ALTHOUGH I have photographed a lot of the landscape of Scotland for this project, it is the people of Scotland that I am most interested in.
Does a landscape make a people, or does a people make a landscape? Clearly both statements are true, but of the two it is the human element that I find most important. Even when I am photographing landscapes, it is the mark that people have made on the environment that is, to me, the most interesting aspect of that landscape.
So I always come back to photographing people. In some ways all photography is the same – a landscape when you really think about it is not so different from a portrait. The light has to be right, the mood has to be right and the timing has to be right. A facial expression might last only for a fleeting moment before it is gone, but as anyone who knows the Scottish weather will tell you a mountain can change its appearance with lightning speed as the light, cloud and rain combine.
As part of a long running project for the Wellbeing Alliance on the Scotland Under 16 Ladies basketball team, I found myself in Livingston on a grey Saturday afternoon. As part of their roles, as both sportspeople and representatives of a country, the girls are taught the necessity of not taking people or things at face value. To their surprise (and probably horror), they were introduced to a wild bunch of leather-clad, leather-bedecked bikers known as the Dinglys. Despite their mean looks, they are a group of Harley Davison fanatics who work tirelessly for good causes and charities.
Three of this weeks images are Dingly members. The other two were photos taken while wandering the streets, camera in hand, trying to drag some inspiration from the ether. Something always turns up - it’s just a case of going out and finding it.
And that is probably the main difference between landscapes and portraits – mountains just don’t move around as much as people and they don’t stop doing the incredibly interesting thing they were doing, the moment you lift your camera up to photograph them.
Or perhaps they do – I’ve never really had the patience to find out.