Virgin Money Fireworks, Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh International Festival, Scotland, UK.Not the footie team. Obviously. (I’m not a fan of sport, full stop).  But of my real home. In Edinburgh (and surrounds).

It raises the question of “where is home?” and “what does ‘home’ mean?”. Well, where is yours? And how did it become yours? Was it where you were brought up? Moved to? Worked for most of your life? Went to uni/school? Where your parents are from? Where you fell in love? Felt accepted for being you? Moved to, out of necessity? None of these? A combination of these? Something entirely different? (Tell me your ‘stories of home’ – I’d love to hear! Actually, I’d love to photograph! And tell your story to the world!)

Botanic Lights 2015, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, Britain - 20 Nov 2015

“Botanic Lights 2015” at the Royal Botanic Gardens. “Botanic Lights 2015 – Seasons in Colour” has been designed by leading Scottish lighting artist Grant Anderson working with composer Claire McKenzie to create a unique night-time experience, themed around the elements and the changing of the seasons; celebrating a year in Edinburgh through the eyes and ears of The Royal Botanic Garden’s plant life.

Edinburgh has felt like home for many years. Over half my life. I’ve been trying to move here, off and on, for the last 20. Blimey.

Despite being born in Yorkshire (which is also ‘home’ but in a more generic, but fundamental, sense – I think that’s a topic for another post!). I’ve been visiting the city since 1984. It’s held an important place in my heart since day one.

Botanic Lights 2015, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, Britain - 20 Nov 2015

“Botanic Lights 2015” at the Royal Botanic Gardens. “Botanic Lights 2015 – Seasons in Colour” has been designed by leading Scottish lighting artist Grant Anderson working with composer Claire McKenzie to create a unique night-time experience, themed around the elements and the changing of the seasons; celebrating a year in Edinburgh through the eyes and ears of The Royal Botanic Garden’s plant life.

My love affair with Embra began in the passion of Fringe. But I soon realised it was the city itself, and not the Land of Green Ginger (much as I adore it, revel in it, and work my heart out for it, year-in-year-out), which whispered to my soul.

And now I’m here. I gave in. To my heart, though it makes sense to my head too. I am in my home…my home is in me. And that, Dear Reader, is, I think, what makes anywhere ‘home’. Outside in and inside out. Yin Yang. Mobius Strip. Alice Through the Looking Glass. &&&&&&&.

Botanic Lights 2015, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, Britain - 20 Nov 2015

“Botanic Lights 2015” at the Royal Botanic Gardens. “Botanic Lights 2015 – Seasons in Colour” has been designed by leading Scottish lighting artist Grant Anderson working with composer Claire McKenzie to create a unique night-time experience, themed around the elements and the changing of the seasons; celebrating a year in Edinburgh through the eyes and ears of The Royal Botanic Garden’s plant life.

Wishing you love in your home. x

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As usual, the rate of work increased and I couldn’t keep up the running commentary via this blog. so, here’s a round-up of some of the work I had published during the Edinburgh Festivals 2015, in no particular order. Hopefully, there’ll be a follow up post with some of the pictorial highlights, given that the best work is often not published!

a Girl Is a Half Formed Thing, Traverse, Guardian, 09.08.15 Adrienne Truscott, Guardian 08.08.15 Aisling Bea, Gilded Balloon, Observer, 09.08.15 Aisling Bea, Guardian online 13.08.15 Ballett Zurich, Playhouse, EIF - The Guardian - 29 Aug 2015 - Pa Bryony Kimmings, Traverse, Mashable, 13.08.15 Joe Lycett, Pleasance, 27.08.15 Spillikin, Jack Dome, Pleasance, The List 12.08.15 Spillikin, Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh Guide, 23.08.15 Swallow, Traverse, FT, 07.08.15 The Christians, Traverse, The Guardian 10.08.15 Alasdair Gray, Telegraph, 23.08.15 Marriage of Figaro, Festival Theatre, EIF, Guardian online 14.08.15 Ballett Zurich, Playhouse, EIF – The Guardian – 29 Aug 2015 – Page #48

So then, yesterday, “A Gambler’s Guide to Dying” (cheerier than it sounds) had its photocall at the Traverse. The usual, stopwatched, 10 minutes, policed by the ever-efficient Cian. Devised, written, performed by Gary McNair, based on his relationship with his grandfather.

