Regular Updates

Regular updates are something that I think most working professionals seem to struggle with at one point or another; in my case it's becoming a common theme.  At the stage I'm at in my career I go through quiet spells and busy spells.  The quiet spells allow me time to consider marketing, look at updating my portfolio, and explore personal projects, whereas the busy times allow me to visit and photograph interesting architectural and sculptural commissions.

Keeping any potential clients and followers of my work updated is an important aspect to any business these days as the digital medium allows anyone, anywhere to access my photography.

I was recently introduced to an innovative contractor called Nest through Dress for the Weather and their project at Crown Gardens in Glasgow's West End.  I have since photographed several of their smaller projects including a re-shoot of Crown Gardens to add some images for publication in Homes and Interiors Scotland magazine which was featured in this month's edition.

The first project was in Anniesland and was a spacious stylised bathroom refurbishment.  It was a lovely introduction to Nest's unique style and use of materials.  It included some weathered timbers matched with a contemporary sink, wc and bathtub.

The second project was a more traditional refurbishment in terms of the fact that it was merely to refresh an old space rather than fully update and redesign an existing one.  

The third  project I photographed solely for Nest included a new utility extension, refurbishment of several rooms and re-purposing of the outdoor space.  The extension was clad in timber with a neat seamed metal roof.  The rear of the existing dining kitchen was opened up with bi-fold doors to the back garden.  The refurbishment also included an internal shower room which was completely revamped and updated.

The most recent project I photographed was just along the road from the last one, and involved opening up the rear wall to the garden via long bi-fold doors and opening up the living room to the large dining-kitchen.  On the upper floor a dormer window was added to increase the size of room and make the room usable as a child's bed/playroom.

I've really enjoyed these projects given the residential scale and the immediate benefit that these projects are giving to the clients.  I appreciate the opportunity to photograph these jobs  and hopefully give them some exposure and show them to a wider audience.

The Glasgow Institute of Architects

Over the last couple months I have had several great discussions with people involved in some of Scotland's top authorities in Architecture, including the Royal Institute of Architects in Scotland (RIAS), the Glasgow Institute of Architects (GIA) and the University of Strathclyde Architecture Department.  

2016 was recently announced as the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design for Scotland (Source), and as a result these architectural bodies wish to collaborate and celebrate Architecture in Scotland in 2016.  A potentially great opportunity for me to assist in displaying and publicising the activities and architecture on show by architects and by the students and graduates who are patiently waiting in the wings.

GIA President Michael Dougall discusses their installation in the workshop

GIA President Michael Dougall discusses their installation in the workshop

Michael Dougall is the current GIA President and also tutors at Strathclyde University.  It was through his work with the 1st Year Architecture Dept that I met him, and he gave me the opportunity to photograph at this years GIA Awards Dinner.

Michael Dougall at Wiston Lodge with Strathclyde Architecture Dept

Michael Dougall at Wiston Lodge with Strathclyde Architecture Dept

I have been a guest at this event on several occasions going back around 4-5 years, as has been the case in recent years it was held in the West End's Oran Mór.  The venue is spectacular visually, a myriad of colour, however technically it proved somewhat of a challenge to photograph. The pinks and blues of the LED lighting combined with the AV presentation meant the room was generally dark, specifically in the triple height central space (where the majority of people were sat.) 

The speaker for the evening was Mr Mark Beaumont, adventurer, athlete and after dinner speaker.  He spoke about his journey around the Commonwealth with the Queen's Baton, visiting a host of interesting places and peoples.  His interesting talk highlighted the privileges or lack thereof that some of the athletes had when training and how well they did to compete at such a level. 

Compere for the evening was the President himself Michael Dougall, I was able to get some great backlit shots of him speaking to the room full of GIA members.

The Design Awards were presented by Robin Webster complete with tartan trews.  I was lucky enough to have had my photographs represent the Scenic Routes projects, Hutchesons' Hall and the Athole Lane garage by Linearchitecture.

