March 2023

Framing up an Idea

I had another great trip to the Huntarian Art Gallery at The University of Glasgow this month. It was for the ‘Reframing The Huntarian” press call at the much-loved venue in the west end of Glasgow. Staff member Esme was helping by showing me the best parts of the gallery to work on and the special blank frame was to signify the ‘reframe’.

From April, visitors will be able to see over 200 artworks spanning seven centuries in the revamped main gallery. Many of the works have never been on show before or have been hidden from view for a number of years.

I was a bit creative with my second picture as Esme does not sweep the floor.

Al Fleming’s Wartime History over the The Campsie Fells

My old pal Al Filming has been researching a story about a German Junkers 88 bomber that was shot down near Lennoxtown 82 years ago. It was at around 2am on May 7, 1941, during the Clydeside Blitz. Al has spent the last 10 years diligently breathing life into the story of how the Ju.88 crashed in bleak Blairskaith Muir at the foothills of the Campsie Fells. He tells the story of how the four-man German crew bailed out of their stricken bomber in parachutes. The pilot, Oberleutnant Werner Coenen, and observer Hauptmann Gerd Hansmann died, as their parachutes unable to open fully in time. Radio operator Oberfeldwebel Ernst Langanki and air gunner Willi Muller survived with broken bones after landing on Balmore Golf Course. They became POWs after being arrested by the Home Guard. 
The story is fascinating of what happened to the POWs and about their graves in the cemetery at Lenoxtown. The story in the Herald written by the talented Russell Leadbetter can be read online in The Herald here.
Al is holding a part of the Junker’s propeller with a bullet mark on it.

Happy 100th BBC Scotland

I had the pleasure of being a part of the BBC 100 years of broadcasting this month. 

From an attic in Bath Street, Glasgow, on 6 March, 1923, John Reith, the general manager of the British Broadcasting Company announced that “5SC was calling”. That was the callsign for listeners to Station 5SC – a radio service which launched the BBC’s programming in Scotland.

To celebrate the anniversary, the BBC Amateur Radio Group and West of Scotland Amateur Radio Society were running an event, which features the original callsign for that first audience who were listening on their crystal radio sets. More than 300 fellow radio enthusiasts from 37 different countries as far afield as India, China and Brazil had made contact through the special event callsign of GB5SC.

They were running from a temporary radio base on the fifth floor of BBC Scotland’s Pacific Quay HQ. It was great fun to hear the reply when BBC Direct General was on the headset making the GB5SC call.

It made  publication in the Radio Society of Great Britain magazine 

Another part of the celebration was presenter Sophie Raworth at BBC Scotland in Pacific Quay, where she was presenting the BBC One network 6pm and 10pm news programmes.

February 2023

A Very Old Book

Sometimes you get something that you are scared to touch. Not always in a bad way. I was in The Huntarian Library at The University of Glasgow to photograph William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories & Tragedies. At 400 years old it is pretty rare and valuable.
It was fascinating watching Keira McKee, a Book Conservator at University of Glasgow, working on the first folio copy, which is held in the Library’s Archives & Special Collections. Not one I will be signing out to take home for a few weeks to peruse over a coffee.

The Tall Ship Glenlee

I remember going on board the Tall Ship Glenlee when it first arrived in Glasgow. It was certainly ready of some restoration but everyone could see its potential. I have been there at art exhibitions, jazz concerts and many photocalls including for the pantomime. 
I met up with Ray Macfarlane, Trustee and deputy chair of National Heritage Memorial Fund with Fiona Greer, Glenlee Development Director. The Glenlee has landed £1.8 million in funding from the National Heritage Memorial Fund through its Covid-19 Response Fund, keeping the icon of the River Clyde afloat and securing its future for years to come. I met some of the volunteers working on her too. What a nice bunch. 

A Trip to the Borders

I had another visit this month to the amazing Marchmont House in the borders with the Wasps Studio artists It was to highlight a partnership  between Wasps, Scotland’s national provider of studios and Marchmont Makers Foundation who had given two Glasgow-based artists, Ally Wallace and Vicki Fleck, the opportunity to be residents on the estate. They were delighted to be experiencing this early visit to see round.

