Your photographic work has often focused on wild and remote places, and in particular the landscapes of your home in Orkney. How has your time living on the island inspired you and your work?
Growing up, I thought Orkney was somewhere to move on from and was keen to get to the city. After graduating I moved home for a few months, which turned into a couple of years. I recently read The Outrun by Amy Liptrot, who writes about the inevitable push and pull these islands have on those who grew up here—she’s distilled my own ambivalent feelings about Orkney into honest and beautiful prose. Being from the very north of Scotland, I have an affinity with remote or wild places, and I seek them out. My work is often described as ‘bleak’—but places can be grim and beautiful at the same time.
What are your tools of the trade?
I make most of my images with film, using my Nikon FE (35mm) when I want something fairly portable, but I favour my Mamiya 645 (medium format). Though it is relatively cumbersome - it’s tricky replacing a roll of film with frozen hands every 15 exposures—I love it for its intense detail. Its limitations make you pause before exposing the film. Darkroom working is great for the solitude and headspace you get into, but can be hard to access and find time for, so I scan, edit and print digitally: spending days sat in the artificial glow of photoshop and indesign.
Although I specialised in photography, I don’t want to feel confined by cameras. Occasionally I will draw or make collages to work through a block. It’s important to have a notebook with me—sometimes I include reflective writing alongside my images in print, but more often I use my notes to keep the experience of an environment fresh. Recently I have become inseparable from my iPhone, so I can track my walks and document my surroundings free from heavy equipment.