Photographic year in review

While starting to look ahead to 2019 I also took a wee look back at 2018 which despite happenings in the wider world, was a pretty exciting one for me. I kicked off the year with the second of my Night Circus portraits. Where Poppet looks to the future, Widget works with memory, reading the past.

In February James and I headed off to visit the Isle of Arran and experienced true island living when the beast from the east shut down the ferries and we [tragically] had to spend another day on the lovely island.

Throughout the year I continued my visits to the Granton Castle Walled Garden  a truly special place growing plants and community in North Edinburgh. I feel privileged to be helping tell the story of this next chapter in its life and was thrilled to have some of my images included in the Edinburgh Shoreline Exhibition at the Royal Botanic Garden over the summer.

granton castle walled garden

stacks of freshly harvested garlic

To celebrate my 35th birthday my friend Aurelia and I hopped on bikes and toured around the Kintyre Peninsula and inner Hebrides. The highlight for me was visiting Finlaggen, historic seat of the Lord of the Isles.

August brought adventure of a very different kind as I headed off to Malmo, Sweden to present at the International Degrowth Conference hosted in Malmo’s famous Folkets parks. My presentation was a success but I left with even more questions than I started off with!

With that challenge accomplished it was time for some holiday, destination: North. I’ve wanted to visit Orkney and Shetland for over a decade and while we wouldn’t be going all the way to Shetland on this trip there was a wee cottage in Stromness with our name on it. After just over a week of battling the fierce winds on our bikes, touring the hear of neolithic Scotland and curling up watching £1 DVDs from the charity shop down the lane it was off home again.

Stromness nooks and crannies

blue cottage

And straight into photographing for the Beltane Fire Society’s autumn festival of Samhuinn.

Samhuinn Fire Festival 2018

Beltane and Samhuinn, the two major festivals put on by the society are both strong draws for me. While the society has to manage the balance between professional production and community ritual and celebration I feel the latter still wins out. To me they are a reminder and celebration of the cycles of nature, something we need more than ever as humankind struggles to rebalance itself within our habitat’s natural boundaries. Photographing for the festival was a challenge and it was not without huge amounts of stress and frustration but I have come out the other side a more skilled photographer for it.

Samhuinn Fire Festival 2018

Come November it was counting the days until Christmas and trip to see the family in the Sussex countryside with time for reflection and planning ahead.

Happy Hogmanay!

A taste of car free streets

For clean air day the City of Edinburgh Council closed off sections of George St, Hanover St and the Mound creating space for people centred activities. I took some time at the temporary lounging and arts area on George st to see what possibilities open up for how we use our public spaces.

Can Photography be the Cure for Boredom?

Every year or so I fly to Tucson, Arizona to visit my parents. While I tend to shorthand with people to say I am going ‘home’ it’s not really true. My parents moved out to AZ while I was in my second year at University so I’ve never lived there and know no one outside of my parents and brother.

Also I should say they don’t live in down town Tucson but in a town 30 miles south jokingly referred to as God’s Waiting Room. Besides it being important for me to see my family when I live so far away I now try to see these couple of weeks a year as creative challenges.

With my trusty Olympus OM-D at my side, my camera of choice for travelling, I can entertain myself through almost any outing. Like this trip to a local garden centre to shop for plants to add to back patio. Gardening has never really been my thing and the desert is not my climate of choice (I moved to Scotland!).

But meandering around photographing plants was not only a great way to pass the time and help prevent me from reverting to my younger self whining about when we could leave,  but it also helped me develop more appreciation for the beauty and resilience of desert life.

Even when I’m back home in Edinburgh and find myself sitting in a boring conversation, a play that isn’t that engaging, or film that should have had better editors (Last Jedi) and don’t have the luxury of having my camera, photography can still save the day.  I simply entertain myself either by studying the lighting or thinking about how I would photograph it if I did have my camera.