Music In Motherwell

I have not been to Motherwell for quite a while. It used to be a regular trip for me to cover the football at Fir Park. I was quite taken with Motherwell Concert Hall. I was photographing  Once Upon A Tune by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, conducted by Ellie Slorach. The concert was presented by author and illustrator James Mayhew. Over 500 kids loved watching the drawings being sketched on the big screen to the music. 

The Glasgow Taxis Cup

An event I cover every year since going freelance is the Glasgow Taxis Cup. 
The event has  more than 700 student athletes from Glasgow Caledonian, Strathclyde, and Glasgow universities competing across 17 sports in the biggest one-day student inter-varsity competition across Scotland. The trophy is a stunning old piece of silver. 
We always think of different ideas for each year’s photocall. One year we even had a horse. As always the star is the Glasgow taxi. This year we had a bunch of students in their sport specific dress at the University of Glasgow with its amazing view across the city. It was lovely and sunny but cold in the shade. We did leave the heater on for the poor swimmer sitting in the cab in his trunks.

January 2023

Recording in the Studio

I met the super talented Ukrainian pianist Svetlana Andreeva and her husband, conductor Sergey Neller who were recording her new CD with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra orchestra at The New Auditorium in Glasgow. They were recording AIR Piano concerto N°4 & “DAWN” Symphonic poem. It is a World premiere recording by the composer Christian Schittenhelm. You can find the new CD at Sfumato Records soon. Here is the link –

I was there to document the day. The experience was amazing. What a sound. Thank goodness for my silent shutter on my Canon R5 when the red light came on during the recording.

Watching the Orchestra

I found myself back in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall with Royal Scottish National Orchestra not long after my experience of the recording with Svetlana.  It was for the performance of the Beethoven Emperor Concerto with pianist Francesco Piemontesi,  conducted by Danish conductor Thomas Søndergård . Once again the music was superb.

Who Wants to go Into Space ?

This month I met the world’s first female private space explorer  XPRIZE Foundation CEO, Anousheh Ansari. She was inspirational talking to the youngsters from local schools at the Glasgow Science Centre . It was great watching the reaction of this Springburn Academy pupil as she was trying on a space helmet. Anousheh met with the school children before attending a showcase of Scottish space companies organised by Scottish Enterprise. 

Glasgow’s Hospice Takes to the Airwaves

I have had many assignments at the Price & Princess of Wales hospice however this was my first photo call that involved recording a podcast. I met Pauline Moore, host and producer of ‘Dear Green Place’ podcast with Rhona Baillie, Chief Executive of The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice in the hospice grounds. I wanted to show the lovely winter scene while they recorded the everyday things happening in the hospice. The lake in front of the building  looked lovely in the winter sun. 

The Big Studio at the Kelvin Hall

A few months ago I was in the new BBC Studios in the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow. I was photographing all the state of the art facilities in the building in the space that I used to go and see the circus at when I was young. The studio was not quite ready that time and I finally got access this month. I have actually photographed the Frankie Boyle new World Order show in the space but this was my first time seeing it empty and realising just how big it is. It is huge and with all the studio lights reflecting on the lovely clean floor it looked massive. The following day was the official opening with First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. It would have been hard to keep the floor clean with all the photographers and press in.

All The Best for 2023

Finally a happy new year to everyone. I really hope we have put the last few covid years behind us. I have put together a slide show of some of my favourite assignments over 2022. 

December 2022

Winter Wonderland

The cold snap during the middle of December made for some truly magical views. The trees were thick with frost and with the – 9 degree cold and mist it gave the landscape a surreal look. I had a lovely walk around Loch Ardinning on the edge of Mugdock County Park. One of the comments on Instagram said “the trees looked like waves”.

The Snowman with the RSNO and Aled Jones

I had a lovely festive time at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Star of radio and television Aled Jones joined the Royal Scottish National Orchestra for special performances of The Snowman, marking 40 years of the iconic film. He did make a joke about the Irn Blu advert too and it made everyone laugh. There was a great atmosphere in the hall. The music was magnificent and the junior chorus were sublime. There was some great banter with Aled and conductor Neil Ferris. The show played Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh too.

