Girl on film …

So, what did you get up to yesterday? 

I walked around Newcastle getting my photo taken in a variety of locations. Like you do. 

Some explanation is probably required.

As part of the Traverse Fifty, each writer has been paired with a professional photographer to create a portrait to be exhibited at the Traverse later in the year.

It’s the brain child of Writer Pictures and at first I was … what’s the word? … ah yes, unimpressed.

I hate getting my photo taken. Hate. It. I don’t like my smile. This wouldn’t be so bad if my non-smiling face was less, you know, pissed off looking. I don’t like my profile. Face-on is little better. Basically, I am not photogenic. Which is fine, normally, as there isn’t a huge demand for photos of me. It is less fine when I am paired with a photographer and tasked with creating a photo that is going to be hung on a wall.

Ian Forsyth, Lord love him, drew the short straw, and he travelled from Saltburn yesterday so we could met up. A documentary photographer, Ian’s style isn’t suited to a studio setting but to walking about and seeing what strikes him. Lucky for us it was glorious sunshine on Tyneside yesterday, so we headed down to the Quayside. As I am the only Traverse Fifty writer from Newcastle, I was pleased to see the city included in the shots – flying the flag for the North East and all that.

It’s safe to say I am not a natural model. If you want someone looking stiff and/or awkward in a range of locations then I’m your gal, but I doubt Cara Delevingne will be losing any sleep.

Ian, though, was great. He didn’t made a big deal of anything, it was all very relaxed and ‘how about here’ or ‘let’s try this’. We were all over the shop, along the Quayside – including the temporary beach! – on the Millennium Bridge, around and inside the Sage, then back across and up to Central Station.

It’s a wonder Ian ever gets anywhere, he sees shots everywhere and admits himself he never leaves home without his camera and has to give himself extra time when he goes out ‘just in case’.

It ended up feeling more like a stroll in the sunshine and a chat than it did a Big Scary Photo Shoot. And there are worse ways to spend an afternoon than that.

Of course, the real horror was yet to come – seeing the photos. Would any of them be acceptable? If it was a case of the best of a bad lot, would I have to leave the country once it went on public view?

Well. Ian sent me a selection last night – there were no tears (from me, not sure if he was sobbing in despair) and I narrowed it down to a shortlist of, erm, two! Fortunately we are in agreement of the one to choose and it’s been sent off to be printed up.

We are strictly forbidden to reveal the selected image – top secret until the exhibition is unveiled. We are, however, able to share some of the shots not selected [click to enlarge]



 To visit Ian Forsyth’s website click [here]