We've had a baby called ScranMedia

5 reasons ScranMedia is different.

February 05, 2016ScranMediaBrendan MacNeill
  1. We won’t simply do more of the same for you.
  2. We will soak up your brand.
  3. We will learn about your image needs and contribute to fulfilling your ambitions.
  4. We will work to an agreed brief and budget. 
  5. We will help you to transform your online and media appearance.

Come on a journey which started with a simple question: ‘How does the tiny negative become a much bigger print’? I was shown the answer a few days later when I got to visit a darkroom. And once there I was to see how the lighter whiter parts of a negative became the darker blacker parts of the print. I was a kid and it was magic. 

NEGATIVE TO POSITIVE. ©BRENDAN MACNEILL.

NEGATIVE TO POSITIVE. ©BRENDAN MACNEILL.

Fast forward to 2016 and we’ve passed through, amongst other things, a mis-spent youth, college, a love of the black and white print craft and portraiture. And then a move to Scotland where I would get to photograph Mohammed al Fayed resplendent in his kilt, hard man Jimmy Boyle, Bailey, First Ministers, Lords and Ladies and Carol Smillie on a bed. 

WATER. NO SHORTAGE HERE IN SCOTLAND. ©BRENDAN MACNEILL.

WATER. NO SHORTAGE HERE IN SCOTLAND. ©BRENDAN MACNEILL.

OLD STYLE MONOCHROME LIMITED EDITION PRINT IMAGE. ©BRENDAN MACNEILL.

OLD STYLE MONOCHROME LIMITED EDITION PRINT IMAGE. ©BRENDAN MACNEILL.

CAROL SMILLIE. ©BRENDAN MACNEILL.

CAROL SMILLIE. ©BRENDAN MACNEILL.

SIR TERENCE CONRAN, ©BRENDAN MACNEILL.

SIR TERENCE CONRAN, ©BRENDAN MACNEILL.

MOHAMMED AL-FAYED. ©BRENDAN MACNEILL.

MOHAMMED AL-FAYED. ©BRENDAN MACNEILL.

Then I was asked to shoot the homes of these people. And ‘interiors’ was added to my offering. And when I was shooting the latest restaurant I was asked to shoot a signature dish for the sidebar. ‘Food’ got added too.

FISH & CHIPS. SHOT AS PART OF A WAITROSE FOOD ILLUSTRATED STORY ON AWARD WINNING ANSTRUTHER FISH BAR. ©BRENDAN MACNEILL.

FISH & CHIPS. SHOT AS PART OF A WAITROSE FOOD ILLUSTRATED STORY ON AWARD WINNING ANSTRUTHER FISH BAR. ©BRENDAN MACNEILL.

DUDDINGSTON HOUSE FOR HOMES & INTERIORS SCOTLAND. ©BRENDAN MACNEILL.

DUDDINGSTON HOUSE FOR HOMES & INTERIORS SCOTLAND. ©BRENDAN MACNEILL.

'IN THE SHOPS' FOR HOMES & INTERIORS SCOTLAND. ©BRENDAN MACNEILL.

'IN THE SHOPS' FOR HOMES & INTERIORS SCOTLAND. ©BRENDAN MACNEILL.

AN OUTTAKE FROM AN EDITORIAL STORY WITH ELEMENTS ADDED FROM OTHER FRAMES. ©BRENDAN MACNEILL.

AN OUTTAKE FROM AN EDITORIAL STORY WITH ELEMENTS ADDED FROM OTHER FRAMES. ©BRENDAN MACNEILL.

THE INTERIOR OF A DERELICT BUILDING CAPTURED IN 2 HOURS. ©BRENDAN MACNEILL.

THE INTERIOR OF A DERELICT BUILDING CAPTURED IN 2 HOURS. ©BRENDAN MACNEILL.

In the early part of the last decade that was all perfectly fine. But over the last few years marketing yourself as a photographer has changed hugely. Simply placing a pretty folio online and expecting clients to call by the score doesn’t do it anymore. Would-be clients need to be reached out to. As a photographer you’ve got to be seen to do a lot more than just pressing a button. And despite having created some great images for a wide range of clients it had become apparent that casting a net wider and even wider was actually catching less and less.  And come late 2015 MacNeill Photography realised a fundamental truth: that we can’t be all things to all people. 

THE MODEL WAS PHOTOGRAPHED IN A STUDIO AND PASTED ONTO THE STOCK BACKGROUND. © (MODEL) BRENDAN MACNEILL.

THE MODEL WAS PHOTOGRAPHED IN A STUDIO AND PASTED ONTO THE STOCK BACKGROUND. © (MODEL) BRENDAN MACNEILL.

THE MODEL WAS PHOTOGRAPHED IN A STUDIO AND PASTED ONTO THE STOCK BACKGROUND. © (MODEL) BRENDAN MACNEILL.

ScranMedia was formed in January 2016 with the combined skills of Brendan MacNeill and John Duncan, the purpose being to provide professional image making services for the hospitality and food/beverage sector. There’s no new skill set involved. Our subjects are still food, people and places.  

So now you know why here's how:
Our philosophy is simple - our work for you will reflect your professional standards and brand values, telling the story of your hospitality or food product with engaging and inspiring imagery and video. 

  1. We won’t simply do more of the same for you.
  2. We will soak up your brand.
  3. We will learn about your image needs and contribute to fulfilling your ambitions.
  4. We will work to an agreed brief and budget. 
  5. We will help you to transform your online and media appearance.
  6. And we won't break your bank.

That's six actually. We go further.

Season's Greetings

It's that time of the year again...

