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This month we welcome Sally Cuthbert, working in all fields of photography from wedding to commercial. Keep on reading to find out more about Sally, her photography and favourite creative resources. 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a photographer and jeweller splitting my time between the two different activities. Some on the week I’m out on location shooting PR, portraits or website images while other days I’m silversmithing and working on those commissions.

What inspired you to first pick up a camera?

At school - I was lucky enough to be taught by Dave Williams in my last year at school. I loved it from the start, i do miss the old ways sometimes and the smell of a dark room!

What subjects are you most drawn to?

People, I love the interaction when I’m photographing - the balance of getting the best from people by getting them to relax in front of a camera.

What is your favourite gear you’re using at the moment?

I love my 35 mm lens it’s my go to lens.

Can you list a few of your favourite creative  resources (magazines, blogs, Instagram, etc.)

So variety, there are some great photographers who’s work I admire but particularly  I love the portraiture work of Albert Watson and the energy and enthusiasm of Bill Cunningham and his work.

Please tell us the story behind one of your favourite photographs.

Recently I loved doing a photo shoot for a client in Great Western Baths in Glasgow - I’ve always wanted to visit the building and it didn’t disappoint, it’s an amazing and unique space. The swimmers didn’t seem to mind as the trapeze artist I was photographing swung back and forth over their heads!

This month we welcome Ellie Morag, photographer specialising in portrait photography. We spoke to Ellie about the sources of her inspiration, what made her pick up a camera for the very first time and her favourite creative resources.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hey, I’m Ellie, I’m a photographer from Edinburgh. I grew up in a small town called Peebles, but have been lucky enough to photograph all over the UK and USA. Last year I lived and worked in Atlanta, GA, and along with another photographer we shot Weddings, Arts Events and Portraits across America. It was an amazing adventure! 

What inspired you to first pick up a camera?
Initially it was graphic design that I was interested in. I love visual communication and relished in the creative process of making projects look and feel beautiful. But as time went on I grew frustrated by not finding the images I had in my head for the projects, so I started to take my own. Around that time I was also going to a lot of concerts and live music gigs. I loved the atmosphere and would often say to myself “I want to take photos that encompass that feeling”. Over time I became more interested in the photography than the design projects and it developed from there.

What subjects are you most drawn to?
I find people fascinating, I like movement and dancers are beautiful to photograph. I love the way they can control their bodies. Gig photography is fun because I adore playing with lighting and shadows. But I love the challenge of finding beauty in relatively normal situations; I like lighting, the way it hits people at various different times of the day. 

What is your favourite gear you are using at the moment?
My Nikon D750! I upgraded earlier this year and I absolutely love it because it pushes me to explore and not be lazy. There is so much it can do and I want to be able to use it to its greatest potential. My favourite lens is my 35mm prime. I like that it makes me think and work for my shots. My D750 has WIFI built so I can send photos to my iPhone which is great for events and previews on shoots.

Can you list a few of your creative resources?
Gosh I have so many! Creative Live – both their videos and blog are amazing, 99U, Creative Digest, Instagram, EyeEm, Pinterest, i-d magazine, ELLE, Vogue…the list goes on!

Please tell us the story behind one of your favourite photographs.

Imogen Cunningham has this quote “Which of my photographs is my favourite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow”. I’m not sure I’ve taken my favourite shot yet. I found it really hard to choose, but if I had to it would be this one I took of a model last year. I was working on movement and the model had this wildly amazing hair so we were doing head tosses. I think this was maybe our 10th shot, but I love how you can see the outlines of her neck and jaw. I think it looks amazing.

This month we welcome Matt Higgins, Art Director at digital giant Blonde with a passion for animal photography - luckily for us he masterfully captures people too. 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m 28 and based in Edinburgh. I work as an Art Director for a digital agency and photography is a big passion of mine. Football, music, creative stuff and exploring new places take up most of the rest of my time.

What inspired you to first pick up a camera?

My dad passed down his interest in photography to me, really. He used an SLR. I have a few cracking photos that he took of me when I was a kid. I got my first DSLR in 2010, it was a canon 1000D. Since then I’ve put a lot of effort (hard-earned cash) into upgrading my gear and going on trips with the sole purpose of getting some good photos and testing my skills.

What subjects are you most drawn to?

Definitely animals! But you can’t beat the feeling you get when you take a shot of a person or group of people and they love the photograph. Also, I’m a massive bokeh fan so I like all subjects that give me the option of shooting at low apertures.

What is your favourite gear you’re using at the moment?

I’ve got a (healthy) obsession with technology so I’ve always got my eye on different lenses and camera bodies. Right now I’m shooting with a Canon 6D and three L lenses – I’ve got the 35mm F1.4, 50mm F1.2 & the 24-105mm F4. For editing I use Lightroom which is incredible and Photoshop for any retouching.

Can you list a few of your favourite creative  resources (magazines, blogs, Instagram, etc.)

I love Instagram, fstoppers, This Is Colossal and a couple of YouTube channels – Jared Polin and Digital Rev TV.

