The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

2017 in Photographs (and Videos)

It seems if you do something once it's an experiment; twice it's a habit; and 3 times or more it's a tradition.

Having posted my favourite pics of the previous 12 months every January for the past 8 years, this has now become a completely established tradition.

A little bit odd for me is that I have at least 4 complete photo shoots (2 with behind-the-scenes videos) I did in 2017 which won't be going public until later this year, so cannot be included in this collection of my favourite images. Still, it gives you something to look forward to...

You can find previous years' selections here: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009

There's a varied selection, so hopefully something for everyone. I'm always interested in feedback, so if you'd care to leave a comment about which one(s) are your favourite, or any personal observations, it would be warmly appreciated.

As always, you can click on the images to see larger versions.

Coast To Home

An example of a photo taken the year before, but didn't go public until later into the new year, so didn't appear in last year's highlights. Coast to Home was the Castle Douglas High School Young Enterprise Group. They had created a set of artworks to sell to raise money for charity, created out of stuff found on the beach - driftwood, shells, pebbles etc. I was asked to help with the promotional photo, which we did at the beach on a grey, dreich day in November 2015. I used off-camera flashes to add some light, including one I put in the standard lamp to make it look like it was plugged in. The sea was really cold and several shots failed because of the screams when the icy water started lapping around the ankles of the pupils.
For more about this shoot, click through to this blog post:
http://kimayres.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/coast-to-home.html

Exhibition at the Whitehouse Gallery

At the beginning of the year, the Galloway Photographic Collective had a group exhibition at the Whitehouse Gallery in Kirkcudbright. Rather than put in prints of my usual staged narrative shots, I decided to get images printed up of a shoot I did with Alexandra - a retired ballet dancer. We'd done the session a couple of years previously and I was immensely proud of what we ended up with, but as it was quite different to what I usually do, there had never been an opportunity to display them in public. The response to them was quite polarised. Many people loved them but some really did not - which was exactly the outcome I was hoping for.
For more about this shoot, click through to this blog post:
http://kimayres.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/exhibition-at-whitehouse-gallery.html

Dr Megaphone

Dr Ian Johnston had a touring show of science, music and entertainment, along with his son, Sandy, and local musican and songwriter, Alan McClure. In need of a promotional image we discussed various ideas and ended up in a science classroom with bottles full of coloured liquids and large amounts of dry ice to create the smoke effects.
For more about this shoot, click through to this blog post:
http://kimayres.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/dr-megaphone.html

The Aurora in Northumbria

Maggie and I were having a wee break on the Northumbrian coast. On a clear night I wandered down to the beach to see if I could get any photos of the stars. I hadn't brought a tripod with me, so took at plastic sandwich box to rest the camera on. I thought I could see a faint glow on the horizon, but just assumed it might be lights from oil rigs reflecting off thin clouds, but to my amazement, as I looked in the back of the camera, there was the unmistakable green and purple colouring of the aurora borealis.
For more about this shoot, click through to this blog post:
http://kimayres.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/northumbrian-stars.html

Everyday Superheroes

Soul Soup is an amazing local charity offering professional counselling and support for young people (12 to 25 years old) facing emotional distress and difficulties with their mental health and wellbeing. "Everyday Superheroes" was about the notion that nearly all of us attempt to appear invulnerable and easily able to cope with the world. So we created a photo of people dressed as superheroes in a group therapy session: even Superheroes are vulnerable to mental health problems.

Here's a wee behind-the-scenes video of the shoot


For more about this shoot, click through to this blog post:
http://kimayres.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/soul-soup-everyday-superheroes.html

Sean Taylor

Sean Taylor is an incredible blues singer-songwriter and guitarist, and I never miss an opportunity to see him play live. I've photographed him a couple of times in the past - indeed one of my images ended up on the cover of his 2nd album, Love Against Death. I had an idea for a shoot by streetlight when he visited the Mill on the Fleet in Gatehouse back in March. Despite near sub-zero temperatures, he was as obliging as ever.

Earth's Crust Bakery

Earth's Crust Bakery in Castle Douglas creates such fantastically brilliant bread and other baked products that they were finalists in  the 2017 BBC Food Awards. Presenter of the BBC Radio 4's "The Food Programme", Sheila Dillon, along with world renowned chef, Giorgio Locatelli, came up to this corner of Scotland to interview them. I was asked to capture a few photos, which I happily did, negotiating my fee in bread products...

The Screen Printer

In addition to being an amazing graphic designer and web designer, my good friend Douglas also creates highly collectable screen printed posters out of a shed in his garden. Douglas’s shed is laid out perfectly for him to operate with everything to hand as he needs it. It’s not designed, however, to fit a second person in with a camera. It was definitely a wide-angle lens job.
For more about this shoot, click through to this blog post:
http://kimayres.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/handcooked.html

Allan Wright

Allan Wright is an outstanding landscape photographer, good friend, and he lives just around the corner. Several years in the making, he recently launched his book of Galloway. If you ever want to see just how beautiful this corner of Scotland is, then you have to buy a copy of his book. I was happy to fire off a few shots for him at his book launch.

Moniaive Comic Festival

Once again I teamed up with hairdresser Ralph Yates-Lee at the Moniaive Comic Festival to create a set of photos - this time inspired by the futuristic, post-apocalyptic visions of the comic 2000AD.