The Wasps’ Studio Artists Christmas Market

The Briggait in Glasgow is a magnificent building.  Originally built in 1873, the Briggait was the city’s fish market for over 100 years. I love going along to see the Wasp’s studio artists at work on their stalls. After the last years of covid restrictions this years the market comfortably beat the previous market’s attendance, with over 2,200 visitors on the first day alone. My picture of artist Margaret Archbald, as the Christmas grinch, holding the mistletoe over ‘Jimmy the dog’ was the press picture that gave everyone a smile. 

Christmas Dinner

I am no cook but I would love to learn, so its always nice to photograph a chef and see if I can get any tips. I had a morning with Masterchef winner Gary Maclean. He was promoting the Mary’s Meal’s Big Family Christmas. Gary, a  long time supporter of Mary’s Meals, was at the photo call on Buchanan Street in the pouring rain to raise awareness of the event to feed children in the worlds poorest countries. He was truly a great sport. 

Pantomime Fun with Aladdin

Christmas would not be Christmas without the pantomime season. I always cover The Pavilion panto. It’s always great fun to go in and get to see the show before anyone else during the final dress rehearsal. The show this year, The Magical Adventures of Aladdin, was brilliant . My picture shows Stephen Purdon (Shellsuit Bob from River City), Grado (from Scotsquad) and panto favourite Nicola Park.

Another newcomer to panto is wrestler Jack Jester who was great as the baddie Abanazer. In fact the whole cast were fantastic.

November 2022

Anyone For Tennis

Everyone that knows me knows I am a real tennis fan and try to play a few times a week. I have photographed the lovely Judy Murray more than a few times and I am always up for listening to her coaching in case I pick up any tips. I was delighted to be asked by charity Mary’s Meals to cover the launch of their Double the Love Campaign. Judy was joined by Mary’s Meals care manager, Suzy Harley at the tennis court at Caledonian University. We had a few hits up and down and then the challenge to see how many tennis balls we could get in the air at the one time. The only thing we were not up for was jumping over the net at the end of the match.

A Trip to the V&A in Dundee

I had my first visit to the V&A in Dundee this month. What an amazing building inside and out. I was invited along by a group of amazing people from the charity Housing Options Scotland.  They provide information, advice and support to help people find the right home, in the right place. I have been working with them over many years and have seen at first hand the difference they make to people’s lives. The event was for their 25th Anniversary celebration. The ministerial address was given by Shona Robison, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice. The event was really terrific with lots of fascinating talks and speakers. There even was a cake to cut ,which tasted brilliant.

Pride & Prejudice (Sort of) out on Bath Street

I joined Scotland’s favourite actress, Elaine C Smith, who welcomed the cast of Pride & Prejudice *(*sort of) back to Glasgow. The show was first performed here in the summer of 2018.  The show, a unique and audacious retelling of Jane Austen’s classic love story. We decided to take the cast outside onto Bath Street right outside the theatre and joining us was the Duke of Wellington’s horse complete with a traffic cone on its head. The cast and Elaine were really up for the picture. Fortunately for us the rain that had been chucking it down all day had stopped for our picture, which was good as we had the chaise lounge sofa. Fortunately someone brought a brolly, which added to the picture too.

Frankie Boyle at The Kelvin Hall

Another Assignment that made it to the BBC iPlayer was covering Frankie Boyle’s New World Order that was filmed at the new BBC Studios set at the Kelvin Hall. I have covered the show before and it’s always hilarious. One of the shows was on the day Liz Truss had left number 10 Downing Street and the jokes were bang up to date. I imagine there had been a lot of last minute script changes that day. It was nice to be covering the show this time with no Covid masks on.

October 2022

Mary Queen of Scots

Mary Queen of Scots is definitely one of the most talked about figures from Scottish History. I met the Director of Artemis Scotland, Jackie Lee, who was dressed as  Mary Queen of Scots in the Huntarian Art Gallery for the latest exhibition The Afterlife of Mary Queen of Scots from 14th October 2022 to the 5th February 2023. This new exhibition explores the legend of Mary and her cultural afterlife. Admission is free which is always a good thing.

Oh Yes We Are !

With Christmas coming up the theatres are now start going into Panto mode. The Kings, The Pavilion, etc all are all warming up with photo calls. I was visiting Pollok House for the photo call for the King’s Theatre production of Beauty and the Beast.