Gary McNair, actor in, and writer of, the production

Gary McNair, actor in, and writer of, the production

Back to the Traverse today for “The Christians”, from The Gate Theatre, London,  and “Fake It ‘Til You Make It” by Bryony Kimmings and Tim Grayburn. I suspect this will be an important and memorable piece of theatre but, unfortunately, there was no time to tell, as 10 minutes is not sufficient to impart the essence (or any substance) of the production. However, having read Bryony’s posts about the production, I am intending to book to see it. Absolutely loved her last show (and the one before, and the one before, etc!).

Edinburgh, UK. 03.08.2015. "THE CHRISTIANS" opens at the Traverse Theatre, during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.  Picture shows: Lucy Ellinson (Congregant) and William Gaminara (Pastor). Photograph © Jane Hobson.

Edinburgh, UK. 03.08.2015. “THE CHRISTIANS” opens at the Traverse Theatre, during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Picture shows: Lucy Ellinson (Congregant) and William Gaminara (Pastor). Photograph © Jane Hobson.

Edinburgh, UK. 03.08.2015. "FAKE IT 'TIL YOU MAKE IT" opens at the Traverse Theatre, during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Starring Bryony Kimmings and Tim Grayburn. Directed by Bryony Kimmings. Picture shows: Tim Grayburn. Photograph © Jane Hobson.

Edinburgh, UK. 03.08.2015. “FAKE IT ‘TIL YOU MAKE IT” opens at the Traverse Theatre, during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Starring Bryony Kimmings and Tim Grayburn. Directed by Bryony Kimmings. Picture shows: Tim Grayburn. Photograph © Jane Hobson.

However, before that, I went to the Pleasance Dome, to meet Pipeline Theatre, from Cornwall, who are making the utterly beautiful, funny and heartbreaking/tearmaking “Spillikin”. Here’s a link so you can find out more:

Spillikin/Pipeline

Suffice it to say, for now, that, in sitting in on a line-run, around a table in the bar in the Pleasance, it was so on-point that I was both laughing and crying, sometimes in the same breath. Can’t wait to see it performed. The set looks fantastic too and I didn’t even mention the Robothespian yet……

Excited!

First photocall of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, henceforth referred to as simply EdFringe, today at the Traverse. A one-hander entitled “Crash”, by Andy Duffy, directed by Emma Callander and starring Jamie Mitchie (Game of Thrones and Humans). The snippets we had were intriguing. Must try and find a space to see the whole piece.

Jamie Mitchie

Jamie Mitchie

Jamie Mitchie

Jamie Mitchie

In the normal course of things, if I photograph a dog, it’s an actor dog, on a stage, in a theatre. Today was a bit different, having been commissioned to do a non-acting dog portrait (or ‘Doge’ portrait, for those of you in on the meme) outside, in the sunshine, on a bit of urban beach near the Tate Modern.

Stage dog

London, UK. 12.03.2014. Pilobolus presents SHADOWLAND at the Peacock Theatre. Photograph © Jane Hobson.

The subject, a Shiba Inu, was blissfully unaware of being the star of a portrait shoot as she excitedly galloped up and down the strip of sand, either pursuing a tennis ball, or digging herself a hole, which filled with water for her to lap up (creative Doge, making a dog bowl!).

London, UK. 06.07.2015. Kiko Braithwaite, a Shiba Inu, on the river beach by the Tate Modern, Bankside. Photograph © Jane Hobson.

London, UK. 06.07.2015. A Shiba Inu, on the river beach by the Tate Modern, Bankside. Photograph © Jane Hobson.

London, UK. 06.07.2015. Kiko Braithwaite, a Shiba Inu, on the river beach by the Tate Modern, Bankside. Photograph © Jane Hobson.

London, UK. 06.07.2015. A Shiba Inu, on the river beach by the Tate Modern, Bankside. Photograph © Jane Hobson.

London, UK. 06.07.2015. Kiko Braithwaite, a Shiba Inu, on the river beach by the Tate Modern, Bankside. Photograph © Jane Hobson.

