Chained to a Photo Yurt

Salman Rushdie

Away at the back of the Edinburgh International Book Festival is where the photographers lurk. Safely away from the paying public, we beaver away, shooting portraits of the Festival’s leading lights.

Peggy Riley

Twenty authors a day. Sometimes more. Step out of the Photo Yurt and risk missing an unscheduled writer. So stay you must. Beyond that the greatest risk is stir craziness. But that’s where your editors step in.

A L Kennedy

That picture of AL Kennedy with her eyes closed, from the position of someone fed mostly from coffee in a darkened corner of the festival was ‘profound’, it revealed a deeper truth. For everyone else it was a bum shot. Saved from myself.

Jesse Norman

And in a first, it was revealed that someone indeed does read my tweets. Conservative MP and Edmund Burke fanboy Jesse Norman demanded the identity of the photographer looking forward to shooting him. Sticking my hand up I at least got his attention.

George Monbiot

And if you want to bring a bit of variety, how about the profound media shot? Otherwise known as having the other photographers in the way, but worth it once in a while. So above, George Monbiot, not exactly being monstered by us – we’re on our best behaviour you see. The press office run a tight ship, captained by ‘General Sutton’, and everyone gets what they want, but mind the Ps and Qs, remember where you are.

Mark Blyth

But thankfully for the scurvy rates in Edinburgh the press office put on more than just caffeine for the photographers camping out for the entire run. Bowls of fruit with huge cherries a particular favourite. And the provision of croissants, pastries and scones means it’s no coincidence that the book festival is the only job I arrive early for. And am also sad to leave after a mere three days. Other Writer Picture photographers now take up the mantle. My advice: pastries served at 9.30am.


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