This is the third year of the calendar and the first year that it includes photos from out with Scotland. My time outside this year has been driven by a clawing desire to escape the human realm, to revel in the palpable reality of actual existence, amongst the trees and rocks, the mountains and the sea. Even in the darkest storms I find peace. It is a brave new world.
Order your calendar(s) here…
Like many artistes I have an elevated view of myself and the work I do. I’m not proud, in fact I am heavily self deprecating but I’m coming to realise in my older years that I must try to crawl out from under my rock. My insular introspection and tortured, abstract ideals really have little or no place in the wider human realm. They hold even less sway in the natural world. There is a sense of futility for sure but I am only alive once and I should really try and do achievable things that other people can relate to. I guess this calendar is a catalyst to this wider philosophical construct. I’m not keen on the idea of mass production and dealing in things that are not of the highest quality, stacking it high and selling it cheap. However I have come to realise that this calendar is something that is genuinely cherished by some of those that buy it. And for that I am grateful. there is an enormous amount of work that goes into this thing. The photos themselves the travelling, the walking the waiting. What I love about photography is the excuse it gives me to walk aimlessly looking at whatever. Just milling about with the wind and the rain and the rocks and the trees and the sky. When I find something in the landscape that compels me I get into a deep seam of flow, twiddling knobs, faffing with tripods and bits of glass. Whether it’s peaceful slow flow upside down in a puddle on the river Etive, or in a fearsome storm on loch Assynt in hysterics at the sheer force of the whooring weather, loosing my welly in the bog, falling up to my chin in a hidden burn. I love being outside doing stupid things for no reason.
To write all the text for this year took me 14 hours in a single sitting, then many many hours of tweaking and faffing with my awful grammar. WHICH MUST CONVEY THE WAY I SPEAK! BUT STILL HAS TO BE LEGIBLE!!! Honestly this year the text was so hard, collating all these pictures and experiences is strange. You see a picture of a tree, I see a history of imperial violence and War. You see a seascape in a sunlit, storm surge. I see a collie dog from Ullapool and a manic depressive sheep from Elphin.
You know I’m not even really into landscape photography as a genre as such. Instagram really has sullied the whole thing and it has become very humanised, what with trendy ramblers in sou’westas a top craggy outlooks. I do love the landscape, the planet upon which we all spin and my tiny, tiny place in it. The way it hurts me, the way it wow’s me, the way it sometimes gently tells me there’s nothing to worry about. The way it punches me in the guts and makes me pay for my cosseted, indolent, human existence. It keeps me real, as real as someone with a cripplingly over active imagination can be at least. The actual act of photography to me is not that interesting, it is by far the easiest form of creativity I have ever tried (which is why it is so popular). More and more I want photography to get out of my way and I guess this is where my painting has come in. I often wrestle with reality and photographs are often too real… Though they both definitely feed into each other, one can’t really exist without the other. When I started to learn landscape photography it was always with the aim to eventually turn what I learnt into paintings. Paintings are just so much more alive, somehow more real, hyper real‽ However when I take a photo and print it. The photo changes. Once it’s out of the digital world it just becomes so much easier to see. To comprehend. I have only managed to live with two of my photos for any period of time. The calendar is interesting, I have kept one on the wall this year and I now that I lived with the pictures I see them differently. Some of them I love more, some of them I really really hate now. My main hope for the calendar is that it acts as a gateway drug to buying bigger prints and to this end I will be running limited editions of prints in the run up to December. Only five editions for each images and yes prices will go through the roof. I really hope some of you will love some of the images enough to buy them and pay for them to be framed by another craftsperson. To live with them for years and enjoy whatever sense or feeling they bring you. For landscape photography can’t really stand on it’s own, it needs the viewer, their experiences, their memories, their sense of place.