Take three pictures

Neil and Ellie each choose three of their favourite photos from Flow Data Symposium

Neil: One of the unexpected delights of putting on the Flow Data Symposium event in Edinburgh just before Christmas was that it was an opportunity to work with the photographer Ellie Morag. I'd asked Ellie to put together a sort of photo essay of the event, including some of the preparation running up to the event. You can see the full Flickr album of photos here, but we also thought it'd be an idea if we each picked three photographs from the album that we particularly liked, and tried to give reasons for why we liked them.

Ellie: One of my favourite things about being a photographer is getting to show the world how I see. I've always felt it was different and for years I could never communicate exactly how I saw things. And then I found photography. I'm a lover of visual communication and storytelling, and documentary photography is one of my favourites. When I first met Neil he described his idea of 'Flowopoly' (perhaps three times...) and his excitement for putting on a 'Flow Data Symposium' and he wanted me to document it. A photo essay of sorts with full creative control. You can imagine my excitement. Full. Creative. Control. I was sold and ready to go ahead.

Neil: The first picture I chose is one Ellie took three weeks before the event:

90% of the iceberg is below the surface of the water. This photo captures some of the preparation that goes into a Flowopoly event. Before we can stage the event itself, there's a whole load of number-crunching has to take place in the background to identify the typical days, and then there's the printing of the cards, the guillotining, the sorting. Ellie came along to my office in Leith to take photos of me preparing the patient cards.

Ellie: This photo is probably my favourite (if I'm allowed to say that...):

I like the angle from where I took the photo, almost as if you are seeing the room from Neil's perspective. I try and choose someone's perspective to angle the photo I'm taking from, and show the viewer how/what they are seeing from someone else's view. From my point of view Flowopoly was Neil's brainchild and I wanted to bring that across as well as what was happening during the day. I also love the tones and colours in this as I feel they mirror the excitement of conversation and atmosphere.

Neil: The second picture I've chosen is from the event itself:

Ellie's captured a lovely Michelangelo Sistine Chapel Ceiling Creation of Adam moment here, that appeals hugely to my whole artwork theme thing. Given that the Flowopoly replays are all about moving patients from one part of the system to another, I had to pick a shot that captured this. At the heart of a Flowopoly event is the idea that we replicate a hospital's patient flow. The plinths are the individual wards, the cards on top of the plinths are the patients. And the event participants take responsibility for moving the cards from plinth to plinth, observing the differences between patient flow on a good day and patient flow on a bad day.

Ellie: As I mentioned before, I love focusing on a particular person in a photograph to draw attention to:

This depends completely on the characters in the room and what grabs my attention. Here, Eloise was passionately talking about her love for language and it's hard not to be drawn to someone talking so animatedly. I like this photo particularly because she has grabbed the attention of the room and the lighting was nice and it worked really well. A photo that I had in my mind that translated through.

Neil: The third picture I've chosen is one that I think encapsulates the mood and feel of a Flowopoly event.

Here's the room in full "symposium mode". One of the participants has the microphone, he's getting his point across by drawing attention to some of the cards on the plinth in front of him. There's a conversation going on in the room. The people you can see in the background (out of focus) are representative of the people who attended the event: one's a Chief Executive, two are Emergency Department consultants, there's a private sector management consultant, a Scottish Government Improvement Manager, and so on.

Ellie: This photo was taken at our very first meeting with the people at the Whitespace venue, back when Neil was in the midst of planning stages, plinths and excitement:

Photographing behind the scenes is something that I love in any genre of my photography whether it be fashion, brand campaigns, anything. I like to see what goes into a project, the thought processes, the reasoning, and I like to photograph them all. Perhaps it's because I like to be really involved, or really nosey. I actually posted this photo to Instagram in black and white as it looked much like it could be a scene from The Godfather, two people sealing the deal on some dodgy business, especially with all the shadows and lighting from above. But then it has the quote "Be nice to people" which is completely contradictory. I like almost everything about it.