Photo Shoot

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Over the next few weeks I have quite a few articles and interviews appearing in newspapers and blogs. Much as I love Instagram, (and most of you know just how much I love Instagram), newspapers don’t seem share my enthusiasm for hastily shot selfies, perfectly square photographs and Amaro, (fall back filter of choice). About 4 weeks ago it became clear that I was going to need some good photographs if the publicity surrounding Malcolm Orange Disappears was going to make any significant impact. Step in, Belfast-based photographer Jonathan Ryder who very kindly offered to take some pictures of me and make me look like a proper author.


This morning Common Grounds coffee shop were kind enough to allow us two hours of access to their back room and the fantastic exposed brick wall, natural light and quirky sofa which hides behind those double doors. Much of Malcolm Orange was written in Common Grounds and I am really grateful for the patience of their baristas who allowed me to linger for hours over a solitary Americano and also introduced me to the Yumm Bowl; possibly the best thing to come out of Belfast since Van Morrison first approached a microphone. I wanted a natural look to my photos and was particularly to have them shot in a place I actually enjoy spending time in, so Common Grounds was a natural fit.


In the past I’ve done several photo shoots for work; dancing with elderly men, pouring pretend tea and, perhaps most worryingly, throwing cold chips in the air on the corner of the Donegal Road. Most all of these have ended up looking a little posed and stiff. Some have turned out downright ludicrous. Before this morning I was somewhat concerned that I’d end up with another set of photos where I looked like an awkward mannequin incapable of holding a convincing smile still. However, Jonny did a marvellous job of putting me at ease. As we chatted about Bob Dylan, the book and the Ulster Hall I hardly noticed him snapping. So many professional author’s photographs look posed and clichéd. You can probably picture the shots: book under arm, black polo-neck glare, peering over typewriter, moodily. Working with Jonny was so relaxed and natural I know I’m going to end up with some amazing photographs where I look like myself, rather than some intense, and possibly unhinged, stranger. I even managed to harness my inner Tyra Banks and learnt how to “smile with my eyes” whilst looking professional.

I’m looking forward to seeing Jonny’s photos and I’ll let you get a sneaky peek as soon as they come through. Until then make sure you check out Jonny’s website for a sample of some of his beautiful work and contacts details if you’re looking for some professional shots or wedding photography. I can definitely recommend working with him.


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