London, UK. 06.07.2015. A Shiba Inu, on the river beach by the Tate Modern, Bankside. Photograph © Jane Hobson.

London, UK. 06.07.2015. Kiko Braithwaite, a Shiba Inu, on the river beach by the Tate Modern, Bankside. Photograph © Jane Hobson.

London, UK. 06.07.2015. A Shiba Inu, on the river beach by the Tate Modern, Bankside. Photograph © Jane Hobson.

Suitably tired from her exertions, we repaired to the area outside the Tate Modern, to continue at a more sedate pace, where, in exchange for treats, politely offered a paw for shaking and posed with her owner.

London, UK. 06.07.2015. Kiko Braithwaite, a Shiba Inu, by the Tate Modern, Bankside. Photograph © Jane Hobson.

London, UK. 06.07.2015. A Shiba Inu, by the Tate Modern, Bankside. Photograph © Jane Hobson.

She may not be an actor, but she certainly has star quality. Adults and children alike came over to ask about her and stroke her – having a Shiba as a pet must be a bit like being a WAG if they all create this much awe and appreciation in public!

© Jane Hobson. Kiko the Star Doge, outside the Tate Modern, Bankside, London, UK.

© Jane Hobson. A Shiba Inu, the Star Doge, outside the Tate Modern, Bankside, London, UK.

For a sole trader, you are the brand, so it is especially important to understand your own brand personality and to convey that through the imagery you use throughout your communications, whether online or in traditional, print, media. And when your business is all about Personal Branding, Executive Coaching, and Training & Development, it is even more crucial that your visual imagery practices what you preach. So it was a joy, yesterday, to have the opportunity to help award-winning image professional, Sarah Brummitt, portray her brand image, via business portraiture, at a studio in North London.

Given my background in advertising and brand communications, as a strategist, it’s unsurprising that I bring this experience to the party when shooting business portraiture. Can’t help it! Sarah and I had worked together before, and have had a number of conversations about her business, brand, positioning, target market and her exciting plans for the future, culminating in a planning meeting a couple of weeks ago. Coupled with what she projects herself (she really does walk the talk), this helped us both to arrive at the type and range of shots needed for her business, across web, training materials, emailers, collateral, etc. Not only that, but I had a clear idea of the lighting required and was able to get it set up and perfectly exposed with my gaffer, Robin Brigham, in advance of my client’s arrival on the day of the shoot.

Business portrait shoot, Cross Street Studio, Islington, London, UK.

 

Business portrait shoot, Cross Street Studio, Islington, London, UK.

That done, the dressing area was prepped and the kettle put on! (Priorities!). Once Sarah arrived and we reconfirmed what was expected from the shoot, she showed me her outfits and I ran through a few ideas for poses and action shots, we settled into the shoot itself.

Business portrait shoot, Cross Street Studio, Islington, London, UK. Business portrait shoot, Cross Street Studio, Islington, London, UK.

We had decided on using continuous lighting, with powerful light sources usually used for film and video, as Sarah needed action shots, pretty much like I would shoot in the theatre, for production photography. Not having to wait for a flash to power back up meant that she could ‘run lines’ from one of her presentations, keeping the flow to make everything look natural.

As I was shooting tethered (i.e. with the camera connected directly to the laptop and into Lightroom, an editing and processing program), to break up the pace of the shoot, and give a welcome break from posing, Sarah and I reviewed each section, before moving on to the next costume change. Whilst this may seem like a long-winded way of doing it, it can actually speed up the reviewing process after the shoot, and the client can be confident that we have what is needed, before leaving the studio.

Business portrait shoot, Cross Street Studio, Islington, London, UK.

Business portrait shoot, Cross Street Studio, Islington, London, UK.

 

At the end of the afternoon, Sarah confirmed that we had everything that we needed and was happy with the results (albeit unedited/processed at this point). So, today was spent in checking that the selected images were sharp and looking out for any other possibles that we may have missed, making contact sheets, and getting them to the client, via Dropbox. Now the wait to see which ones Sarah and her web designer are going to choose! Excited! (I shall update this blogpost when the final selection is made).

Finally, here’s one of yours truly, demonstrating that hard work is enormous fun!

Business portrait shoot, Cross Street Studio, Islington, London, UK.

 

 

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