Scottish photographic voices: John Devlin, Scotsman photographer

Scottish photographic voices: John Devlin, Scotsman photographer

Scottish photographic voices: John Devlin, Scotsman photographer

A picture paints a thousand words. And in the 200 years that the Scotsman has been published, some truly iconic photographs have graced our pages.

We spoke to Scotsman photographer John Devlin about the pictures he has taken over the years that, for a variety of reasons, are among his favourites.

The Kelpies

Capture

This one was early in my career at The Scotsman. It was my first big job and I was pretty excited because I saw an opportunity to make my mark.

As I was unpacking my gear in the car park, I was tapped on the shoulder by Andy Scott, the Sculptor of the Kelpies, who I had photographed while they were being built.

We had a quick chat and I got the impression we were almost as nervous as each other! Bumping into Andy that night felt like a good omen.

After I left Andy, I talked my way into a restricted area and managed to get an image the Picture Desk and I were both happy with.

Patrick Harvie – Patrick the Power Broker

Patrick Harvie

I was tasked with taking a portrait of the leader of the Scottish Green Party, Patrick Harvie, for Scotland on Sunday.

I did a scan of the area and spotted Rogue One and Art Pistol’s mural ‘Wind Power’ which I thought would make the perfect backdrop for the portrait but there was one problem….a row of heavy, stinky Biffa bins were lined up in front of it.

So Patrick and I rolled up our sleeves and got stuck in, moving the bins away from the mural, to the amusement of various passing locals.

It was worth it, though – it’s a striking image and it made the front page. But what made it really memorable for me was Patrick’s willingness to muck in to get the job done – I’m not sure which other political leader would have done that, especially right after a successful general election.

Ruth Davidson – A Wing and a Prayer or Phoenix From the Flames?

Captureew

This portrait was taken just days before the crucial general election of 2015. This was an exclusive shoot for The Scotsman so I was the only photographer there, but we didn’t have much time to get the shot.

We were on Bell’s Bridge and I got Ruth to stand with her back to one of the supporting poles so that the struts of the roof spread out behind her like wings.

What made it memorable for me was speaking to Ruth one-on-one and realising just how exhausted she was – she was beyond tired but still able to put her Game Face on and get on with the job at hand.

I left thinking about all of the political leaders who I’d been working with recently and regardless of my own political views, I had a newfound respect for all of them and their professionalism in the face of trying, and sometimes, hostile times.

Artist Claire Barclay – Not an Obvious Shot

Claire Barclay

I thought outside the box with this shot and put some effort into setting it up (finding ladders, using a couple of flashes, persuading another photographer to lend a hand) to compose what I feel is a striking graphic image but, more importantly to me, a different interpretation of Claire’s work.

I’m not sure what she made of it because it wasn’t an obvious shot and, in fact, offered a view of the sculpture that would not otherwise have been seen, but I hope she appreciated a new perspective on her work.

Trongate Clock – SOS

clock

I got a call from the desk on a Saturday, late afternoon. An SOS from the SoS. They needed a good image for the Scotland on Sunday front page the following day.

The clocks were going back an hour. Obviously an upright shape required and I thought the Trongate Clock would be perfect.

I decided to shoot at dusk to get a vibrant blue sky and some trails. As this was time sensitive I shot a few frames and sent in what I thought where some strong images. The desk agreed and the result was a memorable front page.

Farid El Alagui – The Celebration

Farid El Alagui

What can I say? Sometimes you just get lucky.

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