I have been threatening for ages but I have finally started a new personal project. Its winter again, and if you don’t feel even a little underwater in the darkness, then you’ve got dark secrets of your own!
For the rest of us, I would like to have some fun. I am looking for 7 people to join me in my fish bowl. I am going to create a unique portrait of each of you (complete with your own species of fish!) I really want this to be a spontaneous and open body of work so I am inviting everyone to apply.
On the s i t t e r s calendar this week is the SCE final year exhibition in the Out of the Blue Drill Hall on Dalmeny St starting on Tuesday night. If you haven’t gotten wind of the glorious spectacle to be, you need to get yourself down to Leith walk for a visual feast! It is only the cream of Scottish Student photography and the gourmet capital of aesthetic cuisine for the next week in Edinburgh. The team has designed and built a website as well as a blog that you can go right ahead and get a preview of whats on show. If none of that is enough, I have been in the workshop, and Arthur the toilet..has been PIMPED (and cleaned)! He’ll be on public display for as long as i can get him so come one, come all and take a seat!
Two images from s i t t e r s will be exhibited along with the recently printed, and delightfully exciting, hardback coffee table book. It is a luscious square format banquet of high quality prints of the project. It will be on hand for some light toilet reading material. Enough said!
This is it. All the cards are up and s i t t e r s has come to an end. I am absolutely floored to be able to finally reveal the bounteous fruits of all the hard work. To look back at the very first post on this blog and gauge my confidence that i would be writing these words, now furnished by such accomplished images from such accomplished people. Once upon a time there was nothing, now there are twenty two creations that i am absolutely delighted with.
The obvious thanks go to those hardened souls who braved the camera. Every one of you who sat for me held open the door of confidence to shoot the next. You absolute dancers. Thanks to everyone i asked, hinted at and chased. All those who dusted off perfect locations and anecdotes when inspiration was needed. Everyone who has kept the raft buoyed with encouragement. And to everyone who has followed me, in and out of this blog, thank you so much for being part.
But while the photos are up, there is still much more going on. Please drop in on the blog for news on awards, exhibitions and the s i t t e r s photobook that is currently well in the pipeline. There is still quite a trove of whimsy and craic from the project’s development that needs to be shared so while the hard work is finished, the fun isn’t over.
Thank you especially to Sola, who has allowed a salvaged toilet to live out of our front room for the last 4 months and who has been my rock, paper and scissors through the entire project.
Stay tuned in over the next two weeks for enough s i t t e r s excitement to fill up a cistern (after the number 2 button!)
With early arrival of our famously short-lived Scottish summer, it made sense to make the best of it. And for that we need the basics: a toilet and altitude. Que expedition!
Back on the bus with the full compliment of gear + loo. 3 flights of stairs. Some rickety ladders and footholds later and Voila – balming on a hot asphalt rooftop with Chris and Jayne.
We had beaming spring sun, some wicked props and a backdrop of Edinburgh University at our disposal. All well and good as normal until the one basic but ultimately unmentioned moment, the drop of the trousers. At the start of the project, if one thing could win the award for “the most daunting prospect”, it would naturally be this. 3 months ago i could hardly see myself successfully convincing someone to change their trousers, never mind cringingly drop them in public. The good news, is that i have never really had trouble in that department, but i’ve never really developed much of a good method either. So even the current shoots suffer the same measures of avoiding glances and frantic gesturing. Which i have gotten pretty good actually
The reason for this post though is to acknowledge a far worse discomfort. Not just the horror of having to let someone take your picture on the toilet, and madly insisting you sit “as accurately as possible…<cough cough.>” But the shock of seeing the photo and confronting, maybe for the first time, your naked lower half. Take it from me, this can be hard for a man! Sounds like a real crisis i’m sure, but i have started to wonder if a person alive doesn’t recoil at their own image. One of the great joys of sitters is that there is no room for glamour, but lots of space for beauty. And from a life of seeing images of the billboard poised and the glossy beautiful, it can be quite a shock to have to admit the reality of beauty. Patches of hair, dimples and bruises and, great earthly shock!, the inevitable first showings of a little pouch on the tummy. They are there, they exist on all of us.
Good man Chris for showing yours off to the world from a-high. So lesson learned- Get your pouch out!
Like a film unfolding, everything is spooling along smoothly and nicely at the moment. Here is a round-up of some of the schemes and scenarios that have kept us all busy over the last few weeks. The schedule it must be said, has steam coming out of it! Still more to go though, so stay tuned
Ride on! Things on the s i t t e r s front have been very busy recently. Arthur’s not had an easy time of it either, we’ve both been hard on the trail (and the bus) working through our locations. A gift and curse he has been. He is just a logistic nightmare in his old age. He weighs a tonne, and won’t go anywhere without the other 15kilos of equipment needed to take his photo. If anything he is probably the greatest incentive i have ever had to get my dirvers licence and buy a car. But since that’s not happening any time soon, its public transport all the way.
Together we’ve redefined my public image, so the hot burning on the back of my neck when i walk down the street carrying a toilet isn’t embarrassed indignity, its traction. But sympathy abounds and i’m not the sort to let those little gestures of help go unnoticed. Something as little as a wide-eyed stare or someone diving out of the way to avoid my unstoppable toilet procession. They go a long way.
The procession carried on to Gorgie this week for possibly the most bare faced image so far. The wonderful Gorgie Farm, the most understated gem in greater Edinburgh. It is a spirited community initiative i had the pleasure of seeing up close and it became clear as day when i slinked up to the office with my project looking for a location one rainy day and, without missing a beat, came away with not just a location but a sitter. Gorgie Farm is run on a huge level by local volunteers who are involved in about every single activity you can think of. They farm and sell their own veg and run workshops and classes galore and keep quality out-doors-in-the-muck education for children at the core. They care for a bundle of animals and have an encyclopaedia of knowledge (and a name) for everyone within their walls. It is a hive of activity around the clock. Do i sound astounded? I should, because its free. Take a 10 minute bus ride out and have a gander around for an afternoon and see exactly what i mean. If you stand around long enough you might have a paint brush landed in your hand to redecorate a wall, or just walk in off the street, stare at a turkey for 5 minutes, be on your way and no one is the worse
No turkeys today though, today its the chickens. It was Donna who braved the ordeal and believe me, i cannot stress how deliberate those two words are. Brave and Ordeal, especially when a bus of 30 schoolkids turns up just in time and, pressed to the wire, they all want to find out when the chicken was going to use the toilet. What courage. Donna, let me tell you, is certainly no chicken.
Huge thanks to all the Gorgie farm staff for their support, enthusiasm and managing to keep a straight face