I was pleased to watch the awards unfold and be involved in the commendation of two projects and the winner for one of the Scenic Routes project "Woven Sound" by John Kennedy.  The judging process involves and initial submission which should explain the project via words but more importantly captured through photographs. So for these projects to have done so well, I'm delighted.

The whole team at Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park Authority were delighted, and from a personal point of view I really hope this spurs on the potential from expansion of the Scenic Routes as I'd love it to move onto the Western side of the National Park.

Overall I had a great evening and got to speak to some really interesting people.  I'm really happy at the fact I was lucky enough to be involved with some of the entrants and hope I can be again in the future, especially with such an exciting time coming up for Architecture in Scotland.

Wiston Lodge

Following my successful shoots for Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park Authority photographing the Scenic Routes installations I was commissioned by Strathclyde University Architecture Department (producer of the students responsible for the Scenic Routes projects) to photograph their 1st Year installation design brief.

The project involved several groups/units designing an installation that would ultimately have to be pre-fabricated or constructed on site in the grounds of a place called Wiston Lodge near Biggar.

I was asked if I could document the process by observing one of the penultimate tutorial sessions in the studios at the Strathclyde Architecture Department in Glasgow.  The tutorial that I attended demonstrated the culmination of the several weeks work and decision making that resulted in each group member designing an installation, then the group deciding upon which design to progress and construct for the final presentation.


The students had made intricate models to scale, and created some beautiful sketches that had helped them to work out what was required to build the final designs at Wiston Lodge.

The students had access to the University workshop, allowing for some form of pre-fabrication to take place prior to being on site in Biggar.

The construction phase was over a two day period and I attended on site on the second day, this way I was able to photograph the installations that had already been completed, and the process of the installations that were under-way and pushing to be finished for the deadline that evening.

The range and quality of the work was excellent and it meant that every project was completely different.  I tried to capture each one within its own context, as I knew t his had originally been a factor within the design process.

One of my favourites was a design created the day before I had arrived, located at the top of a small waterfall, an interior space had been created by simply defining the boundaries with a red rope.  This meant the user was guided into and around the space without inhibiting the views of the forest and winding water at all.

Several of the constructions were being worked on well into the darkness and as a result allowed me to light them artificially.  Had they been finished slightly earlier I could have possibly made use of the wonderful golden light that flooded the 'red rope' project on these as well.

I had a great day at Wiston Lodge and really enjoyed the experience of seeing these installations come to life.  The location was amazing, with such diversity in surroundings in a relatively close proximity.  The weather was crisp and the light fantastic, overall, a fantastic opportunity for me and hopefully a great showcase for these students and their creations.

GIA Awards

Original Post Date - 17th September 2014

The Glasgow Institute of Architects hold a competition every year called the GIA Design Awards, this allows Glasgow based architects to duel it out in a variety of categories for projects completed within the last year.

I have been lucky enough to have photographed several of the projects entered into the competition this year. Two specifically for promotion and competition entry and one which is an image I originally shot for The Glasgow Building Preservation Trust.

Hutchesons Hall for GBPT

Hutchesons Hall for GBPT

Last year one of the projects I photographed was commended in the "Conservation" category, a refurbished Victorian Primary School in Rutherglen. A step in the right direction for me as the competition is judged based on a visit to the location and on the photographs provided with the competition entry.

Athole Lane Garage by Linearchitecture

Athole Lane Garage by Linearchitecture

Two of this years entries are unfortunately in the same category so will be competing against each other for the main prize in the "Small Works" category, however there is still the chance of a commendation and the potential for some increased exposure to my work. Garage at Athole Lane by Linearchitecture is a timber clad new build garage in Glasgow's West-end and the Scenic Routes installations by Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park Authority that I featured a few blogs back.

Mirrored Lookout by Daniel Tyler and Angus Ritchie

Mirrored Lookout by Daniel Tyler and Angus Ritchie

Woven Sound by John Kennedy

Woven Sound by John Kennedy

Sloc nan Sitheanach Faerie Hollow by Ruairidh Campbell Moir

Sloc nan Sitheanach Faerie Hollow by Ruairidh Campbell Moir

These awards are a chance for architects to show what they have been working on and designing over the course of 2013/14 but it also provides a fantastic platform for photographers such as myself who are still taking their first steps into the career of an architectural photographer. I can only hope that year upon year my work gets noticed by some of the entrants and I am allowed to photograph some more of the exciting an fresh projects coming out of Scottish offices in the years to come.

