Arthur's Seat



If you’ve watched the movie Trainspotting 2, you might have been wondering about the hill that characters Renton (Ewan McGregor) and Spud (Ewan Bremner) ran up. You know, the one with the spectacular view.

Arthur’s Seat overlooks Edinburgh but the view stretches out far and wide. It’s steep but doesn’t take that long to walk up and the rewards are plenty. The road and rail bridges crossing the River Forth, and beyond that the mountains surrounding Loch Lomond. Turn to the right and you can see the east coast of Scotland. Keep on turning and you will be looking out over the North Sea in the direction of Norway and Denmark (Not that you can see them).

So if you happen to visit Edinburgh in the near future, take a walk up Arthur’s seat. You will find it near the Scottish parliament building and although it might take a bit of effort, you won’t be disappointed.

Direct Sunlight

Direct Sunlight

Sometimes, it's an accidental discovery.

We spent Easter with friends in the small town of Mudgee, New South Wales - a 4h drive from Sydney, over the Blue Mountains - but it was an artwork I'd stumbled across days before, down a laneway near home, that stuck in my mind while I was there.

DIRECT SUNLIGHT, it read - painted on the street, in an alley so narrow it would hardly ever actually get sun, except the way it did when I was there: bounced off the windows of a building.

But the rest of us do, in this country. You can hardly avoid it.

It defines the place.

Removing Clutter

Jane Bown is one of my principal inspirations.  Although her images were more portrait orientated, I still consider them to have great narrative and context well beyond a formal photograph.

The quote at the beginning of this article from Jane strikes a chord with me.  The camera market these days is like a fast-moving train.  Every month there seem to be new releases from all the main manufacturers; each proclaiming the newest camera will be better and faster and give you the ability to make better pictures.

And of course, from a technical standpoint, this may be true - especially for technical photography genres like Sports, Wildlife, Astro-photography etc.

Though the images that speak to me are always ones that have personality, depth, emotion and often..... no colour.

What's He Building In There



What’s he building in there? What the hell is he building in there?
— Tom Waits

These pictures were shot with Tom Waits 'What's He building in there?' playing over and over inside my head. I've embedded the song from YouTube here so that you can listen as you look at the pictures.This selection of photographs is a sort of a metaphor I guess. The theme, the idea developed in my subconscious.

Windows are meant for seeing out more than seeing in. Sure we can walk up and peer in, but unless there is a light on inside it can be difficult to see what lies within. 

As we stand outside looking at those windows we have no idea what's going on inside. If you listen to the song it sounds like it could be something sinister. Replace windows for eyes, the room for your head. Is there something sinister in there? If you are a regular visitor to Kage you might remember a piece I wrote called IMPACT when my sister was first diagnosed with a brain tumour. Well, one tumour has become two and as I'm writing this she is back in the hospital with serious complications.

So what's being built inside our heads that we don't know about? We can look out and see so much beauty and so much shit going on around us, but we have no idea what's going on a few inches behind our own eyes. Isn't it strange how the brain gathers all this information from our many senses, right down to the tiniest hairs on our skin. Yet the stupid fucker can't tell what's growing on it's own surface.

Tom Waits - What's He Building

Empty Vessels



You are the Potter and I am the clay.
Mold me and make me, have Thine own way
— Norman Hutchins

With more patience than I could only dream of, Loraine Robson rubs the clay with fine sandpaper. I feel a little guilt as it starts to look as though she has ruined an already finished piece to help me get the pictures I need. But Loraine knows something I don’t, and slowly a single thin line of brass starts to appear, which then takes a sharp 90o turn. This transforms into a pattern that to someone like me that loves to program synthesizers, looks an awful lot like a square wave. 

It’s a dark Scottish winter and I’m inside Ceramic artist Lorraine Robson’s studio at the bottom of her garden. We arranged this shoot a few weeks before, but now that I’m here, the light is poor. Not only that but we’ve been talking for a while and the already dim light is fading and it will be dark soon. I do a custom colour balance on my camera but the ISO is pushed so high that the colours are poor. I wish I could come back another day when the light is better, but I’ve already taken up Lorraine’s time and I’d rather work with what I have than risk no shoot at all. 

Lorraine has a series called Empty Vessels. Some of these pieces consist of two parts connected by a chain. The larger one is the empty vessel, a hollowed out container. The smaller is a spoon. Lorraine went on to tell me that the series was inspired when a close relative developed dementia (the empty vessel). The spoon represents her role as the carer.

Oh, Harbour Bridge

Oh, Harbour Bridge

One of my favourite things about Don McGlashan's songwriting (and there are many) is this - the choice he makes about the perspective, or point of view, of the characters in a song. 

Harbour Bridge is a perfect example - it's a song about parting, about breaking up with someone you love; but the person singing it manages to pin all their problems on the various failings of...the bridge they're driving across.

If only bridge weren't so grey / long / high / convenient, he'd have been able to think of, and say, everything he wanted to tell her; and, maybe, she'd have stayed...

Outside The Wall



All alone, or in two’s
The ones who really love you
Walk up and down outside the wall
Some hand in hand
And some gathered together in bands
The bleeding hearts and the artists
Make their stand
And when they’ve given you their all
Some stagger and fall, after all it’s not easy
Banging your heart against some mad bugger’s wall
— Roger Waters - Pink Floyd




I'm supposed to have a slow morning before I'm flying back home but instead I was up at 4 am and now I'm on my way to the desert, outside of Dubai. It's a last minute opportunity that I just can't pass on. The night before I was invited to join a team from Gulf Photo Plus for a trip to an abandoned town in the desert. They are doing some filming to promote their upcoming Photo Week event (check it out, our buddy Kevin Mullins will be one of the teachers there). 

The camera is with me, but basically I'm going simply because I like being in the desert. The first remains of the small abandoned village don't bring the sadness that I usually get in deserted places. It doesn't disturb me and it doesn't seem to disturb nature either. It's just there, peacefully and calm.

On the edge of the settlement a small mosque glows in the morning sun. I sit down on the wall that surrounds it and can't help thinking that it is more spiritual place than any active religious place that I've ever visited. 


I sit there for almost an hour and I look back at an amazing trip and an amazing year. I look forward to become a better photographer, a better boyfriend, a better dad, a better man. And I look inside to see what will drive transition. 

Inside ... loneliness, sadness, frustration and insecurity orbit around me but can't quite get traction. My gaze turns outside and just like these buildings I accept the flow.

It's time to head home, face demons and embrace angels. 

Happy New Year everyone, I'm looking forward to see what 2018 will bring for KAGE. In case you were wondering: most of the pictures in this story were shot with the GFX50S with the GF63mm lens. I used the panoramic crop mode for these pictures and for a couple of pictures I used the X100F in 16:9 mode and cropped them a bit tighter in post to match the GFX shots.