There is no such thing as an ordinary face - and if you think there is, you aren't looking close enough.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011


Before I began this artist in residency, I figured it would take me a few days of confusion with a steep learning curve, but by Tuesday I’d have fallen into my stride and it would all begin to flow.

As it turned out, on Tuesday I just felt tired and flat. It was like the intensity of the past 4 days had finally caught up on me.

In fact, I hadn’t even really made it to Tuesday. My mood had started to drop in the latter half of Monday and rather than staying at the apartment provided, I headed home for the night, desperate to see Maggie and the kids. And leaving them in the morning to head back to Wigtown, I was certainly heavy of heart.

I barely reached double figures in the number of portraits I took over the day. This was in part due my decision to try and focus on catching up on editing and printing photos, and putting them on the walls, as I was woefully behind schedule on this.

Highlight of the day, however, was meeting and chatting with Rab Wilson, who is a great advocate for Scots language. Not Gaelic, but Scots – the language of Robert Burns.

Rab Wilson

In some circles there is fierce debate about whether Scots counts as a separate language or simply as a regional dialect. But whichever side your support lies, there is no doubt it is full of rich words, some of which have no direct English equivalent.

Rab mentioned the word “tartle”, which is where you hesitate when introduced to someone because although they are familiar you cannot remember their name.

This sounds like a word that could have been invented specifically for me.

In fact, given how common it is, I found myself amazed to realise there isn’t a dedicated word in English for such an act.

Suitably impressed, I told him I’d be attending his festival event that evening, where he was reading from his book, “The 1957 Flying Scott” – a series of poems about his love affair with a classic pushbike, interspersed with Jazz music from the band “Bright Noise”.

Shortly afterwards I remembered I generally have very little interest in poetry, and jazz has never really done anything for me. Too late to back out now without losing face.

However, I needn’t have worried as it turned out to be fun after all.

Bright Noise with Rab Wilson

If you’re into poetry, jazz and/or bikes, then I think you’ll enjoy Rab’s book, which has been rather nicely bound and includes a CD of the music and linocut images by Hugh Bryden. It’s a collector’s item too, with only 500 having been produced. You’ll find it online here:

Meanwhile, if you would like to see the latest portraits, indeed all the ones I’ve taken so far, then do visit the Facebook or Flickr photo collections.


  1. Great photographs here and on the previous post Kim. I especially like the photo on this post. Shows great strength of character.

  2. Kim your photography is very appealing. Somehow you seem to be able to capture such depth of character in each face. I went through each picture several times and noticed that the ones that really appealed to me were the ones that were not made up or seemed effortless. The women should steer clear of makeup since I found I had more difficulty "seeing" them, which I thought was interesting. Keep up the great work and hang in there. Your work is worth all the effort.

  3. Alan - thank you :)

    Frankie - one of the photographer's dilemmas, is how to convince people that they look more interesting if they allow their face to show the lines, scars and wear and tear that etches in over the years. In a culture obsessed with youth, many women (more so than men in my experience) feel they keep having to try and look like something they are not and are fearful of being seen as who they are. But of course as a portrait photographer, I'm far more interested in who people are than the mask they put on :)

  4. My portrai was featured on and showed all my lines and wrinkles (for first time) in honour of me being 40 soon.

  5. Scotland is starting to feel like a close neighborhood! Thanks to Hugh McMillan and Titus, I IMMEDIATELY recognized Rab Wilson!

    Don't be too hard on yourself...even Superman hung up the cape and took an occasional nap. You're work is wonderful!

  6. Gillian - They've used a flattering light - a photo from me would show up your lines and wrinkles much more strongly :)

    Hope - thank you for your constant support :)


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