Category Archives: Commercial work

Red

Here’s a behind the scenes film of stills campaign I shot for Radisson Red hotels with Teviot a while ago. It was a fantastic project, especially working with such quality models.

I loved the simple quality of light, especially the ring flash fill. It allowed their personalities to dominate. Here’s a few of the edited images.

Radisson Red campaign image
Radisson Red campaign image
Radisson Red campaign image
Radisson Red campaign image

The Duchess

‘Pass the blood Ben.’ Delicate work….

Sometimes when you’re given a brief your heart just sinks. Sometimes it beats faster. This was definitely a case of the latter.

I’ve long loved shooting theatre projects and this production was no different. The brief was clear, based on an earlier pre production illustration created by Edinburgh Agency, Do, create a poster image for the Edinburgh Lyceum / Citizens Theatre co-production show showing the principal actor Kirsty Stuart as The Duchess, standing in a pool of blood that’s soaking into her dress.

There was a lot of talk about the best way to do this and I quickly decided that we had to do it for real as far as we could with a natural reflection of her in the blood. You’ll be glad to hear I drew the line at a visit to the butchers. Fortunately Allan Ramsay from the Lyceum turned up at my studio replete with 5 litres of the red stuff, so convincing it was hard to tear your eyes away from it once it spilled out onto the ground. I was relieved it just smelled of sugar, being made of no more than corn syrup and colouring. Before it was poured out I did all the lighting and composition tests so we could focus on getting the blood element right.

the final poster for The Duchess of Malfi at the Lyceum theatre Edinburgh
Photograph of Kirsty Stuart drenched in blood as The Duchess of Malfi performing at Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum theatre. Photo – Laurence Winram

It took some time to spread around, Kirsty stoically not moving an inch, so when we were finally ready we couldn’t hang about. Kirsty channeled her Duchess perfectly so it didn’t take long to capture the right image. I then just had to shoot the wider edges of the pool of blood and piece it all together.

pool of blood
for the edges

The cleanup was almost as dramatic as the shoot. I hauled the sheet covered in drying blood outside where I could clean it off into the drain. If you’ve not seen it, my car park area is surrounded by the backs of housing, literally hundreds of windows looking down at this. I half expected a visit from the men in blue.

Cleanup

The Duchess sounds pretty epic. It’s a 17th century play, although it’s a new version by Zinnie Harris after John Websterby. Check out the Lyceum info here.

Harris Distillery

More Hebridean adventures, with tea from a 128 year old…..

Here’s a few fun images from my recent jaunt to Harris Distillery on the Outer Hebrides. This year my wife Krista came along for a ‘holiday’ and to maybe help out ‘just a wee bit’. Didn’t quite happen that way. She was with me for most of the trip dangling lights off boats, running away from monster waves and hauling gear around warehouses. Still it’s always a pleasure to meet up with the Hearachs again and introduce Krista. It may be a job but I’m meeting with folk that are more friends than clients. Myself and Krista had some fine adventures with even a bit of time at the end for a trip down to Rodel and then over to Skye for a few days.

Lewis McKenzie brings in the sea kelp. An essential ingredient of Harris Gin. Lewis has a huge knowledge of the crop which has recently been under threat of being commercial dredged, a ruinous practice. 
One of the locals takes a sniff of the Harris gin at Hushinish beach 
storms one minute….
blue skies the next….
Kenny checking out the peat supplies that will be used to give the Harris whisky it’s smokey flavour
New distiller Norman Ian with his bairns on Luskintyre beach
looking very at home on Hushinish beach.
The design of the bottle was inspired by the beautiful patterns you get on Harris beaches.
Harris is a truly otherworldly place. Where else will you get to see waterfalls running backwards? Probably around a 60mph wind out there.
I can never resist the view of the Clisham from Aird Asaig. 
Managing director of Harris distillery, Simon Erlanger, travels from Stornoway down to Harris on his classic bike, and on a day that’s not raining! Simon doesn’t like the rain. 
Lewis trying not to look like a kelp monster
Stevie with a traditional peat cutting tairsgear.
Guardian of the Clisham, with the new distillery warehouse in the background.
Production manager Kenny Maclean checking the stock at Aird Asaig
Billy filling the Dottach for another distillation of Harris gin. Just a 72 hour process end to end. A wee bit quicker than the 5-10 years it takes for whisky to be ready! It’s been one of their best decisions to have added gin production to the distillery, it created an almost instant income stream thats been many times more successful than anticipated.
Days I love my job, no. 4.
The legendary Temple cafe down in Northton, wonderful food and atmosphere. Sadly about to close.
….just along from Croft 36, what an amazing concept.  A shop all done on trust, just help yourself and leave your payment. Wonderful pies and soup to be had.
Inside St. Clements, the 15th century church in Rodel on our day off. Such an amazing place.
My favourite moment on Harris…. Down the Golden Road we stopped at this ‘cafe’ (a church hall selling soup and toasties on Tuesdays and Saturdays). There was the sweetest old lady managing things. I asked her how long she’d been there, she stopped to think for a while, raised  her finger and said proudly, ‘since 1908!’ I’d just love to think it might be true, but she did eventually rectify it to 2008. Love it!