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 http://www.jojognome.com. The story made The Herald, The Oban Times and the local An Tirisdeach newspaper too.

May 2022

A Big Adventure With John Byrne

I have always loved the work of artist John Byrne. I had his painting on the sleeves of the Steelers Wheel ‘Ferguslie Park’ LP record at my mum and dads house in Johnstone. I was so delighted to be asked to cover the opening of John Patrick Byrne – A Big Adventure. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum has put together a new exhibition charting his illustrious career. A Big Adventure is the first retrospective of the Paisley born artist, playwright, and theatre maker for more than 20 years. He was lovely to photograph, so gentle and unassuming. I have photographed him before at the Tramway many years ago. It was amazing to see the artworks at their full scale size. The one that did it for me was the big paining of Billy Connolly. I photographed Martin Craig, curator of Art post 1945 beside the huge almost life-size painting. Billy is pointing at his banjo but it looks as if he is pointing to Martin.

A Dinosaur in the Gym Hall

Cycling For Mary’s Meals

I met an amazing lady up at the University of Stirling. Great grandmother Ellison Hudson, from Bridge of Allan, was celebrating her 84th birthday by cycling 84 miles around the University’s  racetrack. She was helping to raise money to help feed some of the world’s poorest children with Mary’s Meals. She has been a fundraiser for the charity for many years. She gave me shot of her tricycle. It’s an electric one and  takes a bit of skill to use it. It nearly took off with me, until I got the hang of controlling it.

Something To Get My Teeth Into

Being a bit of a scaredy cat and not liking horror films, I wondered about my latest assignment at the Theatre Royal in Glasgow. A descendent of Dracula author Bram Stoker was visiting the Theatre Royal, Glasgow while in Scotland marking the 125th anniversary of the popular gothic novel. Dacre Stoker, the great grandnephew of the famous writer, called at The Grand Old Lady of Hope Street too see where his great uncle worked with Henry Irvine and The Lyceum Company in Faust which was the theatre’s opening performance.  He was in Scotland to mark the 125th anniversary of Dracula and he will be checking into landmarks, which were thought to the be inspiration for the tale with the partnership of Visit Scotland. He was so friendly and chatty. A delight too photograph and not scary at all.

April 2022

On a Bus with The Four Seasons

Some days you gets photo calls where all your favourite things all happen at the one time. I am a fan of a bus tour, I like the theatre and I like a visit to the Baby Grand. I had the good fortune to be asked to cover the photo call for the production of the Oliver Award-winning Jersey Boys production as it returned  to The King’s Theatre in Glasgow for a three-week run.  The musical tells the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons as they rose to fame from the streets New Jersey. I thought I would enjoy the show but did not realise how good it would be. It was really brilliant. I was never a Frankie Valli fan and didn’t know much about them. Being more into heavy rock, etc I didn’t think this music was on my radar. So no one was more surprised than me that I knew almost every song.

Who Doesn’t Love a Kilt

I spent a lovely day at the Moss O’Balloch Park covering the finish of the Kiltwalk 2022 with the Kiltwalkers from the National Autistic Society. What a great bunch they were, so enthusiastic and I was fortunate to be close by when some of them met up with Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon when she came in through the finish line. She was so nice with the walkers. The good thing was no-one was out of breath, however I was puffing and panting running up and down the finish line. It was so warm and the sun shone practically all day.

Reading Is Caring

I was asked to shoot some photographs for the Scottish Book Trust for their new programme Reading is Caring. It is such a good idea. More and more people are living with dementia in Scotland. The Reading is Caring program will help both people living with dementia and those who care for them to use reading and sensory experiences to create special moments and spark memories. I photographed two groups of people who were reading together and it was great to watch the interaction between them. As a photographer the picture is often made watching the interactions of people together.

Hamilton School for the Deaf Write JoJo Gnome Character

I was invited along to the Hamilton School for the Deaf to help my better half and writer of the JoJo Gnome Books, Jo Hall, who was working with the pupils to produce a new character for her much loved Jojo Gnome Story Podcast. Jo had worked with the pupils to come up with the character Ella the Elf who is deaf and has cochlear implants to help her hear and enjoy music. It was amazing how all the kids and teachers all communicated with sign language. It was me that was the odd one out and how they had to keep me up to speed with what was going on.  The youngsters as well as coming up with the ideas for Jo’s story also made a film about how they made the character. The JoJo Gnome project was funded by Creative Scotland and is available online. The Hamilton Advertiser gave is a great show in the paper and online.

Check out the pupil’s film here too.

March 2022

Bright Sparks

I met some total bright sparks this month. The youngsters at the new IntoUniversity facility based at The Maryhill Hub in in the Wyndford, Glasgow. The new centre, along with IntoUniversity Govan, Glasgow and intoUniversity Craigmillar, Edinburgh are part of ground breaking collaboration between the University of Glasgow, the University of Edinburgh and education charity IntoUniversity to provide additional educational support to those aged 7-18. They all arrived straight after school and were so please to meet me and get their pictures taken. I believe that after the picture appeared in The Herald & Glasgow Times they have had so many more enquiries to join in.

Hope Floats with Skylark IX

I had my first visit in ages to the Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine this month. I was down to see Skylark IX Recovery Project’s exhibition ‘Hope Floats’, which has been curated by the project.  I got a great shot of Community Boatbuilding Co-ordinator Rebecca MacAskill and Volunteer Trainee Ronnie Mckechnie as they celebrated the achievements of the past two years, made possible through funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.  In the picture they got up close and personal with the Dunkirk ‘Little Ship’ Skylark IX . The Dumbarton based Skylark IX Recovery Project cares for the former pleasure boat, which served in Operation Dynamo, and uses Skylark’s story of hope and resilience to help people recovering from addictions through boatbuilding training. The Project hopes to begin fundraising to build the Spirit of Skylark Centre in Dumbarton soon. The new heritage experience, community hub and boatbuilding workshop will give Skylark IX a permanent home and enable to the Project to support a growing number of people across West Dunbartonshire.

Princess Smiles

 I have had a few visits to the TS Queen Mary berthed beneath the Glasgow Science Centre tower. This time I had the pleasure of photographing a royal visitor. The HRH The Princess Royal was announcing that the iconic and much loved steamer will sail on the Clyde once again. The Friends of TS Queen Mary charity, tasked with the restoration, has been overwhelmed by the generosity of corporate donors and individuals. Great news for fans of sailing ‘doon the watter’

Gaspard’s Foxtrot

I love a good story and if it is put to music all the better. BBC broadcaster and author Zeb Soanes joined the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) for live performances of Gaspard’s Foxtrot, as part of the RSNO’s latest National Schools Concert Programme. Playing at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall it was so good to watch the and listen. Sometimes I worry I will watch too much and forget to take pictures. The kids loved it. Throughout March over 8,500 children will attend concerts across Scotland and a further 40,000 have signed up to use the digital resources. I know its a story for kids but I loved it. The good thing was I got to see it twice. Morning and afternoon performances.

The Glasgow Taxi Cup is Back

It was great to have the Glasgow Taxi Cup back this year after the break due to the pandemic. Glasgow University were crowned winners of Scotland’s largest student varsity sporting competition, for the first time since 2018 after edging out city rivals Strathclyde and Glasgow Caledonian. The competition, saw over 800 students participating across 21 different sporting disciplines including athletics, badminton, hockey and netball in a day of intense competition before coming to a conclusion at Scotstoun Sports Campus.