broad daylight blog

Saturday
Jan122019

planes, trains and automobiles…and food

Sir Brian Souter © broad daylight

Our portrait of Sir Brian Souter is currently on show in ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’, an exhibition at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery that celebrates transportation photographs from the National Galleries of Scotland’s archive.

The portrait is in good company with luminaries such as Humphrey Spender and Alfred Stieglitz on display alongside images taken by Dave Williams, Iain Mackenzie and Joe Rock.

Our portrait of Sir Brian Souter, founder of the Stagecoach Group, was taken for a project entitled ‘Entrepreneurial Scotland: Portraits of Inspiration’ which was commissioned by The Entrepreneurial Exchange, now known as Entrepreneurial Scotland.

The initial set of portraits featured 22 Entrepreneurial Exchange ‘Hall of Fame’ members including leading lights such as Sir Jackie Stewart, Richard Tait, Ann Gloag, Sir Tom Hunter and Jim McColl. A book was produced to accompany the exhibition which was shown to great acclaim in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in 2007. The SNPG subsequently acquired the set of portraits for it’s permanent collection. The National Portrait Gallery in London also holds several of the portraits in it's archive.

The Exchange continued to commission portraits of new ‘Hall of Fame’ inductees for several years after the exhibition and we were lucky enough to photograph people such as Joe and Jim Walker, Akmal & Afzal Khushi, Ann Budge and Maitland Mackie. The project now consists of 45 portraits documenting some of Scotland's leading wealth creators.

You can see more of the portraits from the above project by clicking here

 
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‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ is on at The Scottish National Portrait Gallery until 13th January 2019

Also up and running is a website entitled ‘Alan Hill Beyond The Hotplate’ (www.alanjhill.com). Alan is one of the UK's most respected food-industry leaders with many years experience having worked at Edinburgh’s Caledonian Hotel and The Savoy Grill in London. Alan has also been instrumental in making Gleneagles the world-renowned hotel it is today. Additionally he has coached and mentored many chefs and businesses in the food industry.

Alan Hill © broad daylight

Alan's website uses three portraits we took of him during a session commissioned by Sam Hinks of HinksBrandwise. The brief was to get a portrait of Alan that was illustrated ‘communication’ as this is a very important element in what he does. We went for a relaxed style for the website shots but we also took a couple of more formal portraits of Alan in his chef’s whites that he can be used for other purposes.

Alan Hill © broad daylight

Alan Hill © broad daylight

Monday
Nov192018

the old welcomes the new

Founded in the 15th century the University of St Andrews is Scotland’s oldest seat of learning. We have worked with the University for many years (decades not hundreds) so we were delighted to be commissioned to produce a series of portraits that reflect the international reach of the University.

We photographed sixty-two students over a total of four days in a small studio that we set up in a lecture room. The studio had to be simple as the days were not consecutive and it needed to be dismantled between shoot dates. We had to ensure that the lighting and camera position were consistent for all of the portraits. To do this we marked the positions of the lights and tripod with small pieces of gaffer tape. We also took reference photographs of the set up and made some notes just in case the cleaners removed the gaffer tape, which happened once before Šnever again!

We used a black velvet backdrop, three flash units, a Hasselblad tethered to a laptop plus an iPod for music plus lots of coffee and tea.

Emma and Lesley (our contacts at the University) did a great job recruiting a diverse and interesting group of students for us to photograph. We took numerous photographs of each student in a variety of poses and worked hard to help them relax. As is always the case some people came out of their shells a little more easily than others but they all got into it and were a joy to photograph.

Choosing one portrait per person was pretty difficult so it was decided that the students would be portrayed four times (one large image plus three small images) on their print. This was a great solution as it gave us the opportunity to show each person in various poses and Œstates of mind such as thoughtful, happy etc.

To accompany their portraits the students have produced short passages of text conveying their thoughts on the University, St Andrews, Scotland and their hopes for the future.

The University’s Print & Design Unit has produced beautiful large prints of the portraits that will be exhibited around the University under the title 'Internationally Scottish' from the 4th of December.

Check out some of the portraits and the video below.

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Thursday
Jul052018

A portrait, the Trossachs and lots of midges!

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Last night one of our most recent portraits was unveiled at a cocktail event in Glasgow, unfortunately we couldn't be there due to work commitments but hopefully everyone had a great timeŠ and we can have cocktails at another unveiling!

The portrait is of Hazel Brooke MBE formerly the Chair of Court at Glasgow Caledonian University.

In addition to working within education (Glasgow University as well as GCU) Hazel has chaired several international committees in relation to health and was granted an MBE for her services to Cot Death research. Hazel was also a non-Executive Director of Yorkhill NHS Trust, a member of Greater Glasgow Health Board’s Clinical Governance Committee and chaired Specialist Registrar Selection Committees for Greater Glasgow Health Board….PHEW!

Before taking the portrait we interviewed Hazel and discovered that she is a lover of the outdoors and has been involved in the ‘greening’ of the GCU campus. She likes to spend her free time hill walking and rambling, the Trossachs being one of Hazel’s favourite areas to visit and unwind.

