For the last couple of months I've been pretty busy with some non-paying work as one of the Beltane Fire Society photographers covering the Edinburgh Beltane Fire Festival and the preparation and rehearsals leading up to it. It's been exhausting, frustrating, more expensive than I can afford at the moment, and massively rewarding. The photography has taken me well out of my take-your-time-landscapes-and-inanimate-objects comfort zone and into the scary realms of shooting people in the dark at a live event amongst a crowd of thousands whilst trying not to get burned alive. Plus I got to know some great people, I had a lot of fun, and even got some OK pictures. Awesome!
In 2014 I went to the fire festival as an audience member (I wrote about it a year ago) and mostly enjoyed it, although the weather was pretty awful with gales and cold, cold rain which made us more than ready to leave as things started to wind down after midnight. But thinking about it in the following months I decided to find out if they could use an extra photographer. The society has a public meeting a few months before the festival to recruit volunteers, so I went along and put my name down and was lucky enough to be given the chance to join Photo Point - the society photographers. It's a bit of a commitment, especially for someone travelling through to Edinburgh from Glasgow. Photo Point meet at least twice a week for the two months leading up to the festival, up to three or four times per week in the last couple of weeks: to plan, practice techniques, get fire training, shoot performance group rehearsals and occasional studio shoots for performers, take part in walk-throughs, shoot a busk and a couple of Family Beltane events. And as all volunteers are costumed and wear face paint, we also had an evening of cloak-making.
Here I am modelling Photo Point's "Mulberry Raccoon" facepaint, just before heading up to the festival.
I shot a bit of video of Fire Point, the fire dancers, rehearsing in The Meadows in Edinburgh one evening.
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