Athole Lane Garage by Linearchitecture

Athole Lane Garage by Linearchitecture

At present I'm happy getting to photograph anything I can and I'd love to be able to go further afield, up north, to the highlands and islands or even abroad to experience these amazing pieces of architecture. The remote architecture featured on some of Scotland's islands has a distinct Scandinavian feel and one that I really like the aesthetic of.

Athole Lane Garage by Linearchitecture

Athole Lane Garage by Linearchitecture

Another recent publication of my 'Mirrored Lookout' images was for RIAS Quarterly Magazine (The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland) which featured a double page header image and a full page. It was a pleasant surprise to have my work appear in such a widely read publication, and one from such a prominent body in architecture in Scotland.

Hopefully as I continue to photograph for events like this, hosted by the GIA and other bodies such as RIAS I can get further opportunities to work with Scotland's Architects.
GIA Athole Lane Garage - Linearchitecture GIA Scenic Routes GIA Hutchesons Hall

Past Projects & Personal Time

Original Post Date - 27th AUgust 2014

Recently I've been reflecting on my past projects and how I spend my personal time out with work. I really want to regain that enthusiasm and creativity that I feel has been reduced or pushed aside since leaving education, and move back to inventing my own narratives and projects.

I remember at the time I used to have ideas overflowing when it came to "self-initiated" briefs, yet now when I look to create something new and original my mind moves to logistics and time management. These things are obviously a factor but I seem to find it more difficult than ever to generate these notions of creativity that I used to love piecing together.

It's as if I'm somehow skipping the step of "LETS DO IT" and going straight to "HOW DO I DO IT" which will inevitably lead to the initial concept being watered down and changed before its even an idea! I talked about one of my previous projects in my last blog entry and I think that revisiting past projects is a good starting point.

I would like to go back to a couple of my older projects, one of which involved me using existing light sources at night. I'd like to merge this with the architectural work and try to create some interesting compositions where the focus is light and how the mundane can come alive at night.

I would also like to rekindle my love for environmental portraits, these are what initially caught my eye when I used to research other photographers and images. I love how the context of an image i.e. the surrounding environment can play such an important part, informing the viewer or emphasising the subject.

Creating an idea book, or something similar might be a good place for me to store any thoughts and locations that could help me create something new and original. Ideally I would come up with something commercially viable, or something that could be easily translated into a marketing/advertising environment and be picked up, but these thoughts are also hindering my idea generation so aren't essential going forward.

Regardless, I hope to populate this space more frequently again in the coming months with some new work, both job-wise and personal projects.

If anyone knows of business owners/new starts that would benefit from some photography of products/premises/services then let me know as idea #1 involves me creating a kind of 'introduction to your business'; A set of images that could be used to help get you up and running, populating online space or used in advertising for the new/small/needing-a-kick-start business owner. So get in touch if you think you know someone that would be suitable/benefit from this kind of endeavour!

These images were shot for an independent tomato farmer and encapsulate the kind of thing I'd like to shoot.

Thanks for reading.


Commonwealth Games & Sports

Original Post Date - 29th July 2014

I had the opportunity to head through to Glasgow at the weekend to see the marathon at Glasgow Green, which is of course part of the Commonwealth Games. I've not really been able to make much time to take in any of the games which has been disappointing as the influx of people from all over the world combined with the vibrant colours and sports would make for some fantastic photo opportunities.

As expected the whole place was alive with activity...even at half 8 in the morning...with the men's marathon starting at 9. We headed into Glasgow Green and wandered along the steel fencing that outlined the marathon course; eventually finding our way into the main Games Hub. We had missed the men's start by this point but managed to see the Women starting off and were able to soak up some of the start/finish line atmosphere.

