Sunday, October 09, 2005
Shooting In The Breeze
When I spoke to the photographer for the book, Sarah Swanson, it was eleven thirty and the sun was shining. When I put the phone down, the rain started pattering on the window and I thought today's photo shoot was going to have to be cancelled. Luckily, it held out and although it was mild and overcast, the day was a huge success.
We got the bus into the city and I started off by showing her some of the ideas I had noted down the previous week. The first couple were not much good due to obstructions in the view and the spontaneity soon became apparent when then idea of shots of me walking along the central reservation of Princes Street came to mind. It was my first taste of public posing for a purpose, and it felt peculiar.
We moved into Prince Street Gardens trying to get more angles and view of the Castle. With it being the singularly most dominant feature of the city it seemed a good thing to concentrate on. The front cover HAS to be easily recognisable and be associated with the Festival so we took pictured of it from all around; some with me in and some without.
We walked up over The Mound and up towards the Castle where we saw Robert Englund of all people, getting his picture taken. He looked every bit as scary as he does on film.
We snapped some ad-hoc pictures in front of the castle gate with the ancient Scot's Guards complete with Musket and sword. They might be pictures better used inside the pages than the cover but it was still fun.
Then we moved down towards Chambers Street and onto the pavement outside the Bedlam Theatre. The arched red door always intrigues me so we took a lot of shots outside. The posing became a bit paranoid here because of the rows of cars lining up at the traffic lights directly opposite but we got the job done.
Down onto the Grassmarket and as we headed to get some shots of the backside of the Castle the idea of some pub-shots came to mind. We stopped in The Last Drop and being, as it is, a bar, we had a pint before continuing. I asked the barman if it was fine to take the pictures and he very casually said yes, as if he got asked that question a lot. The bar has a low, warm glow ambience and without the flash, made for some great shots.
We got the extra shots of the castle and then headed back up towards the Bridges and across onto Princes Street. We took some shots coming back down the Royal Mile and on seeing The Filling Station pub, a moment of inspiration struck. I went into the bar and sat in their large glass window while Sarah snapped away from outside. I could hear the conversations of the drinkers behind me get quieter as they all slowly started to wonder what I was doing just sitting totally still in the window of the pub.
Then an idea I had on Friday while in Clark's sprang to mind, which was to use the backdrop of the hidden toilets in the Jekyll & Hyde pub; hidden by a large bookcase. We made our way top J&H and naturally, another pint was called for before we took more pictures. The barmen here took rather longer to decide if it was ok to take the pictures but Sarah had already started flashing the camera all round the bar. In the back of the pub is a large fireplace and seats, where we took some pictures and then of course in front of the bookcase.
A drunk lad and his girlfriend made it a very awkward situation with all their comments and banter but we got the shots and they looked terrific on the camera.
It had taken us about four hours to get them all before we headed back into Leith. Sarah is going to download them all and crop and alter some before trying out some fantastic ideas she had for the front cover. One of her ideas was spectacular - way better then my Calton Hill one, and if it comes off it will be a classic. Nelson's Monument on Calton Hill is closed on Sunday's, which is why we never ended up going there.
By the time I got back home I was knackered, but the day was an all-round success. In a few days I'll have the results and can start to select a front cover. Not long now!