We decided that a portrait that illustrated the work/play aspects of Hazel’s life was the order of the day. As this is an official, commemorative portrait Hazel had to be portrayed wearing her GCU robe…so that was the ‘work’ aspect taken care of. We drove around the Trossachs on a very, very wet day looking for a suitable location. We wanted somewhere that reflected Hazel’s calm, elegant persona. It also had to conjure up a feeling of reliability…of being grounded and of new growth. We found the perfect location at the Forestry Commission’s ‘Queen Elizabeth Forest Park’ near Aberfoyle. Tall moss laden tree trunks in a cathedral like space suited us perfectly…we just needed to wait on spring and better weather to give us the ‘new growth’ element of the portrait.

A few weeks later on a warm. humid day the portrait took session took place. As usual we arrived early to set up camera, lights, laptop etc. One thing we hadn’t anticipated was midges…millions of midges. Fortunately Hazel called us on our mobile before coming down to the location and we we’re able to ask her to buy some midge repellent at The Lodge Forest Visitor Centre. Hazel stood in a spot that wasn’t quite as beleaguered as the camera position…without the repellent, hats, long sleeved shirts and high necked collars we may have had to cancel…as it was we cried for days.

Technical information: The shot was taken on our Hasselblad fitted with a digital back and lit with two flash units. We had to check each shot as we took it because when we looked through the camera’s viewfinder we could see midges crawling all over the place. Luckily they were on the focussing screen. We used Lightroom and Photoshop in post-production. The final portrait was supplied to the client beautifully framed by Amber Arts, Montrose Terrace in Edinburgh.

The moral of this story? - always, always take midge repellent when you’re working in the Scottish countryside on warm, humid and windless days…either that or shoot your photos in the winter!

 

 

Wednesday
Feb072018

photographing a striking building under a vast sky

A recent commission from multi-award winning architects Reiach and Hall saw us travelling north to the wide-open skies of Wick in Caithness. The brief was to photograph ‘Nucleus: The Nuclear and Caithness Archives’, a building that Reiach and Hall designed for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. We were asked to take photographs that not only capture this stunning building but also come back with images that reflect the character of the location in which it is situated.

 

The building’s design makes subtle use of cues from the surrounding landscape and the history of Caithness. Neolithic chambered cairns, standing stones, local geology, Wick Airport, the layout of the surrounding fields, the weather and wide open skies all contribute to realising a design that whilst being cutting edge echoes the region’s history and references the neighbouring environment.

We were on site for sunrises and sunsets so that we could capture the building against dramatic skies as the light raked across the landscape highlighting it’s elevations. We also photographed it at other times of the day in order to illustrate the effect the sun’s position has on the building’s exterior and interior. Inside it feels very open with extensive views to the outside and ‘internal lochans’. The use of large glass walls (some with coloured transparent panels) allows in lots of light and, when looking at the building from the outside, reflect the ever-changing sky. The exterior cladding is beginning to weather giving the exterior a beautifully understated patina.

 

 

This is a great building to photograph as it has so many dynamic viewpoints and it’s appearance changes in tune with the weather and time of day. It’s also a really good building to visit. Staff that we spoke to love the interior's atmosphere as do members of the public who can utilise the Caithness Archive section, all in all a fab and dramatic building.

 

We shot on Nikons and Fuji X Series cameras, the resultant files were adjusted in Lightroom and Photoshop. We didn’t need any filters to get drama into the shots as that was already there in abundance…we’ve only just dried out!

Reiach and Hall won two top awards for this amazing building in ‘The Architect’s Journal Architecture Awards 2017’. The richly deserved awards are for ‘Public Building of the Year’ and ‘AJ Editor's Choice of the Year’….well done Reiach and Hall!

Friday
Nov242017

a sculpture, a metal worker, a book & an exhibition

Earlier this year we were commissioned to take a series of photographs for a limited edition commemorative book. The images document the installation and unveiling of a statue depicting William Henry Playfair, the architect who helped Edinburgh gain it’s “Athens of the North” nickname.

The statue was created by Alexander Stoddart, Queen's Sculptor in Ordinary in Scotland. We’re no strangers to Sandy’s work as we photographed him for our ‘as others see us’ project (here)…in fact anyone wandering about Edinburgh can see several examples of his civic monuments dotted around the city.

We travelled to Nairn, not far from Inverness, to take photographs at Black Isle Bronze Ltd where the statue had been cast. Unfortunately the casting process had taken place before it was decided to commission the book. It was still a valuable trip however as we were able to take portraits of several people who had worked on the Playfair statue and were also able to document their working methods.

We entered one of the portraits of Andy, who is a metal worker at Black Isle Bronze, into the Scottish Portrait Awards and were lucky enough to have it chosen for exhibition. All of the photographic portraits in the SPA exhibition had to be monochrome but we’d originally taken the shot in colour and really like that version too so we’ve included both in this post.

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Below is small selection of other images taken for the project. They show the arrival and unloading of the statue, the stonemasons working, Sandy checking progress, details of the completed work and a couple of book spreads. Some of these shots were used in the book (which we designed and produced), whilst others are just images that we like but weren’t appropriate for the final publication.

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book spread © broad daylight

book spread © broad daylight

book spread © broad daylight

SPA exhibition © broad daylight

SPA exhibition © broad daylight

Also above are two installation images taken at Scottish Portrait Award exhibition which runs until the 2nd of December at the Scottish Arts Club, 24 Rutland Square, Edinburgh. Opening times and further information can be found here

The statue can be seen outside The National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh’s Chambers Street and is part of a rejuvenation of the street to create a public plaza. The redevelopment project was jointly funded by National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh City Council and The University of Edinburgh University along with a number of private donations.