We had Johnny Mac, Rachel Flynn and Blyth Dandoo with Elaine C Smith in the library at Pollok House. It was great fun as always. It has been ages since visiting Pollok House. The last time was a few years ago to see Harry Benson at his exhibition there.

Music to My Ears

I had another lovely day with the BBC Young traditional musicians for the Young Trad awards. What a pleasure it is listening to them playing and singing. The program was written by Joy Dunlop, who is lovely. Its times like these I feel like giving away my guitar.

It was nice to see the picture on the BBC iPlayer too.

Back To School

When you look at old buildings there has always been the temptation to demolish them and build new. I have always thought that was such a mistake seeing some of the lovely old buildings that have fallen to the bulldozer over the last few decades. I had the pleasure of visiting my dad’s old primary school recently. Drumoyne Primary has now been developed into flats and houses called Cromdale Square. The new housing development by Linthouse Housing Association is a development of 49 affordable homes and was opened by first minister Nicola Sturgeon. When you look at the old falling down school building and then see the newly designed flats. It really is keeping the best of the old with the new.
When you look at old buildings there has always been the temptation to demolish them and build new. I have always thought that was such a mistake seeing some of the lovely old buildings that have fallen to the bulldozer over the last few decades. I had the pleasure of visiting my dad’s old primary school recently. Drumoyne Primary has now been developed into flats and houses called Cromdale Square. The new housing development by Linthouse Housing Association is a development of 49 affordable homes and was opened by first minister Nicola Sturgeon. When you look at the old falling down school building and then see the newly designed flats. It really is keeping the best of the old with the new.

What a Difference a bit of thought and good planning can make. Look at the change in the collect picture taken my my good friend Ross to the new up to date image of 2022.

Two retired lollipop ladies came along to the opening to see the spot they spent so many years getting the kids safely across the busy road.

Mary Livingstone (76) and Anne Harley (68) were back on patrol to see the former Drumoyne Primary in Govan turned into new homes for rent by Linthouse Housing Association. They even helped the first minister crossing the road which created smiles all around.

September 2022

Hello Halloween

I love halloween, not the scary movie part but the dooking for apples, getting dressed up and pumpkins. Every year I look forward to a trip to Arnprior Farm, Scotland’s premier pumpkin patch. All geared up for  Halloween 2022 they had a new a one of a kind new addition. As well as the usual bumper crop of over 15,000 pumpkins, this year, the team unveilied Scotland’s only pumpkin vending machine. Farmer Rebecca McEwen showed me how easy it is to use and the hot chocolate and coffee machine just as the side of it. It’s ideal for someone like me who doesn’t want to get all muddy. I know the kids love mud but not me so much.

The View From Space

Another great attraction for Halloween is super show from Space Invasion from Childrens Classic Concerts. I had a great visit to the Glasgow Science Centre with presenter Owen Gunnell who was joined by RSNO musicians Luis Eisen on bassoon and Janet Richardson on flute. The trio in their space suits really made me smile. The shows are playing the the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and Usher Hall in Edinburgh.

Having a Drink with Cher

All of my life I have been listening to the music of Cher. Not always at home on the hifi but hearing her on the radio, TV and the movies. Some amazing tracks. I was pleased to cover the press launch for the Cher show at Delmonica’s bar in Glasgow. 
Debbie Kurup , Millie O’Connell and Danielle Steers all play the pop icon at different stages of her career, They were great posing for the photographs ahead of their opening performance at The King’s Theatre.

The Kelvin Hall and no Elephants.

Everyone has been to the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow.  I went there to the circus and the carnival when I was wee. Latterly when it became a sports venue, I covered many world sporting events there. I was worried about the building in case it got left behind. There is the great gym and the screen archive museum but the big space where I used to watch the elephants was a huge space to fill. Now it holds the fantastic  BBC Studiosworks with a huge 10500 sq ft studio , state of the art studio and sound equipment and really nice green and dressing rooms. It was a pleasure to cover the photography getting a first look inside.

