Luminate 2013

Winter isn’t exactly renowned for its festival abundance in the city of festivals, except, of course, for that one. So as October draws to a close again, a satisfied man, I figuratively hang up my festival hat for the year. The last month saw me working again with Luminate, Scotland’s creative ageing festival, on a programme of events that spanned the regions of Scotland. Performances, workshops, classes, discussions and fairs on subjects from cinema to historical research through to poetry and contemporary art. The umbrella of ‘creative’ is straight-away a broad one.

So too is the handle of ‘ageing.’ I captured a selection of events from the programme and both audiences and participants ranged hugely in years. Nothing in the events were exclusive to older generations, and none of the issues and themes across the works were unique to them either. My assumptions were certainly bruised. New ideas and new technology go through the same processes with older as they do younger. Broad mindedness doesn’t fall out of style as you grow, it’s human nature to search for new means of expression and hidden creative outlets.

From the small moments I shared with the different groups, I realsised ageing is something we all have in common. And not, to contradict popular consensus, necessarily a parallel of maturity.

Underpass Mural in Livingston

Stone Carving Workshop at the Burrell Collection, Glasgow

24 Carat Gold performance at Dancebass, Edinburgh

Open Mic Night at Glad Cafe, Glasgow

Poetry Slam at Ghillie Dhu, Edinburgh

Music Workshop at Howden Park Centre, Livingston


Many hands

Make light work, as the proverb says.  Still the work required of this festival is only for the hardy. And hard work is not taken lightly.

It has been hypnotically fascinating to watch the machine of the Edinburgh International Festival come to full fruition. While I am only around as the photographer for the peak of action, it is easy to spot a year of hard work embedded in the frantic activity that is August. Artists and ambassadors from polar corners of the globe, full crews and sets and companies appearing in Edinburgh overnight by what seems like calm coincidence. As diverse a production as any one that appears on its stages. Diverse to its very core, it is easy to overlook the local hands that keep the show afloat.

Thanks for a brilliant festival.

Staff at the Usher Hall wait at the stage door as a performance closes
An instructor from the Nrityagram Dance Ensemble keeps time during a dance class
Wardrobe staff prepare the dancers point shoes behind the scenes at the National Ballet of Scotland

A dancer practices classical Indian dance positions at the Nritrygram dance class
Legendary artist Wu Hsing-kuo performs on stage as King Lear

BBC crew prepare the lighting for the Review Show with the Legendary Music of Rajestan
Wu Hsing-kuo and the First Minister of Taiwan

A Rajistani musician tunes up before a recital
Pyrovision fireworks crew prepare a week early in all conditions for the ultimate Sunday night display

A festival patron on a touch tour of 1001 Nights where visually or hearing impared are guided through a performence using touch and description
Melvyn Tan customises his piano to play a percussion duet for his performance

A performer of Ea Sola prepares the mat floor backstage before a show
Pianist Yefim Bronfman
 Shen Wei dancers warm up with slow breathing exercises before a morning dance class

A weaver at the Dovecot Heirlooms exhibition spins fine silk on a traditional loom
Sally Hobson, head of programme development with the festival

Jonathon Mills, director of the Edinburgh International Festival