2013 Through my Lens
This time last year, I began by saying how I initially thought it was a quiet year for me until I actually looked at it in review. That’s certainly not been the case for 2013, as I’ve been involved in various events, exhibitions and projects, met more interesting people than I ever expected, and I’ve even been an extra in a movie- more of that later! This year has certainly been my busiest yet, so let’s get cracking!
In terms of clubs, Menergy continues to be my main club gig. However, this year, the club has been growing far beyond its original origins. Starting at the end of 2012, the club began to attract live acts from “RuPaul’s Drag Race”. The effect was immediate- in January of this year, the club played one of its most successful nights ever as Sharon Needles headlined, with local band Surgyn as support.
This set the agenda for the next year, and by summer, Menergy had outgrown its venue in Forbidden, and had moved to AXM Glasgow. Two years ago, I was telling people about a story of how a friend had said to me “I see you’re covering the alternative scene” in relation to my Menergy. It’s a sign of how far the club has entered the mainstream when it’s got a regular spot in the biggest gay club in Glasgow, and regularly features people from the telly! I only just realised how things have changed when I was over in Barcelona, and had stopped over at The Black Bull bar. Noticing the TV playing various drag videos, I was struck how many of them featured people I had met in Menergy this last year.
Of course, the club is about more than the headliners. Menergy has always been about being a place where the punters can be the stars of the show, and that continues to be the case this year! The various possibilities of the lighting at AXM has also allowed me to try many new ideas in available light.
I’ve also been able to attend Supamax on a number of occasions. It’s always a dark sweatbox of a club night, and it’s always been a challenging and fun experience.
Furthermore, I was able to help in the launch of new club night called Gays In Space, doing a photoshoot for their publicity, which got used in a feature in The List. Their launch night also resulted in one of my favourite available light club shots of 2013.
Another special club event I covered was “Arika presents Episode 5: Hidden in Plain Sight“, which featured The Legendary Pony Zion Garçon, DJ Sprinkles, and boychild. At the night, I also met up with Menergy alumni The Niallist and I took probably my best portrait of him yet.
I covered many events this year. For a start, I covered both Pride events in Edinburgh and and Glasgow, the latter appearing in Scotsgay.
With the amount of exhibitions I was attending this year, (more later) I was also covering many with my camera.
I also covered the opening of the new iCafe in Sauchiehall Street…
Come August, I was almost too busy to even come to Edinburgh for the Fringe. Luckily I was able to make it.
I was also in attendance for both of the Nightwalks this year, and also managed to cover Edinburgh Mela fashion show.
At the end of the year I also covered World AIDS day in Glasgow , including a floating lantern launch at the end of the day.
Much more so than last year, I was heavily involved in exhibiting my work. A lot of it was due to the amazing Michelle Cohen, who had assembled a wide range of artists in various venues into a series of regular exhibitions.
My association with The Virginia Gallery also continued. In the summer, I was involved with The Merchant City’s Working, a group exhibition of portraits of Merchant City shop owners in front of their premises. My image of Record Fayre was chosen as the main flyer image. The other exhibition at the Gallery was my biggest I was involved with in 2013- “I AM“, as part of the Glasgay! festival. As I mentioned at the time, a great deal of the credit for this exhibition must go to Garry, whose sure-footed stewardship of this exhibition made sure that it’s opening night was such a success.
At almost the same time, the other big exhibition of my year was held at Bar Ten– “Ménage a Trois“, a collaboration with John Gallagher and Peter Saliba. Whereas “I AM” was exhibited in a gallery, the venue of Bar Ten was a different venue altogether, and I expected my contributions to the exhibition to be comparatively provocative for the venue, and indeed it did generate a bit of discussion.
With both of those exhibitions starting in the first week of October, I figured I needed a holiday to chill out! So I decided to return to Barcelona, a place I’ve not been for a couple of years, but have been aching to get back to. It is one of my favourite cities in Europe, and I met a number of interesting people on my travels. This time I was based in the heart of the Eixample, and it provided a much needed change of perspective. I also returned to Sitges for a day-trip to see what it was like when the last vestiges of summer were starting to retreat.
I’ve always been experimenting with my iPhone camera for the past couple of years, and posting pictures my Instagram, without making too much of it. However, this year, a couple of things changed. Firstly, I got a new iPhone with a better quality camera, and suddenly my iPhoneography more resolution, better sensitivity, and I was more flexible in what I could try with my shots. Secondly, a number of people commented on my work on Instagram, and asked if I was working toward exhibiting any of my shots.
And so, I made my first steps this year. A small number of my iShots have debuted in an exhibition still currently on at Bar Ten. So far the feedback has been good, so who knows what might happen in 2014?
My debut as a film extra!
The closing weeks of 2013 concerned a completely new line of work to me: my debut as a film extra. This was for a new movie based on “Swung“, a novel written by Ewan Morrison. I had never done film extra work before, and so had no idea what to expect. In the end a lot of it involved waiting around, and then intense bouts of action. What I can say is that:
- There’s a rather nice scene in a Burlesque club, which features me and my friend Jen in the background.
- Lady Munter and Gregor feature in a scene. I was able to do a photoshoot with them backstage before they were called to do their part.
- Myself and a number of the Menergy crew feature in a scene. This is us backstage, waiting (a long time as it happens) for our call.
- I’m involved in a scene which I cannot possibly talk about, except that it involves interacting with one of the main cast in an interesting manner.
- Watch out for Irvine Welsh.
Ironically, the wrap party was at Cocktail & Burger, which held an exhibition I had taken part in earlier this year. It was great to meet the cast and crew again once the pressure of the shoot was over. We also saw a preview clip which bodes rather well for the rest of the movie. I go some nice shots of Ewan himself, the director Colin Kennedy, and lead actress Elena Anaya.
And that also wrapped up an amazing year for me. If 2014 can top that, then it’ll be something special! (I suspect I’ll also need to break it down into a section per day…)
Let me leave you with a few individual shots that didn’t quite fit into any of the sections. Happy New Year!