In the August 05 entry of this diary I recorded my very great pleasure at being able to photograph Anny Wendy Stevenson with her grandfather, Ronald. A few weeks ago I was delighted to attend a concert featuring her as a member of Calluna along with Christine Kydd.
Anna Wendy, Rebecca and Charlotte are exceptional musicians but they were encouraged by Christine to stretch their vocal chords as well. And very well at that. I have long enjoyed the wonderful harmonies to be heard in the folk world and it was such a treat to hear such wonderful singing.
Trying to get decent photographs at live concerts is always a bit tricky - stage lighting, being too far from the stage, microphones in the way, not being too obtrusive for the audience and so on - all can make it a difficult process. Digital camera saves the day, again.
Just over a year ago I photographed a performance by the The Kala Chethena Kathakali Company (see Diary for June 2005). A comment by a member of the audience after the performance mentioned the similarities between some of the Indian stories and our own Celtic stories. This generated the seeds of an idea for a return tour, and so was born the "A Celebration of Celtic and Asian Storytelling". This was to be part of the Kathakali company's 2006 British tour and was to take place in four village halls in Argyll and at one venue in Glasgow. In June the two directors of the company, Vijay and Barbara Vijayakumar visited five local schools giving Kathakali workshops along with well known Celtic Storyteller, Seorus MacPherson, and visual artist, Ian Prescott - yes! he is related, he's my eldest son. Ian has toured with the company on three occasions and on the current tour is in charge of lighting and sound along with the art installations in the Argyll venues.
During the June schools project the children enjoyed three separate workshops, an introduction to Kathakali, the Celtic storyteller and art work with Ian. This was the initial preparation for the main tour in October when the full company of Kathakali actors travelled from Kerala in India, completely enthralling all the audiences with their spectacular performances. The glossy magazine style programme produced for the tour featured several photographs I had taken last year and during the June visits to local schools.
Seorus Macpherson, the storyteller, was taken ill just before the main tour, but his place was taken, with only a week's notice, by Claire Hewitt from Aberfeldy, who very quickly had to adapt her own stories to fit in with the stories publicised in the programme. She proved to be a major part of the performances - completely entrancing both children and adults with her stories, her clarsach and her wonderful singing. This will lead to further collaboration with Claire for other projects, I'm certain. Do take a look at Claire's web site, www.clairehewitt.co.uk .
As you'll see from most of my other landscape work, I have a great passion for the Highlands of Scotland and this wonderful part of Britain is our usual holiday destination. This year, however, we opted to spend a short break on the east coast at Lunan Bay, staying in a converted fisherman's bothy instead of our usual accommodation - a tent. The weather forecast was not promising so we were pleasantly surprised when we had dry days to take long walks on the wonderful beaches in the area.
Beaches always provide great opportunities not just for photographing seascapes but for exciting textures and patterns - here are a couple of examples.
All in one!