Monday, May 17, 2010

Staring Back

There are few better ways to spend a sunny afternoon than sitting in the garden with a background of birdsong and a brand new book compiled by a blogging chum.

Some time ago Kim Ayres discovered a passion for photography He took some great landscapes (my favourite is Low Winter Sun at Rascarrel Bay see Feb 7th 2010 archives) and then honed in on portrait photography. Of all his previous occupations - and they are many and varied - photography brings him ‘more joy than all the others by a factor of about 14 billion.’

Kim’s enthusiasm is infectious and before long he was invited to display his work at the Mill on the Fleet in Gatehouse of Fleet in SW Scotland. I would have loved to have been there - along with many other bloggers , but distance and circumstance precluded the possibility so when Kim decided to make a book of the exhibition I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy.

There are 24 portraits with an introduction to each of the sitters and accompanying photos of each one when they are not ’staring back’. Kim explores ‘what happens when the face we are so intimately viewing stares, unapologetically, right back at us.’ The portraits are arresting and it is a fascinating experience to examine the varying faces.

It’s all based on trust between model and photographer and there would be none of:

‘This is my best side.’

‘I’ll just take my glasses off.’

‘Could you just soften my frown lines?’

It’s great credit to Kim that they put themselves in his hands and the results are mesmerising. It’s a slim elegant volume that deserves better than to be thrust on some dusty bookshelf - the perfect book to have lying around so that people can browse through it at will. One in every room would be nice.

‘You’ve got interesting looking friends.’ I observed.

I am a firm believer that everyone is interesting looking; it's just that most of the time we don't look in the right way. As I mention in the book, I love faces. I'm yet to find a face that I wouldn't enjoy photographing :)

Below are some random photos from the book. For more details go to or click on Kim on side bar. Scroll down to 2nd May for The Exhibition Launch and the Book.


Queenie said...

Those are indeed fabulous photos. Portraits are fascinating, I love wandering around the National Portrait Gallery when I get the chance, and although Kim's are photos, they have something of the feel of a painted portrait, perhaps because he takes such care.

Pat said...

Queenie: I forgot to mention the video he's got on the book launch page which is well worth a look.

R. Sherman said...

To take a good portrait truly is an art. Thanks for pointing this out.


Charlie said...

Thanks, Pat, for featuring Kim and his book. I received my hardcover copy a week ago and I was pleased by its quality—cloth covers are a rarity nowadays.

And the content—well, you've both said and photographed it quite well.

Eryl Shields said...

Kim's brilliant to sit for, infinitely patient, and knowing he doesn't pass judgment on you for a sagging chin or blood-shot eyes is so liberating.

I'd love to get my hands on a copy of the book but I've just spent my entire year's fun-budget on cocktails. Hopefully it will still be available next year.

Pat said...

Randall: I blush to think that when I met Kim last year we did a quick snap of each other and I almost certainly said 'Wait till I remove my specs.' As
an ex-model I'm beyond redemption:)

Charlie: mine's hard back but I don't think the covers are cloth. I must go back and look at Blurb.

Pat said...

Eryl: the last thing Kim would do is pass judgement on any physical imperfections. He really does see beyond that
I would hope the book will be available indefinitely but maybe check with him.

Kim Ayres said...

Aw Pat, you are an absolute star! Thank you for such a glowing review and plug :)

My photography and passion for it has developed so much over the past year that I'm now kicking myself something rotten for not taking the opportunity to take some proper photos of you rather than quick snaps.

My siblings still live in Devon and I hope to be back down that way again in the next year or 2, so I hope you will indulge me next time :)

Pat said...

Kim; I'll put the kettle on:)

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Oh...This looks quite wonderful Pat. Thanks so much for the 'heads up'....You know I LOVE Photography and I am going to have to get me one of these books!

Pat said...

Naomi: I know you'll appreciate it:)

Anonymous said...

Pat, thank you for the referral. I've had a look through Kim's blog and his pictures - both portraits and landscapes - are mesmerising.

I like the depth in those faces. You can imagine they'd all have stories to tell.

Pat said...

Miss D: delighted you've discovered Kim. He's not just a photographer but a much valuesd blogger.

debra said...

I love seeing how Kim sees the world. His sensitivity and thoughtfulness is evident in hie photos.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

That is a BEAUTIFUL Book.....His photo's are really spectaqcular!
I just don't want to see mine, and be reminded of the ravages of time....But, I too, would love to be photographed by him....!

Pat said...

Debra: he us special but then so is his family.

Naomi: you never know - he may travel your way on of these days.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Well done, Kim. I like the idea of looking AND seeing. So many of us look without seeing.

Pat said...

GG: it's a great idea isn't it?