests out and about in Dunoon. I'll then run away home to start the usual round of editing and sorting.
Tuesday sees me hitting the road for Edinburgh. Following my recent trip to the Oohfashion Edinburgh launch, Gary, one of the organisers, had given me a press pass to their Fall/Winter fashion show
. I dithered for a little while, mostly due to the distance, but couldn't resist the lure. It may mean a late night though!
Then a brief break away from the norm for my university reunion (20 years since my course began!), which unfortunately is in Madrid. So, I have to spend 5 days in Madrid over my birthday weekend. Words can't express how heartbroken I am!
The day after we get back I am dragging my wife along to another fashion show, this one is supposed to have a darker theme to it. In the Company of Wolves
will take place in the Sub Club in Glasgow on 26th October 2011.
That will be the rest of my October. I'm glad I'm taking the time to rest and relax a little.
In a moment of madness, I answered the invite from the band, I'm Sick,
to don my viking garb and make an appearance in their latest music video.
I borrowed some chainmail and a spectacle helm, and staggering under the weight, made my way to the Garage in Glasgow.
A very surreal 4 hours followed, meeting a juggler whose troop gathered in the same pub as the vikings, some of the band's friends in outlandish garb and me dancing in chainmail
Needless to say i was a wreck after the fact, and my shoulders are telling me they never want to see chainmail again.
Here ae some pics from the shooting. Punk Morvs (the singer) only features as a light stand here, as I was mostly on set when she was.
So, as I may have mentioned in an earlier post, Friday night was my first exposure to the catwalk world of fashion! As with any such event (gigs included), I spent a lot of time wishing for a little more light, or a spotlight or two, but I think I did ok recording the fabulous outfits from a range of designers including:
Tea at Aunties,
and Jenevieve Berlin.
The event was organised by a surprisingly calm Carousadele through her events company G2E Events. It was in aid of Diabetes UK and I'm sure not one of us regretted the ticket price for a chance to see such a fabulous range of fashion.
The host was Kirsty Bruce.
Hair was by the Alan Edwards Salon.
Makeup was by Sara Hill with the Academy of Makeup.
Photographers -Yours truly, Nicole Gardiner, Stuart Campbell, George Monaghan and Nuala Swan.
The short film at the beginning was a cunning take on Phantom of the Opera by Betty Spoke.
The models were Alexandra Prior, Christin Hausman, Laila Hmiddouche, Victoria McCluskey, Julia Bell, Sofie Burley, Lisa Brackenridge, Anna Elizabeth Elliot, Frankie Coan, Camille Young, Lindsay Lowrie, Sophie Robertson, Lauren Andrew and Hollie Hmiddouche.
A full set of unedited images from the show can be found on my Flickr Site:
This second set is from the designer's parade at the end:
and this set is from the half time entertainment, provided by Gav Livz in his guise as N.E.D.:
I've seen some of the fabulous behind the scenes shots from the other photographers and I can't wait to see their catwalk shots too.
Well, I have to make the most of a peaceful weekend this week as next week I kick into full gear.
On Tuesday 31st I'm at a wedding rehearsal in Greenock.
On 3rd June The Garage in Glasgow is playing host to "Inspire the Attire"
, a charity fashion show in aid of Diabetes UK, organised by G2E Events
. I'll be one of the brave photographers at the end of the catwalk to capture the inspiring and inspired clothing thought up by some of Glasgow's talented fashion designers.
On 4th June it's back into wedding mode as Julie and Jamie tie the knot in Greenock (fingers crossed for good weather folks!).
On 5th June the West End Festival has its big Sunday carnival style parade with samba bands, live bands on various stages, stalls and all sorts of fun. I try not to miss this one as it is always a great atmosphere, lots of colour and lots of toe tapping beats.
When Sunday evening finally draws me home I would imagine that I will be spending the forseeable future tied to my computer.
On an unrelated note, the Skinny Villains
who played the Flying Duck a few weeks back have included some of my pics on their Facebook pages,
This was another great chance to broaden my photographic experience and try something new.
I heard call from the delightful Morv to come and take pictures of the band, I'm Sick
, at Slouch
in Glasgow. I had a quick listen to the tracks on their MySpace page and answered the call!
I can't deny a little trepidation, gig lighting is notoriously tricky with the venue being dark, often there's the flashing lights and lots of movement from the band. I figured though, it can't be any worse than DJ Disco lighting at a wedding for the first dance!
As it was a gig I made a few technical decisions in advance. My ISO was bumped up to the max. This process does add noise (speckling in the dark areas that is sometimes called grain, but isn't really) but I thought it would add to the mood a bit. I brought along a flash, just in case, though for some shots it did more harm than good, so most of the gig itself was shot without it.
As we had a while to wait we took a few shots in the cold and wet outside to kill some time. This one was in the lobby as you come into Slouch.
Their turn was supposed to start at 9:30, but some of the other bands
had to be home before midnight, so I'm Sick became the crowning glory of the night around 11 p.m. The other "warm up" bands were mostly not that bad, in fact some were quite good, but I was pleasantly suprised that I'm Sick had a much more polished routine, some general silliness and lots of energy! Along with some great tunes of course!
Congratulations to Morv (singer), Chapman Grove (guitar), Sir Belvedere (bass) and Funky Bo1 (drums), for a truly excellent gig experience!
You can find the full set here on Flickr