Here's another behind-the-scenes video of the shoot


For more about this shoot, click through to this blog post:
http://kimayres.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/moniaive-comic-festivals-new-model-army.html

Selfie with Alfie

In the late spring I finally got myself a smart phone - upgrading from it's more dimwitted cousin I'd been using for several years. Suddenly I understood why selfies have become so popular. The convenience and ease with which I could take a quick snap of myself holding my day-old grandson was something of a revelation. While I will still be using my big, chunky DSLR for professional shoots, I've discovered a new love for the immediate intimacy a phone camera can bring.
For more about my thoughts on rediscovering a love of the snapshot, click through to this blog post:
https://kimayres.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/rediscovering-snapshot.html

Where The Skin Lies

Another example of a photo shoot that wasn't publicised until much later. I was asked to be a "Still Photographer" for a horror film set in Kippford, called "Where The Skin Lies" in September 2016. Obviously I couldn't release the photos straight away, so it wasn't until last summer that the images got to see the light of day.
For more about this shoot, click through to this blog post:
http://kimayres.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/where-skin-lies.html

The Lost Chronicles of Gallovidia

10 people in costume, in the cellar of Buittle Tower, promoting The Lost Chronicles of Gallovidia project. With the number of people involved and trying to get the lighting I wanted in such a restricted space, it was one of my most challenging shoots up to that point, but also one of the most rewarding.
For more about this shoot, click through to this blog post:
http://kimayres.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/the-lost-chronicles-of-gallovidia.html

Whirligig

This promotional shoot for the ceilidh band, Whirligig, was far more complicated to achieve than it looks. We’d decided to create a shot where the 3 of them looked like they were playing to a dancing crowd, but I wanted the audience to be blurry with movement. This meant a long exposure. But in order for the musicians not to be blurred too, they had to remain absolutely motionless for half a second at a time while everyone else swirled back and forth.
For more about this shoot, click through to this blog post:
http://kimayres.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/whirligig.html

JD Keys

The big epic photo shoots are always fun, but I also enjoy the more intimate one-on-one photography of a man in his workplace. After seeing the shoot I did with Douglas doing screen printing in his shed, Joe of JD Keys wanted me to take a similar approach to my photo shoot with him.
For more about this shoot, click through to this blog post:
http://kimayres.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/jd-keys.html

Buittle Tower

Back to Buittle Tower, only this time it was to do a shoot for Dumfries & Galloway Life magazine for their Christmas edition. Despite it only being early October, a tree and decorations were put up in the main hall, and a goose with all the trimmings was cooked for a meal shoot. The photos can be seen in the December 2017 edition of the magazine, but this was my favourite of the set.

Selfie at In House Chocolates

I get complaints from my regular blog visitors if I don't include at least one photo of my daughter, Meg, in any collection of images. This is my favourite of the 2 of us together, at In House Chocolates - the best place for a hot chocolate for 100 miles. Once again I loved the ease and intimacy the phone camera allows.

Plasma Cutter

I was out doing a recce at the forge of artist blacksmith, Adam Booth, for a shoot which will no doubt appear in next year's Year Review photos. While there he was using a plasma cutter on a sheet of steel. The combination of light from the doorway and the sparks proved irresistible and I had to fire off a few shots.
For more about this shoot, click through to this blog post:
http://kimayres.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/plasma-cutter.html

Christmas

6 months on and my grandson, Alfie, got to experience his first Christmas. Here he is sitting on his grannie's knee.

I hope you've enjoyed my selection - please leave a comment below with any thoughts or observations, and let me know your favourite!

Wishing each and every one of you all the very best for 2018.

8 comments

Ponita in Real Life said...

Happy New Year to you and your family, Kim! I love the texture in your photos, especially the black and whites. And that shot of the northern lights is spectacular! Thanks for sharing with us.

Kim Ayres said...

Ponita - Happy New Year! Many thanks for your kind words :)

hope said...

I always love your family shots: makes me feel like a cousin living in America, checking in on my favorite relatives.

My favorites this year are the working folks: making keys and working metal. Although the one that made me smile was the kids gathered in the surf...well done, as always. Looking forward to 2018's work of light and magic. (We know you're talented, but I envision you wielding a camera like a magic wand. :)

Kim Ayres said...

Hope - if you watch the videos, you'll see what I'm actually like with the camera. In reality I spend far less time wielding it like a wand than I do setting up and moving equipment, interacting with the subjects, and checking the monitors :)

Pat said...


I really enjoyed that and marvel at how you've grown through the years. I'm not surprised you get subjects ready and willing to do your bidding. You are always a pleasure to work with. Lang may ye keep on keeping on..

Kim Ayres said...

Pat - many thanks! Hopefully I'll get to see you in the next few weeks as I'm planning a trip down south - and I'll have my camera with me :)

daisyfae said...

Beautiful collection - what strikes me is the breadth of styles you have mastered. Rather than stay in one mode (staged, moody B&W, working portraits), your year in review has a bit of something from many genres! No small feat!

Personal favorite? As a professional nerd, i'm quite fond of the chemistry lab shot. A very close second is the ceilidh, due to the complexity of the image and the motion conveyed!

Another observation - how fast those little newborn sprogs grow up! My newest is already 4 months old, and it seems yesterday she was able to nearly fit in one hand!

Here's wishing you and your entire clan a prosperous and healthy 2018!

Kim Ayres said...

Dasiyfae - thanks for your kind words. I began my photography career doing moody black and white portraits, then I moved into colour portraits, then environmental portraits, then the large staged images.
Anything without people is something I shot because I couldn't find someone to photograph but was itching to use the camera.
Babies do seem to grow at an astonishing rate: blink and they've grown a bit more!
Wishing you and yours all the very best for the year ahead :)

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