Creating Character in Portraiture – a presentation is born

Becoming the May Queen

The Necessary Goddess

I’m honoured to have been invited back to the Digital Creative Group at the Edinburgh Photographic Society to give another presentation of my work. I first presented a selection of my photographs back in March 2013 and had a wonderful time meeting and talking to everyone, so I’m very excited to be returning to such lovely company next week.

This time, my presentation is about Creating Character in Portraiture and I’m very happy to have this opportunity as an artist to share and talk about images of two wonderful women – Erin (top) and Laura (bottom) – representing aspects of the divine feminine.

Because I wanted to do justice to all the symbolic elements in the photographs, I asked Erin and Laura to explain what the make-up, accessories and costume pieces mean to them and I’m going to use their words in the presentation.

I don’t want to talk too much about what I’m going to say because that would be no fun for anyone reading this and then attending the presentation, but I also plan to explain about my lighting and processing techniques and how to work with portraiture subjects to create photographs that capture the imagination.

Preparing for this event has reminded me just how much of a collaborative process the creation of art can be and how lucky I am to be able to work with other creative people to make images that mean something to us and hopefully to the people who look at them.

Through the years – archives on Facebook

Archives on Facebook

For the last few months, I’ve been uploading a selection of photos from each year since 2005 to Facebook. I’ve finally caught up (yay!) and my archives are available to view here.

Summer of droidography

Snaps and snippets of summer 2014, captured on my Samsung Galaxy S3

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Nature draws lines

Textures and Transitions 01

Textures and Transitions 02

Textures and Transitions 03

Transitions and textures on the beach :-)

Chancelot Mill

Chancelot Mill in Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Chancelot Mill in Leith, Edinburgh is one of my favourite buildings. It’s imposing and bleak and kind of ugly, and it looks somewhat out of place amidst the new apartments and retail units that have sprung up around it. I’ve always imagined it having a bit of a “Screw you!” attitude, mostly because I tend to anthropomorphise pieces of architecture for no apparent reason.

VSCO Cam and things seen on wanderings around Edinburgh

That Building

In my quest to explore taking interesting pictures with my Android phone and using nifty apps to do fun stuff with them, I downloaded VSCO Cam, a rather fabulous offering for mobile devices from Visual Supply Co (VSCO). The app has a camera built in, which I haven’t used yet, and allows you to apply the visual style of various types of film to your photos. A few different film types come included with the app and you can buy LOADS more from the store in Collections, priced from 99c to a few dollars, with even more presets also available for free.

Enjoy The View

The app itself is really easy to use and intuitively laid out. Once you select the film preset that you want to use, you can then choose how strong you want the effect to be. It doesn’t stop there. Delve further into the tools and you’ll find exposure, temperature, contrast, rotation, cropping, fade, vignette, tint, saturation, shadow and highlight darkness/brightness, sharpening, grain and shadow and highlight tint, all with intensity that you can set.

Dandelion Snow

You can save the resulting images to your own gallery on your device, share on social media, email your pictures and use VSCO’s own Grid publishing platform, which refreshingly seems to prioritise the imagery itself rather than likes/follows/other social media type validation and popularity systems. Full disclosure, I haven’t actually gotten around to using Grid yet because at this point I just do not need yet another thing to become obsessed with, but what I’ve read about it looks pretty wonderful.

Follow Your Path

The app is free (yay!) so whether you take this whole photo-editing-on-mobile-devices thing very seriously indeed, or just want a new toy to play with, I fully recommend it.



I’ve been spending quite a bit of time on Calton Hill lately for Beltane rehearsals, which is lovely because it’s a beautiful place with gorgeous things to take photos of. This is the Nelson Monument, built between 1807 and 1815 in honour of Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson. If you’re interested in finding out more, check out Wikipedia and if you fancy seeing the amazing view of Edinburgh from the top, you can find visitor information here on the Edinburgh Museums’ website.