The Scale of the Glasgow Cathedral

The scale of Glasgow Cathedral can really make you feel small…but not in a bad way. It is so huge and has been in existence for so long. It was erected somewhere between 1136 and 1484 so it is pretty old. We are a blink in its existence and looking up to that huge roof is breathtaking. I was there to cover The High School of Glasgow’s Commemoration and Thanksgiving Service. It was great to see the building filled with the students.

Time For a coffee

I am never one to refuse a coffee. So when an assignment came up to photograph Zander Fagerson of the Glasgow Warriors at Brillbeans, the west end of Glasgow’s first ever cereal bar, popped up at Black Pine Coffee on Great Western Road I jumped at the chance. The Glasgow Warriors and British and Irish Lions rugby star had swapped scrummaging for serving lattes at the for one-day- only pop-up cereal bar to mark the upcoming launch of Scotland’s newest broadband start-up.  Brillband had recently announced its sponsorship of Glasgow Warriors for the upcoming season ahead.

And Finally…The Last of the Summer Wine

September can sometimes have nicer weather than July. While on a wee working trip to Oban we had a lovely walk along the front on our way back to the hotel. The lovely colours, still water  and the nice light in the sky made for a lovely picture. It certainly added to the nice feeling after a couple of glasses of wine at the pizza restaurant on the pier. I think when the clocks go back and the winter nights come upon us these balmy September evenings will be just be just a memory.

August 2022

Singin’ in the Rain Even When the Sun is Out

I had a lovely afternoon with the cast of  Singin’ in the Rain as they made a splash at Doulton Fountain in Glasgow Green leading up to their performance at the Kings Theatre.

A favourite in musical theatre, the show came to Glasgow for a week’s run. The colours in the costumes were magnificent and really took me on journey to the glamour of Hollywood in the roaring 20s. These shows always look great and the cast can hold the pose to make a terrific picture.

A Big Daffodil

I love all the huge murals that are dotted around Glasgow City centre. I had an assignment to photograph striking new artwork celebrating life in Glasgow’s Govan area. It had been commissioned to mark the 50th anniversary of Govan Housing Association. The fantastic tenement mural on the city’s Govan Road was created by celebrated street artist Sam Bates , better known as “smug”. The artwork shows  a young girl bending down to pick a daffodil. We had local youngster Annie who posed with her own daffodils to mimic the giant artwork. The mural has now been named Georgie in a tribute to one of the Govan Housing Association’s long serving management committee members Georgie Hay. Sometimes photographing artwork in this scale is not as straightforward as you would think. A very wide angle lens is needed and a small aperture to get the subject in front in focus as well as the building.

Wasps Summer Artist & Makers Market

I wish I was more creative with arts, crafts etc. I love seeing artists at work and their finished results. I was covering the Wasps Summer 2022 Artist & Makers Market at at The Briggait in Glasgow. The crafts, art and textiles on show were amazing. My eye this time as really taken with the textiles. 

Tori Meads really made an impression with her Harris tweed Cushions. The bright colours really stood out for me with the lovely texture of the Harris tweed. I also liked the work of Jolene Guthrie whose brand is Jo AMI. Here knitwear was quite special. She was good in posing with her mannequin decked in one of her lovely creations for my picture.

Pizza Pizza Pizza

I love pizza and this month I was asked to photograph the new Nostrana Bar Restaurant on Hyndland Road. I met Marco Stevenson owner with his team. What a great bunch. So enthusiastic. They do loads of different types of pasta and other favourites but for me its pizza every time. Sadly I was driving so I couldn’t sample any of the cool looking cocktails.

July 2022

Mum & Chicks Stop the Traffic

I was walking from Blythswood Square to my car and a pal of mine sees this mummy duck with her duckling chicks walking along the street heading down to cross Bath Street and Sauchiehall Street. People were watching with a bit of in trepidation of how safe this walk was. Amazingly everyone was so kind looking out for them.  Someone had pushed the crossing button and all the traffic stopped to let them cross. Not one impatient or angry toot. I put the post on Facebook and Instagram. I have never had a post go so far and wide. Its had 1.2 thousand shares and over 700 likes and comments. Lost Glasgow shared it and it went totally viral.

