It's always interesting to look back at a project's development when it's finalised. It's the same in any creative process; the first thing is to establish some form of brief. In this instance, this was photography for my friend Kieran's debut E.P. called "From the outside looking in".
In his mind's eye he wanted something urban, gritty...but also, in some way to try bring nature into it. That element of optimism; the crack in everything that lets the light get in.
I don't usually do portrait work, so this was to be a steep learning curve. The only way I know how to start by starting...only then you can figure out what's working and what's not.
So, we took a lot of shots looking out & through windows...some more successful than others.
I tried some long exposure experiments...trying to capture passerbys as they moved around Kieran.
Some more long exposures with the city's traffic moving in the background.
We even did the "walking-with-a-guitar-under-a-tunnel" thing...but I've seen it done better.
I wanted to get some studio-type portraits while we were at it. But seeing as I don't have a studio...we had to improvise.
I have a glass opaque glass screen on my deck. One extremely sunny day I give Kieran a call, saying to call over. Poor fella...I subjected him to some heat that day. The sunshine back-lit the glass screen, providing a clean backdrop. I had a mirror reflecting the sun back into his face...which was great for photography but the glare into his face was intense. He couldn't open his eyes. The sunshine was making tears flow freely down his face. It was hilarious.
I told him to "work it"...
Up to this point we had done all our shoots at night time. For completeness we knew we'd have to get a few during the daytime too. We met up on Camden Street one sunny Sunday afternoon and went walking...trying some things out along the way.
When we got to the Bleeding Horse, we found a window that reflected some fairly run down Georgian townhouses across the street, on Camden Street Upper. Even better, the room inside had a feature wall with William Morris type wallpaper...so, when Kieran stood in front of the window we could see the buildings behind him reflected, and behind Kieran's reflection in the window, the graphic of the wallpaper inside.
As soon as I took it I knew that we had what we were looking for. The subject looking in a window, the city behind him reflected. The subject is also looking within, drawing inspiration from his rural background. I'd like to say I planned it...but we came across the scene quiet by accident.
It's all in the doing.
I love that quote from Beckett;
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
I'm very proud of this image, and what it represents. I'm honoured that Kieran wanted me to be involved in a small way with the creation of his debut...it's an important thing to trust someone with - the visual representation of your musical work. I'm glad he was happy with the results. At the end of the day, that's the most important thing.
Although he looks very serious in a lot of those shots, really we had a lot of fun. The amount of shots I have with him cracking up greatly outnumber the "serious artist" shots...it took some time, but we got there in the end. Good things do come to those who wait.
See Kieran's Facebook page here