I hadn't particularly set out to shoot the runners (no Kasabian jokes) at any place or for any reason other than I am looking to work on some personal projects relating to sports in the near future. So decided not to get too worked up about positioning or volume of shots. I found myself a decent spot and took some images. I thought I'd take them in a different direction and create some contrasty black and white images as I felt the frozen motion combined with the physicality and expressions of the athletes suited it.

A lot of sports photography relies on instinct and capturing a specific moment of action within a context such as a game, or race. My preferred style is usually to have a set composition, something that looks pre-determined. I really like the idea of combining a pre-planned compositional shot, that in most respects could stand alone, but add in a sporting element, something that turns the image in another direction.

I have previously done something similar but would really like to expand the scope of the project by including some extreme sports and maybe look to get involved with climbing and mountaineering. It has always been a favourite project of mine to date and I am looking forward to planning and watching it grow...

You can find these images and more in the SPORTS section of my website.

Hope you enjoyed these and feel free to share this with anyone who'll listen!

Tunisia in 16:9

Original Post Date - 16th July 2014

I was recently on holiday in Tunisia, a country three years fresh from the Tunisian Revolution that saw its people revolt against high unemployment, corruption and human rights violations. The destination, chosen for its weather and beach front all-inclusive resort of Port El-Kantaoui, offered so much more in terms of rich heritage and history. I decided to go and see as much of it as possible in the little time I was there by taking a two-day excursion; giving a whistle-stop tour of this North African country that, although statistically still wallowing in the firm grips of recession, is peppered with signs of growth.

As always I took along my 5d Mk II, this time equipped with my 17-40mm as I had a particular linear aesthetic that seems to have settled nicely in my mind's eye.

The trip was going to cover 1100km over two days and visit sites such as; El Djem Amphitheatre, Matmata Berber cave dwellings, camel riding in the Sahara Desert, Jeep safari to canyons and dunes, horse and cart riding through an oasis, a visit to the Salt Lakes, and finally a stop at the Great Mosque of Kairouan.

The Colosseum at El Djem was an amazing first hand look at the scale of early architecture and gave a look at just how forward thinking the Romans were in this sense. FUN FACT: According to a tour guide, the Colosseum could evacuate its full crowd (around 35,000 spectators) in around 15 minutes, and was used in the Gladiator film.

Onto the Berber cave dwellings and nearly at the linearity. These houses in the rocks were amazing, (and used as the Lars Homestead in Star Wars) the families that occupy these houses during the day live in modern accommodation but stay here to earn tips from passing tourist buses. The Star Wars dwelling has since been turned into a hotel but still retains some of the original set pieces from the film. Also kittens and doors, who doesn't love a rustic door?

Next up was the Sahara, the pinnacle of the desert stereotype and occupier of so many bucket lists the world over. Check. This experience was pretty special as I shared it with my camel, Colin. The camels were actually unnamed however I thought it apt to personalise my camel from the rest. The Sahara got quite sandy... luckily I had my Giottos Rocket Blower with me which was used for about an hour after we went back on the bus.

I love the cinematic aspect ratios of 16:9 to 21:9 and have really found that they suit my style of shooting straight on, looking for symmetry and lines; a hangover from studying architecture I feel.

The next day we arose at 4am to start our second leg which allowed us to experience the sun rise over the salt lakes near Tozeur. These lakes change colour from aqua blues to deep bronze depending on what particular minerals have surfaced. Obligatory selfie on Tatooine.

We stopped at several places along this Roman-esque straight road allowing for some great photo opportunities, including some roadside vendors who have shacked up next to some of the deeper pools, selling all manner of things, from salt roses, to dolls and bones of the less fortunate beasts who roam these plains. Not far from these vendors, we swapped bus for jeep and ventured into the rocky hills where I was able to take an obligatory cliff selfie.

The journey continued to Tozeur, where our next mode of transportation awaited, a horse and cart trip into an urban oasis, divided into plots of 1-5 hectares owned by different families. Here we were given a demonstration of how the trees are climbed and date are picked. Our instructor being a 53 man that had been doing this for 40 years.