My favourite Instagrammers are Kat Irlin, Elena Shumilova, Tony Detroit and The Dogist.

Please tell us the story behind one of your favourite photographs.

There’s this photo I took of my better half in North Berwick that I really like. It was an amazing sunset so the sky was completely lit up all pink and purple. She’s standing and you can see her reflection in the water, while the Bass Rock is aligned dead-centre behind her. Everything just came together perfectly for that one!

Keep up with Matt’s work here: http://www.matthiggo.com/, follow him on instagram


What’s Your Hidden Talent? Introducing CreativeMornings SKILLS!
We know you’ve got skills! 

Hidden talents, creative hacks, professional expertise, self-mastered methods and crafts — the list goes on.

There is no shortage of talent in the CreativeMornings community and we want to learn from you. So, we’re inviting you, in video form, to answer the question: what will you teach the world in two minutes or less?

We’re hoping this project inspires our community to showcase their skills and empower each other to celebrate our unique, quirky, fun, informative, creative talents.

Let’s do this!

Anyone can watch videos, but you must login to your CreativeMornings profile to upload your video. Don’t have an account? Create one!

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself.

My Name is Scott Rankin, I am a 28 year old freelance photographer originally from Bo’ness, I moved through to Edinburgh last September to finish a course in interactive design. I’ve been shooting on and off for the lat 7 or 8 years, but only really started to take it seriously in the last 3 or 4. I do a lot of behind the scenes stills for film and TV but in my free time I like to get in to the car and drive to new places with my girlfriend Ailsa snapping along the way.

What inspired you to first pick up a camera?

I’ve always been a visual learner, so its one of the few things I understood pretty quickly. When I eventually bought a camera this meant I progressed at a good enough pace that I never got discouraged and quit. I eventually met a guy called Porter McKnight who really showed me another side of photography. He introduced me to Instagram and editing tools like Lightroom and thats where I realised its potential. I was able to look at photographs from all over the world on a daily basis, seeing new, creative ways people were using their cameras and how accessible it was. From then on I was hooked.

What subjects are you most drawn to?

Over all I’m drawn to a more minimal style, I like to have as little in the frame as possible but still try to tell a story. I like tiny details just as much as I like wide landscape and architecture shots, everything excites me and I’m on the path to try and learn it all!

What is your favourite gear you’re using at the moment?

I recently just picked up a Canon 5d Mk II and 24 - 105 L lens. Its my first full frame camera and L lens, so the upgrade has been incredible. I’m really enjoying using my 70 - 300 lens, being able to zoom in so close means I can pick out little details from far away and fill the frame.

Can you list a few of your favourite creative  resources (magazines, blogs, Instagram, etc.)

Without a doubt my most loved creative resource it Instagram. Here are a few of my favourite Instagram accounts that keep me interested and on my toes in equal measure.

checkn2cash: Jason posts incredible minimal shots of his life in Mississippi, using the seemingly mundane to create beautiful photographs. The architecture of shopping malls and warehouses feature heavily. Signage typography, and primary colours contrast with large industrial concrete facades to create simple, compositions that will make you look at everything differently.

Ailsa.gram: I travel everywhere with Ailsa, seeing how she views the same places always makes me reevaluate how I look at things. Her feed is full of beautiful landscape shots where layered mountains fade into mist, and dew covered fern leaves glint in the early morning sun. Subtle, light and airy colours give her photos the feel of a crisp October morning.

Dantom: As a San Fransisco native, it’s no surprise that fog and beautiful light feature heavily. He posts photos of rolling hills blanketed in low morning cloud and snow capped mountains reflecting in mirror like lakes. A feed that will make you want to leave the house and never come back. Looking at his photos makes you realise the power of getting up early for photos.

Ahmad_abi: Fun and colour are the main ingredients of this physicians Instagram account. Quirky portraits mixed with bright, minimal compositions makes for a feed that is never dull! Truly the happiest feed on Instagram, bursting with personality and creativity! 

Discover Scott’s work here and keep up with him on instagram.

Hey CreativeMornings/Edinburgh attendees - do we have a treat for you this month! Read more about our exciting July event here.

See you soon!

Hello! I am a photographer who first and foremost loves the medium of photography and loves that its my job. I have had work published from here to South Korea, been to remote beaches, shot celebrities and photographed a nuclear reactor.

I trained as a photojournalist but now mostly shoot commercial work. I’m at the start of my career in photography, though have had the opportunity to assist some really top tier photographers which is quite a rare opportunity in Scotland. Photography is such a vast field in terms of technical ability and creative scope that I am always learning more and working to develop my skills.
When not behind a camera I am usually sat on a bike cycling somewhere or walking. What inspired you to first pick up a camera?
Well I have always been quite a visual person. What attracted me to photography is how the medium functions as a visual language. I think pictures have a really unique ability to suggest stories rather than tell them. People can look at the same set of images and take something similar yet not the same from the images. Its this sort of ambiguity around photography that really interest me. I also just like really good pictures.

What subjects are you most drawn to?
Portrait photography Is my favourite, I love looking at shots of people. I trained as a photojournalist so I suppose I will always be drawn to shots of people.

