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Meeting Glasgow's Creatives: Chantal Allan (Warped Textiles)

Having never been to The Briggait until a couple of weeks ago, I have now visited no less than three times in the space of fourteen days and my latest trip there was to photograph Chantal Allan (Warped Textiles).  Chantal creates fabrics for soft furnishings and accessories and is inspired by nature and maths, especially geometry.

Weaving Loom and Wool Glasgow.jpg

It is always a wee bit strange turning up at someone’s studio to photograph them, after all, with the exception of a few emails, everyone I have photographed for this project have been perfect strangers.  What has been heartening though is that everyone has been friendly and welcoming and most importantly in Chantal’s case, provided tea and biscuits upon arrival.  Cheers.

Chantal and I blethered away about work, family, weaving, photography, visiting Harris… and whatever else came to mind.  It is always great to meet someone for the first time and just be able to make small talk. It really makes a big difference when it comes to photographing them.  Just knowing that the person is comfortable and relaxed makes the process so much easier for both parties involved.

Chantal Allan Warped Textiles.jpg

A large part of the shoot was with Chantal working at her loom.  I am still trying to keep these photographs as natural as possible and this can often mean a lot of images that are unusable for one reason or another.  In Chantal’s case, this was due to the speed she worked at the loom.  It was often difficult to keep up and focus correctly, I really had to try and predict what Chantal was going to do and time each shot.  Not easy at all.

Wool Bobbins Glasgow

Chantal and I knew that some of these images may be used on her Instagram feed as part a #MeetYourMaker promotion so I tried where possible to make sure the images could be easily cropped to a square format if required.

This was a great little shoot.  When I started this project I wanted to try and show the enthusiasm that creative people have for their chosen output and this was abundantly clear with Chantal.   

Remember to check out Warped Textiles website at www.warped-textiles.com.

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Meeting Glasgow's Creatives: Cressa McLaren

Another week passes and my Meeting Glasgow’s Creatives project continues to grow.  It has been difficult for me to keep up with the number of people getting in contact – so if you have contacted me previously I haven’t got back, please contact me again and I will definitely be in touch.

This week I met Cressa McLaren at her studio at the Briggait where she creates all manner of glass pieces including tableware, lighting, her 'Glass Meadow' collection, as well as one-off commission work.

Cressa McLaren at work Glasgow Glass Artist

From the outset I knew this shoot was going to be enjoyable one.  Cressa and I blethered away as if we had known each other for ages.  We spoke about her times as a glass artist in Kirkcudbright and now Glasgow.  We both moaned and enthused about our respective children in equal measure (as parents tend to do).  I was also lucky to see a commission Cressa was working on and we spoke about how such a piece is created.

Meeting and photographing so many different creative people has really been great fun.  Everyone who has participated has been genuinely passionate about their work and all have welcomed me generously.

CRessa Mclaren Glass Meadow Collection

That being said, walking in to so many different situations with minimal photography gear (i dont even bring a flash!) can be very uncomfortable.  I am trying to avoid posed images as much as possible, preferring people to work as they normally would, with me working circling around them.  This has positives and negatives.

Firstly, the lack of a flash means my subjects have been relaxed and natural when I am in there studio - I do not know why, but a lot of people seem to tense up when a flash is used.  Also, I feel flash makes it difficult for visual artists to concentrate on work, thus making my presence more obvious.  Working with no flash has really allowed me to ease up when it comes to working at higher ISO in order to compensate for lack of light.  Many of my shots are taken at 800 or 1250 ISO, something I would previously went to great leaps to avoid.  Don’t get me wrong, I would prefer to be using flash but sometimes working within these restrictions really gets your brain in gear.

Remember to check out Cressa's work at www.cressamclaren.com.

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Tea, coffee and oil paints: Victoria Rose at The Hidden Lane Studios

I have to admit I had never ventured to The Hidden Lane Studios before.  I had always intended to visit but for some odd reason had never got round to it.  The ‘lane’ is home to a myriad of artists, artisans and small business owners so it is well worth going along and having a look around.

Victoria and I meet at the lovely Hidden Lane Tea Room prior to our shoot together.  The tearoom is a great little venue that is adorned with artworks from residents within the ‘lane’ - well worth a visit. 

Victoria_Charlotte_Rose_Hidden_Lane_1

As Victoria and I chatted she let me know that she was currently working mostly with oil paints and I was able to see her working on some cloudscapes when we got to the studio.

I have always been interested in the different environments in which creative people work.  I think it is an important element of the creative process.  Whether a studio is the size of a matchbox or a mansion, spotless (rare, I know) or chaotic, boisterous or silent, it is fascinating to see how the environment shapes the way the creative people thrive.

Victoria_Rose_Hidden_Lane_3

As Victoria worked away I tried to capture her in action.  It was obvious to me than when she painted she was completely at ease and oblivious to my being there – I am pretty sure that if I was not for my incessant questioning, Victoria would not have known I was taking any photographs at all.

If you would like to more of Victoria's work check out her website or at her facebook.

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Photographing Glasgow's Creatives

Following on from my last post about my project photographing artists and creatives based in Glasgow, I carried out my second shoot at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS).

John_Panagiotou-Composer_RCS.jpg

I was photographing John, a Greek student who is studying composition at RCS.  The main purpose of the shoot was to try and capture John in his 'working' environment.  We took a lot of environmental portraits of John tuning piano and at work in his studio, however, the shots we snatched in a poorly light hallway - only lighting was tungsten roof lights - were my favourites from the shoot.  They may look a bit raw but I think the capture John perfectly.

I only used my DSLR, two lenses, and a 5 in 1 reflector for all images with ISO boosted to around the 800 mark to get enough light in the camera.  I felt flash would have been too distracting to John and other students.   so I was basically working with the light (or lack of it) available.

I have a load of new shoots lined up for the near future so there should be a good amount of progress made in the next few months.  If you think you might be interested in taking part just message me here.

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