In the denser urban environments I was able to get a better look at the cross section of Tunisian life, the groups of men gathered on many of the streets hinting at the near 30% unemployment rate. The mix at the moment between the old ways (which need to remain for tourism) and the countries modern youth make for an interesting juxtaposition.

Our last stop was in Kairouan where due to Ramadan, the mosque was only open to the public in the morning. However, as usual I found something which I feel photographed well...on the conveniently placed rooftop of the tour guides friends shop. 

The ornate and historic architectural work found throughout Tunisia is worth seeing, from its seemingly basic carving out of rock, to its intricate mosaic patterns and designs. The friendly appreciative (however persistent) nature of the revitalised population adding to the experiences brought by its rich heritage and history.

These two days were well worth my while and I would recommend this to get a small snapshot of what Tunisia really has to offer, the still developing beach resorts could potentially mask, even so soon after the revolution, this countries true potential.

Hopefully you enjoyed my images and insight, thanks for looking.

Loch Lomond & Trossachs

Original Post Date - 3rd July 2014

After the success of Daniel Tyler and Angus Ritchie's reflective metal box I thought I'd post some of the other images that I have been photographing for Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park Authority. I've been having a love hate relationship with the locations of these new installations as the surroundings are stunning, but they have their own micro-climate! Whenever I check the weather for the area its never quite what the weather is like at The Falls of Falloch and Loch Lubnaig...

The new additions to the park were officially revealed last week by the Park Authority but are still bedding in to their new environments. The installation at The Falls of Falloch, Woven Sound, is beside a beautiful fast flowing waterfall near Killin and is an intricate yet industrial woven tunnel leading to an open view of the falls.

It's integration with the dense green landscape allows for the installation to be discovered, which then leads to the final reveal of the falls which it has been designed to frame. Along with the other installations commissioned by the National Park Authority, the projects reflect some of the inspiration between these creations and the site itself; the final reveal sitting above a diary entry from Dorothy Wordsworth recalling the numerous Romantic writers and painters who visited the Falls in the early 19th century.

Finally, I've returned to Loch Lubnaig a few times to it's 'unique' micro-climate to visit a new viewpoint called Sloc nan Sitheanach or Faerie Hollow created by Ruairidh Campbell Moir. It has proved to be my meteorological nemesis having visited 3 times in 2 weeks to be thwarted by the rain. Even on one of the nicest days everywhere else in Scotland, it was dreach and dull.

Slightly longer blog today as these have been the focus of my time in the park over the recent weeks. More information can be found regarding the Scenic Routes initiative by visiting this link.Some of my and the National Park's images can also been seen with more information about each project here on the National Park Website.


To my good friends...

Original Post Date - 24th June 2014

It's not usually my bag, but this weekend I had the privilege of photographing one of my best friend's wedding. It was an amazing day from start to finish and to be so intimately involved was a real honour. The whole process was so smooth from start to finish. Looking through the 1500 odd frames I shot in a little under 12 hours I couldn't help but smile my way through the outline edit. Here are a few early tests of what I shot.

The wedding reception was in the stunning and aptly named "Grand Central Hotel" in Glasgow. However, we took a small detour and entered via the beautiful main concourse in Glasgow Central Station. One quote I overheard said "The must really like trains...".

Reflected Views

Original Post Date - 18th June 2014

Recently I have been carrying out some work with the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park Authority photographing some newly created tourist related installations. I was dispatched last minute to photograph a student installation by Angus Ritchie + Daniel Tyler. The mirrored box looked great in-situ and reflected the ever changing environment that surrounds it. 
I tried to really give a 3rd person feel to the images, kind of looking over the shoulder of the installation as its purpose was ultimately frame certain views. I wanted to include the structure in all of the images and not just the view. The field that the 'lookooterie' is situated in had been used for camping the weekend previous for a foodie festival at the hotel Monachyle Mhor. Then I had to vacate the site due to an over-curious ram protective of its lambs...

The project and thus my images have been garnering some interest from all over the world including the Daily MailArchDailyinhabitat, and dezeen.
For more of my architectural work click here.