What is your favourite gear you’re using at the moment?
Well over the past few years I have invested heavily in high quality lighting equipment, basically studio lights that you can use on location. The quality of light these flashes produce is great. You can use it to create a hard light as if it were like direct sunlight or a soft diffused light just like a from a window on an overcast day.

Can you list a few of your favourite creative  resources (magazines, blogs, Instagram, etc.)
Well I always make a point of reading the Creative Review, I think its really interesting to get such a good insight into other disciplines. Twitter is a great resource for photographers, you can connect with photographers from all around the world and engage about your/their work. Recently I have been looking at a fair amount of painting to try and inform my practice, I saw Katie Downie’s exhibition recently and thought it was utterly fantastic.

Please tell us the story behind one of your favourite photographs.
​This is a shot I took on the 17th of September the night before the referendum. For me it really reflected the vision and hopes that people had for the future, regardless of what side of the debate you were really on.

Follow John on Twitter​ and  Instagram and see more of his work at  www.johnduncanphoto.com

CreativeMornings/Edinburgh catches is up with this month’s photographer Jo Tennant

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a photographer. I’m a scientist (my degree studies) and artist (because the need to create just keeps intruding).  I guess both of these are the best mix for a photographer. The f-stops, shutter speeds and technical geekery capture fleeting moments of lines, patterns and light - all of which might otherwise pass unnoticed.

I print photomontages onto textiles as well.  

But I am more than a photographer. Born in South Africa moved to the UK when I was nine, I am now a mother of a fifteen month old little Scots girl. I live in a wonderful and impractical house on the sea in Portobello where I am trying to stop the roof leaking.

I have been captain of a bike, horse and elephant polo team. I am also quite annoyingly geeky about craft beer and wine.

What inspired you to first pick up a camera?

My dad had an SLR camera which came everywhere with us throughout my childhood.  When I was ten,my dog was running in the park;trying to find the balance between shutter speed to capture his movement and aperture to expose correctly, then frame and compose … I wanted to learn and master it. Ever since then, I have thought that great photography has the power to tell a story, to make you feel something and to understand. It is satisfying to evoke that in an image.  

What subjects are you most drawn to?

People with passion. Their energy is infectious and exhilarating to work with.  I love telling their story.

What is your favourite gear you’re using at the moment?

I love my kit, though it’s not particularly high tech.  A trusty Nikon and a battery of well loved lenses, a MacBook Pro and the Adobe suite.  Technology is brilliant at making things possible but it can never replace the story you tell when you frame and crop beautifully or make the decisions about which moment you choose to portray: the magic comes from that.  

Can you list a few of your favourite creative resources (magazines, blogs, Instagram, etc.)

The Do Lectures are my go to for inspiration in life and a kick start on any project.  

I love  these photographers’ work:

Mickey Smith   http://bit.ly/1ETivqS and his Do Lecture on ‘Trust in the Things You Love’ here http://bit.ly/1PuvL0e

Phil Chapman - an unassuming photographer who takes the most beautiful pinhole / repurposed camera images   http://bit.ly/1FoRcJA

Laurence Winram - a friend and mentor.  His Conemen and Shadow images http://bit.ly/1QY5yET

In addition, getting outside- ideally onto Portobello Beach or into the woods or up onto the hills inspires me.  But part of me loves grey streets in sideways weather and finding beauty in that.  Just being in the moment.

And making yourself take a photo a day- that ‘silly’ exercise will do more for your creativity and photography skill than anything else.  

Please tell us the story behind one of your favourite photographs.

This photo makes me smile.  The bridesmaid was taking her duties very seriously, as one does aged six.  The bride’s underskirt was hooked on something underneath and so in she dived to fix it.  When I’m photographing, it’s a kind of meditation- you need to stay in the moment yet be watching all the time and enjoy being carried along with the subjects. When moments like this arise, you’re there to frame and catch them.  

Other photos are purely sentimental and remind me just of a time and place.  

This image is of the doorways on the main street in Bowmore on the Isle of Islay.  I’d gone there to run the half marathon and whilst staying met a guy who knocked me sideways with his ebullience.  We were walking down the street. I remember, awkwardly, I couldn’t think of something to say and that awful shyness of being like a teenager again, so I stopped to frame an image I thought I’d seen instead. Well I think both the photo and the boy turned out rather well:  five years later, we now have a fifteen month old daughter together. So this is a personal one.

Follow Jo on twitter, instagram and facebook

CreativeMornings/Edi ON TOUR!

Two weeks and counting to our next event on the 29th May. To stay true to our mission of shedding light on our fabulous city’s creative individuals - we’re taking this month’s event to a new location!

Basic Mountain is a light, spacious, somewhat unexpected room in the city centre of Edinburgh. It supports artists developing new work through performances, films, talks, exhibitions, and clubs. 

So take note of the address  1 Hill St, Edinburgh EH2 3JP, UK 

See you soon!


Get the diaries out, our next event will be on Friday 24th April, at Summerhall, stay tuned, speaker announced shortly….