NICCY – Promoting the Rights of Children and Young People


Working with NICCY was one of the highlights of my year, not just because I support the work that they do but also because I was able to work with some of the young people I have worked with on other projects. The models where selected from a number of different youth programs that I have been involved in over this past few years.

The extra tech help in the form of other freelancers including Nick Koch (www.nickoch.com) & Adam Smyth (www.adamsmythfilms.com) I produced some striking images with the young people as models and was also able to incorporate a few local architectural icons to gel situate the imagery firmly into Belfast and Northern Ireland.



Translink


This Translink job was tough. I had to get a wide variety of images from the wide variety of services and I wanted the beautiful shiny happy faces of ‘Mr & Mrs Joe Public’. So I had to pack up what gear I could carry and go fishing, so to speak. I didn’t really have a technique in mind. I just sort of went to my nearest bus stop, picked an individual and asked loudly if they would do me a favour and when they said yes (most of the time) I then told them what I was doing and asked if I could take their picture etc. That was when people started to say ‘No’. But the people that did say yes were great and I was able to get some great shots. Later I encouraged a few friends and family to join the mix and got a wonderful array of images that really showed off the Translink experience.

I did notice a stark difference between the train passengers and the bus passengers and even a small difference between Metro & Ulsterbus passengers. Train passengers are by far the most quiet and unwilling wannabe models. Acceptance of the zero pay modelling contract was done by approx. 30% of all NI Rail passengers. All were polite, with a simple “No thanks” and an awkward smile. Metro & Ulsterbus passengers combined accepted the Modelling career T&C’s with a healthy figure of around 75%. But by far the most impressive was Metro alone. I think approx. 95% of Metro passengers agreed to having their photograph taken. I even got a few ‘Can I do it’ from some people. Although, on balance I did get some spectacular “NO WAY’s” and “Absolutely not’s!”. Swings and roundabouts I suppose.


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Coffee at Mauds – Holywood


Christopher Philips from Mauds Ice cream in Holywood wanted a chance to show off his coffee making skills as well as tempt his customers with a selection of choice coffee. Christopher asked me to come along and capture a few moments for the establishments pending ‘coffee wall of fame’. How could I resist.

The sheer intrigue of watching the man work coupled with fresh coffee delivered throughout the shoot, was a delight. I would definitely recommend that you sample his work whenever you get a chance… did I mention the ice cream is sensational.


 


Balmoral Show


Working alongside WHITENOISE STUDIOS is a joy. They have a great team and I get pushed and inspired when we get to work together and on this shoot I was definitely pushed and inspired. Setting up a photo-shoot is nothing new. When cows & pigs are the models it changes everything from normal to not normal. I soon realised that one of my feet was firmly on unfamiliar ground. I was pitched the idea by the project Art Director Alex, so I knew what I was getting myself in for.

But don’t get me wrong it didn’t even nearly help prepare me for that trailer pulling up in the cold warehouse in the Kingshall, Belfast and a cow backing out into the cowboy studio (no pun intended) that I had just built. I have never been so mindful of the fragility of my equipment. The cow and pigs where on their best behaviour though, under the watchful eye of their proud owner. Even Mark Case one of the owners at Whitenoise was at his best as he resumed his annul cameo appearance as Balmoral Show Model.



Ross & Joanne // Donegal


When I first met Ross and Joanne I was immediately taken back by how relaxed they both where. Joanne is a very talented people person and I was put at ease from the get-go and very quickly excited about shooting their big day. The World Cup was rudely scheduled on their Wedding Day eve and true to their openness and generosity they put me up for a night and even invited me to join their friends and family to watch the Final which was a much appreciated gesture.

St. Mary’s church idyllically presented by the Malin Head Hills was a breath taking spot. This rich Irish landscape was a wonder to shoot in, a truly Thin place. The detail, the cars, the location, the church, the people and the Bride & Groom made for a very special and satisfying wedding day. Congratulations Ross & Joanne and good luck in your future together.



John & Fiona // Rowallane


Crunch time. The time when decisive action is needed. This is how it felt when shooting John & Fiona’s wedding. Both John & Fiona are incredibly cool and stylish and well travelled and educated people. So being asked to shoot their wedding was obviously a confidence booster but it also struck me with a real sense of ‘you better know what you are doing’. In the planning, both John & Fiona came across really laid back about the whole event and with lots of “Well we might try this or this…” as if they hadn’t organised the wedding of the year, which of course they had. The shear attention to detail in food, venues & timings was top notch. From morning to evening the whole thing ran like clock work and was beautiful. Fiona was getting ready in a beautifully hidden away old style holiday home in Hillsborough (No. 33 Coach House).

Bridalwear was handmade by Lynne Greg. The wedding was to take place outdoors at Rowallane Gardens, with help from guests to recite their vows & promises to each other. Afterwards, they went off to Tubby’s Farm which had been transformed into the most stunning wedding venue by SBD and catered by Root and Branch/The Daily Grind. The flowers were stunning and they had been created by Lorna Brownlee at Scarlet & Crimson. But not only that, they had even organised it so that their friends and family could camp over, kids and all, so they could stay late into the night dancing and singing. Which I am reliably informed they did. The wedding was extremely unique, personal, romantic, fun & community & family orientated, I couldn’t think of doing it better. Congratulations John & Fiona.



Geoff & Maura // Rowellane


It was clear from the start that Maura is an organised woman. She knew off the top of her head most if not all the details of the big day when we first had our meetings. (Which is always a good thing) So when I arrived that morning to start the big day I was surprised to see Maura calmly sitting getting her make up on. I was unaware that there had been a slight problem with the make up the first time round (a potential reaction to something) that had been totally out of Maura’s control. But still quite calmly Maura was relaxed and trying to enjoy the morning. The other girls had been enjoying champagne that Carl (Maura’s Father) had been generously splashing out on anyone who looked dry. Altogether it was a busy and fun house, kids playing, bridesmaids chatting and brides-to-be having their make-up done & re-done.

I can only assume that Maura is normally the time-keeper in her group of friends and potentially her family. It was only after the cars had arrived that anyone went to check their watch and realised that we had rapidly run out of time. So we had to bundle our stuff into the car and make it to the church. But it was all worth it. Maura looked  stunning, the church was filled with joyful family and friends and Geoff was star struck. The whole day was beautiful and relaxed even with the morning problems. Geoff and Maura have a strong friendship group that obviously love them and evening was filled with laughter and one or two epic dance moves.



Adam & Lauren // Belfast


Adam & Lauren had such a special day. A wedding that truly celebrated two individuals. They shaped the day around their personalities and their passions to celebrate themselves in such an important time. A fun filled and brilliant wedding day with bright colours, personal touches & superhero. What is not to like. Congratulations guys.