Graham Riddell is a specialist freelance photographer at Graham Riddell Photography in the Scottish Borders, offering a stunning collection of nature-themed Wall Art & Stock images. Call 0777 764 5813. Commissions also welcomed for Portrait Photography, Event Photography, Corporate Photography, Publishing and PR and photography lessons.
I first met Kathy Stewart, as she was then, in 2015 at a local festival at Traquair House where she was performing with her fellow band members, the Frequent Flyers.
I took a quick portrait head shot of her and asked if I could add her to my photography project, ‘People of the Valley’. Thankfully she said yes and from that developed a mutual friendship where Kathy trusted me with the responsibility of photographing her for a forth-coming album ‘Almost Home’.
Following the death of her husband, Andy Stewart, (of Silly Wizard fame) in 2015, Kathy remarried in Sept 2016 to Ken Kennedy in September 2016 and become Kathy Stewart-Kennedy. Having previously viewed my work when I was exhibiting in Peebles Kathy was eager to use a new image of mine which she had seen on my 2016 desk calendar at a local hairdresser in Peebles. That led to a photo-shoot at Stobo and Dreva here in the Borders just outside Peebles, where we quite literally ‘caught the rainbow’ and that shot became her album cover whilst the calendar image was used inside. See Album Design.
Roll on to August this year 2019, when Kathy contacted me about a new song she had just written 'Reaching for the Sun' which was due for release. It had a fairly heavy, dark theme about child abuse in a church care environment and being a loyal fan of my work, Kathy remembered my black and white images from an evocative project I am still developing, entitled ‘In Search of Soul’ which she felt some of those images would work well as a moodscape for a promotional video she wanted to produce.
I had produced and delivered a similar project for local band Mills from Galashiels a few years previously, aided by my son who did the video mix and so I agreed to give it a go, though I am not a video production expert, I sought to fulfil her creative thought process and artistic vision, without the aid of my more talented son (and his programs and skills!).
Working as part of a music collaboration with Kathy were fellow musicians Iain Fraser (viola and violin), Dave Gray (guitar) and Murray Charters on percussion, with Dave Gray also adding his production skills as sound engineer, for her record company StickyBox Records. Kathy commissioned me to blend the song with my pictures (collaborations like this I love), as she felt they would be perfect for setting the right mood and emotions for such a sensitive subject.
The result is a visually spiritual melody with Kathy’s haunting lyrics intertwined with my darker mood images with more aspirational ones offering release and salvation for those so adversely affected. Each are timed to reinforce the song’s lyrics about times past, yet which, sadly, are still relevant today.
Graham Riddell, Aug 2019