Work

24th October 2017

Behind the Scenes, Behind the Lens

by Jim Ramsay, Design Director

To record a different perspective Teviot take you behind the scenes of the Bethany Christian Trust photoshoot and ask the Client, the Photographer and the Design Director for their thoughts.

As this is a photoshoot blog can you introduce yourself as it appears on your Instagram profile page?

RM: Rachel Moreland – US expat living in Scotland. Believer. Wife. Writer. Traveler. Singer. Coffee drinker. Wannabe minimalist. Adventure seeker.

MB: Matt Beech – Photographer and photo assistant based in Edinburgh.

JR: Jimbo Ramsay – Edinburgh based Design Director that likes to see the extraordinary in the everyday. Snap. Post. Repeat.

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Why did you decide to work for a homeless charity?

RM: I used to work for a PR agency which was a great first job but I wanted more out of it. I wanted to know I was making a positive difference in people’s lives, and not just writing another press release about telecommunications. When the opportunity to work for Bethany as their Media and Communications Officer came up, I knew I had to go for it – it’s my dream job!

MB:  It’s a way for me to give back to the community and donate my time and skills to a good cause.

JR: Teviot’s been in a creative partnership with Bethany for almost 15 years now, so has seen at first hand the great work they do for people that find themselves in the most testing of times. And, as such, we also see the immense impact simply designing their annual report can have on Bethany and the lives of their beneficiaries.

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What was the best factor being part of the Bethany photoshoot team?

RM: Getting to interact with the people we support and use our services. One of the shoots captured the surprise renovation of a woman’s flat which had fallen into disrepair, it was a special moment when she stepped back into her clean and redecorated home. These moments give you much needed perspective on life and remind you of why you do what you do – to help see people’s lives changed for the better.

MB: Having the opportunity to meet the fantastic individuals who volunteer for Bethany and to see the amazing work they are doing. It was very interesting to meet people who are helped by Bethany on a daily basis and get an insight into their lives.

JR: For me, it was the ability to work with Matt and Rachel in tandem to ensure we communicated the true essence of the life stories. For example, our original intention was to capture the visitors at the Motherwell Café Hub, however when we arrived it became apparent that the volunteers behind the aprons could (and should) convey the core ethos in an instant. Working organically, and in synergy with the photographer and client resulted in a photoshoot that genuinely delivered.

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What aspect either before, during or after the Bethany photoshoot did you find the most challenging?

RM: For the most part, the photoshoot ran pretty smoothly. And the guys at Teviot made the whole process a great experience! In terms of challenges, we were always aware that there would be a lot of logistics to sort out as we needed to arrange everyone’s schedules over a four day time period, which at the time felt like a headache. But the team at Teviot were fantastic in helping us coordinate timings. It all worked out in the end and I think we snapped some fantastic shots!

MB: Planning a photoshoot is always challenging. We had to work together to create a feasible schedule that covered several locations and incorporated many, many diaries to maximise our time and get the most out of each day.

JR: With any photoshoot keeping the subjects calm, relaxed and natural in front of the camera is always a challenge. But when the people you’re photographing also have deep personal issues such as addiction or are bipolar you really have to go the extra mile to alleviate any needless vexation.

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If you could change one aspect about the shoot what would it be?

RM: More prior preparation and planning for each of the different shoots. On the whole, the schedule ran like clockwork but it might have been nice to have had a better idea of how we were going to stage some of the shots or to have used more props in some of the scenes.

MB: The weather!

JR: The timescales. You always try to plan ahead as much as possible however it’s not until you actually arrive at the locations that you can see what you have to work with or more to point what you don’t have.

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What interesting fact do you now know as a direct result of being part of the Bethany photoshoot team?

RM: It’s not a particular fact per se, but I never knew how much history there was in Leith. Spending almost three full days in Leith gives you a better appreciation for all that it has to offer – lots of hidden gems and local culture.

MB: Bethany staff are often helped by corporate volunteers on projects as part of their CSR, we met volunteers on the Care Van and during a house renovation.

JR: That 1 in 3 families are a month’s pay packet away from losing their homes. It’s a scary fact that 37% of working families could not cover housing costs for more than a month in the event of a job loss.

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Is there a specific memory that springs to mind from the Bethany photoshoot and why?

RM: Throughout the week, Jim was educating Matt and I about the history and culture of Leith. The amount of local knowledge Jim has is astounding. Honestly, that could be his new day job! I was debating about using ‘local historian’ as one of my three words for describing him.

While we were shooting at Pilrig church in Leith, Jim was telling Matt and I about the famous pub called, the Halfway House, where half of the pub is in Edinburgh and the other half in Leith. “It’s a local legend of a pub”, he says. It was just at that time that a random man walks up to us and asks, “Do you know where I can find the Halfway House?” You couldn’t have planned it better!

MB: We met people from all walks of life using the services of the Care Van. I learned never to judge a book by its cover, anyone could end up in a position where they require help from Bethany.

JR: When I met Lorraine in Methil. Thanks to the help and support from Bethany she has totally turned her life around. So much so, she is now leading and enriching others that are in less fortunate circumstances. The domino effect is truly inspirational.

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What golden gem will you take with you from the Bethany photoshoot and why?

RM: Shooting on the beach on the Fife coast. We were capturing one of the case studies – Lorraine and her support worker Esme – who brought us to their usual spot on the beach near Methil where they would sit and talk. It was 18 degrees and glorious sunshine – not a bad afternoon out of the office!

MB: I loved the moment when the renovated house was revealed to the family and the shock/delight on their faces. It’s moments like that which make everybody’s hard work worth it.

JR: You never know what’s around the corner! Every one of the case studies, through no fault of their own, found themselves in desperate need of help, guidance, and support. If it wasn’t for Bethany who knows what their futures would have become.

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Describe Matt / Rachel / Jim in three words?

RM: Matt – Easy-going, innovative, artistic. Jim – Creative, hilarious, strategic.
These two were brilliant to work with and I genuinely had a great time hanging out with them.

MB: Rachel – Enthusiastic, reactive, logical. Jim – Creative problem solver.

JR: Matt – Diligent, dedicated, dependable. Rachel – Astute, approachable, amazing.

Do you have any words of wisdom for anyone about to start planning their own photoshoot?

RM: Allow more time than you think you might need and always have a back-up location for each of your photoshoots in case it rains (especially if you’re in Scotland!)

MB: Always prepare but expect the unexpected!

JR: Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

Jim Ramsay, Design Director

Behind the Scenes, Behind the Lens

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