Galloway Photography, Glentrool
(Take a look through the gallery above)
Tell us a little about what you do and why you love it
“‘Se fear togul na dealbhan” – I am a lifter of pictures, a photographer. Most “togs” would qualify that, they would say they were a “wildlife photographer”, or a “portrait photographer”, or “nature”, or “sports”, et cetera. I have tried not to attach too many labels to what I do with a camera, partly because I don’t want to limit either my own aspirations, or the expectations of the person viewing my photographs. It is also because I feel I am constantly learning, both technically and artistically. Having said that, I feel that my photography does retain a central core ethos of “inspired by nature”, which allows for a huge amount of experimentation, either with the camera itself or in the digital darkroom, without imposing constraint or limitation.
Why do I love it?
Well, coming from a scientific/technical background prior to photography, I would be lying if I did not admit to enjoying the somewhat “geeky” aspects of modern digital photography, but it is an “art” as much as it is a “science” and I love being able to look at something, see the beauty/interestingness/wonder in it and then be able to hopefully share my vision or interpretation of that thing with others. I enjoy exhibiting my work, but I love watching people looking at it; seeing someone stand in front of one of my photographs, examining it for an extended period of time, or calling one for their friends over to see it, still gives me a buzz and makes me feel like I am doing something right.
What makes Dumfries and Galloway special to you?
Well, it is wild still in places. The population density is tiny overall, and there are still many places in D&G where you can find real peace and, if you want it, solitude. I have taken my camera and gone out walking for 10-15 miles over a whole day and met literally not a single soul. Sheep, yes. Goats, yes. Even the odd eagle on occasion, but not another single person! There are beautiful areas in the Lake District and the Scottish Highlands, but you’ll see more people there: the untamed areas of the Galloway hills are special to me.
Are you involved in other arts and cultural activities?
D&G is such a welcoming place (I moved here three years ago) that I am part of a group of friends who are all creative artists and makers, known as The Galloway Creatives and organise joint exhibitions that are a real eclectic mix of arts and crafts.
Alongside that I have played guitar and sung for (oh boy!) about 40 years now and have been known to occasionally make a bit of a racket at the House O’ Hill, or the Creebridge Hotel, or the Crown, or Kildonan House or even the Belted Galloway!
What projects are you involved in right now?
Right now I have an ongoing joint exhibition with The Galloway Creatives at Beltie Books in Wigtown, which will run until just after the Easter weekend. In addition, I am just about to open a solo exhibition at the Studio at Logan Botanic Gardens from Sunday 15th of March through till the end of April.
Hopes, ambitions or plans for 2015?
Plans: joint exhibition at the Harbour Cottage Gallery in Kirkcudbright with the Galloway Creatives in June, solo exhibition in the small studio in the Tolbooth at Kirkcudbright in July/August.
Ambitions: climb and take some pictures from the top of Corserine, see some damn otters in the damn Otter Pool!
Hopes: I don’t spend too much time hoping for things (well, OK, World Peace would be nice and banning Trident from Scotland works for me too), as I find life much more satisfying if I take the outlook of actually wanting what I get, rather than getting what I want.
Have you always been in this role – or have you/do you do anything else?
I have always taken photographs, but it is only the last three years that I have actually tried to generate any kind of income from the activity. Prior to that I have had a quite varied list of jobs/careers. It would be great if I could say that I was able to live on the income from photography, but that’s some way off as yet and I currently supplement my income from a variety of seasonal and part-time jobs.
If we asked a friend to tell us something surprising about you, what would they say?
I was once the webmaster for Southampton Football Club.
Anything else you’d like to tell us?
It’s not about the camera, or the lens. They can help, for sure, but ultimately a good photographer can take an amazing photograph with a £75 pocket camera and a £5,000 camera with a £2,500 lens can guarantee absolutely nothing.
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