.... and here's to a slightly cheesy idea. Thing is I met the man himself when we shot a Christmas video for Stewart Brewing (is there a beer lover in your life?) and I wasn't going to let him pass by without catching a few frames for you all.

And yes I can confirm that that's a real beard. And when he isn't in Lapland what does he do with himself? That would be telling. But arms can be twisted!

Enjoy the festivities.

Author David Mitchell

Author David Mitchell photographed for the FutureLibrary project. One text will locked away each year until 2114. Meanwhile a new forest has been planted in Norway to provide the paper to print the works when unlocked. See more info at www.FutureLibrary.no

Biggest problem to overcome on this shoot was to stop the wood panels throwing their colour into his face and clothes. Some direct fill lighting was used with further colour balancing and grading in post.

I shot Bailey.

With Bailey’s Stardust http://preview.tinyurl.com/os6ohtu exhibition just opened at Edinburgh’s National Gallery we once again have a show that will woo Festival visitors. Seeing the adverts on the sides of buses reminded me that I shot him once. It was a setup hatched in an noisy  newspaper office in Glasgow's Albion Street.

Of course I didn’t shoot him exactly. Rather I was commissioned to take his portrait. He was having an exhibition at the then recently opened Dean Gallery and editor Cate Devine wanted his image for the cover of The Herald Saturday Magazine. ‘We need it in colour and he won’t supply one’.

So off I went to London complete with the specific instruction that the journalist was to make his entry before I showed up in case Bailey’s time was short. The interview took precedence over my shot and I should await a text from the journalist confirming his arrival. 
It came as planned and, assistant in tow, I knocked on the door which was promptly answered by his assistant.
’We know nothing about a portrait’ 
‘But I’ve come from Edinburgh just for this. It was arranged by the Herald’
‘There is no arrangement and besides we can supply a portrait’.
‘It needs to be colour to make the magazine cover. That’s why I’m here’
‘Stay there and let me talk to him’ He slammed the door.

10 minutes later he returned.
‘This is most unusual’
‘By the way I’ve a present from Scotland for David’
‘It’s Bailey’
‘My apologies’
‘And he doesn’t drink anymore’
‘Well it’s bad luck to return malt whisky to Scotland so please you take it’ (it was a serious bottle too)
‘thank you very kind of you. Bailey wants to know what you’re shooting with’
I listed my kit and he disappeared again. 

10 minutes later he returned and smiling he explained that we had 15 minutes and led us up the stairs.
‘We’d have done exactly the same so relax.. you’re in now’

Bailey greeted us with a frown while the journalist grinned broadly behind his back.

‘I’ve clients coming in at 1 and you need to be gone by then. Get set up’. And softening somewhat.. ‘Use the cove if you want. Need lights’?
’Thanks but I brought a backdrop and a light’ and we set in motion a preplanned drill which consisted of a grey backdrop, a ringflash, 2 rolls of colour transparency and (deviously?) a single roll of black & white. 
Within seconds he was sitting in front of my camera chatting about the colour film I was using and complaining about the flash and berating a make-up-artist with ‘if it was good enough for [he named a famous model] then it’s good enough for you’. 

3 rolls of film later we were finished and shook hands. Another 5 minutes and we were ready to leave when the doorbell went and, earlier than expected, up came his 1 pm client [an eminent Irish band fronted by a saint]

Back in Scotland everyone was very happy of course including the main broadsheet editor who commandeered the image for his pages. My shot never made the magazine cover. 

Or was that another setup I didn’t see?

At the Home of Golf.

Driving through St Andrews yesterday I was reminded of a shoot there with Precedent Communications for Allianz. Using the golf course hazards as subjects for an insurance company was easy enough but keeping up with the pace of the daily grounds maintenance teams was a real problem. Starting at daybreak on the first tee they worked through the course with the first golfers just a stroke behind. My tripod was quickly dropped in favour of a shoot from the hip approach.
So when you watch the Open this weekend bear in mind the efforts of the grounds staff. And if you've an insurance policy up for renewal well.....

Why the funeral message Nicola?

I’ve been painting all day. And I’ve been troubled. Not by paint splashes or falling off a ladder nor the errant hound puppy swiping the whole sourdough loaf. No the painting went fine and thinking back I was troubled even before I even started painting.

Main image

You see, Neil Hay, the Edinburgh South SNP candidate (one thing I learned today) dropped two cards through our letterbox. And featuring strongly is a portrait of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. It’s that that troubles me because I get the distinct impression she’s in a funeral home. I know she isn’t but I just can’t get it out of my mind even after hours spent painting walls and woodwork (strong white by F&B if you must).

Version 1

Let me try to explain. She appears four times on the two cards. Once she stands with the candidate. Three further times it’s the same portrait but on varying backgrounds. And it’s those backgrounds that leave me unsettled as they include props that could be associated with death or the funeral process.

She has a vase of white roses, a mottled brown backdrop and a saltire. Three shots all different because as she is dropped into the scene the props are differently arranged according to the layout needs of the cards. Always there is a sense of solemnity. A relaxed seriousness too as befitting a politician. None of the props on their own are terribly problematic. But all together the solemnity just trumps the scene. The saltire is free standing akin to a church or military setting, the white roses signifying innocence. We are at a funeral. 

Version 2

Maybe I’m reading too much into it. And she is smiling throughout. But the setting isn’t everyday. It isn’t real and that can only open doors to alternate reading. Why wasn’t she photographed in an urban setting or in a landscape? Her image itself is a cut out. Has it come from HQ and distributed to the constituencies for use as each sees fit? And yes I know the background will always be been as the Tories have blue, Labour red, the Lib Dems yellow and the Greens…  well.

 

But can I suggest you tighten the imagery. No one votes for a funeral.