Confessions of a Collaborator

On Friday, someone who’d looked up my blog asked me why I stopped being a professional photographer and ended up a television producer. I’ve been asked that question many times and it always seems loaded, like there is a judgment in the question. My offpat answer has always been that I got lonely as a snapper in the Highlands and Islands.

Malcy at Sunrise on Garry Beach Lewis 1986. The writing in the sand means 'Today' in Scots Gaelic.

Inspired by the question, I picked these pictures to illustrate the idea of my romantic isolation and then realized that apart from the canal picture, the other two are actually collaborations. The picture of Malcy Maclean on the beach was a joint project with his national Gaelic arts project in the 80’s. We made a series of posters attempting to highlight the perilous state of the Gaelic language at that time in Scotland.

Kabul Market, 2003 for 'Finding Bin Laden' with writer Henry Naylor

The images of the Burka clad women in Kabul Market was taken for another collaboration. This time with writer Henry Naylor, when we produced a play called ‘Finding Bin Laden‘ (starring Nina Conti and Dave Lamb, now better known as Mr Come Dine With Me) at the Edinburgh Festival to draw attention to the conspiracy between the military and the media in Afghanistan in 2003.

A boy on the Regents Canal 2002. A rare collaboration with my camera only.

So it seems that even as a photographer I’ve been drawn to working with others to create images and longer-form narratives. Looking back, the move into television – the business, the teams, the way moving images and words come together in scenes, shows and series – was inevitable but there is nagging doubt that I have betrayed a true love.

One response to Confessions of a Collaborator

  1. Pretty sure your commitment to video is more than point and click.
    Looking back sadly, is not a true reflection … it’s like the brain applying photoshop filter layers.
    What I’d like to see you do next is take 3d stills of folk so that I can have a rapid prototyped model of my child on my work desk…. and fight it with darth vader…

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