Famous Faces at Royal Conservatoir of Scotland Graduations

I had an amazing assignment for the Royal Conservatoir of Scotland. It was graduation time and I had the pleasure of photographing the Honorary Doctorates. We had the new Dr Who Ncuti Gatwa, Sam Heughan from Outlander and internationally celebrated composer, singer-songwriter and educator Errollyn Wallen.

They were all so nice and friendly. Being a big Dr Who fan I was really looking forward to meeting Ncuti. I was even more delighted when Prada asked to use my picture on their Instagram page as he was dressed head to toe in the designer label. Here is a link to that page.

Nice To Be All Back Together

After lockdown it was so nice to be back with the fab Chivas Graduates. A really lovely bunch. I was visiting them at their new offices at Blythswood Square. They had returned from their postings all around the world. Its amazing to see so much enthusiasm all in the one room.

Royal National Mòd 2022

I had an interesting trip to Perth this month for the launch of the Royal National Mòd 2022. The event brings a dazzling display of Gaelic music and culture to city. We had a fab bunch of local young musicians to help us with the photo call for the programme of fringe performances ahead of October event.

Brother & sister James and Elizabeth were so enthusiastic during the photo session. It was great to get a lovely show of pictures in The Herald, The Scotsman and The National.

A Good Day for a Long Drive

I had a trip to Carradale near Campbelltown, Argyle. I did not realise how far away Campbeltown is or what a beautiful part of the world it is.

I was down to photograph artist Rhona Taylor with some local school children for a news feature on a public art exhibition celebrating the work of Scottish novelist, poet and playwright Naomi Mitchison, which will open in Glasgow this autumn. The children were involved in one of the  free creative workshops with communities located on the Clyde estuary.

As part of the celebrations for Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022provider of creative spaces, Wasps, the Clyde Fishermen’s Trust, and award-winning multidisciplinary artist Rhona Taylor have been collaborating with community groups in Carradale, Tarbert and Glasgow. The locations mark the traditional fishing route along the Clyde to The Briggait, which once served as Scotland’s largest fish market and is now operated by Wasps as a major arts centre. 

It had been forecast heavy rain all day but thankfully the skies were clear for the duration of our pictures.

June 2022

Sunset on Another Year

I do look forward to our trips to Tiree. It always makes for some super landscape and wildlife pictures. There is one spot I will rush off too. The beach at Sunset from Balevullin is a great spot to sit at. With the long summer evenings my sunset didn’t come until nearly 11pm.

Looking Up at the Arc

Just before the Covid lockdown of 2020 I was up on the roof of the structure that was being built within the University of Glasgow near the site of the former Western Infirmary. Two years and three months later I had the pleasure of covering the official opening of the Mazumdar-Shaw Advanced Research Centre or the ARC Building as it has become known. It’s amazing looking inside. I was photographing the Chancellor of the University of Glasgow Dame Katharine Grainger, and Tawona Sithole, the UESCO Poet in Residence. Everyone’s eyes were drawn to the fantastic lights.

Skylark IX Day of Stories

It was ne of the warmest days of June that I was down at the Sottish Maritime Museum’s, Denny Tank at Dumbarton. The Skylark Recovery Project was having a Year of Stories event to celebrate all that had been accomplished in the last year throughout the Lockdowns of 2020-21. They achieved some great things for service users and the community. Including delivering a programme of VE Day and Dunkirk commemorative activities, teaching people in recovery how to build boats and bringing creative crafting activity to people at home with our Skylark Lockdown Patchwork Quilt. One of the boatbuilders who I photographed on the day was Jae Bradley the Boatbuilding Project Leader. Jae has been teaching the boat building with skills he learned from the The GalGael Trust. I loved his cool hair, colourful jumper and boots.

There was a great picture of the whole team at the end of the day. What a super bunch. I have really enjoyed sharing their year.

Sunset on Another Year

Jojo Gnome at Tiree Primary School

When we were on Tiree , my better half Jo Hall, visited Tiree Primary to do a story workshop based around maths and numbers for Primary 1. The children enjoyed JoJo Gnome number stories, met Ella the Elf who is a whizz at maths and did some dancing with Robyn the Counting Robot. The children also worked with Jo on their own counting stories, in both English and Gaelic. Check them out at The story made The Herald, The Oban Times and the local An Tirisdeach newspaper too.