It takes coming to live in a place to understand it to some extent, one can’t understand nature fully, writers and thinkers for centuries have tried. I discovered a Japanese monk, Muso Soseki who wrote of his mountain living experiences nine centuries ago, of course that was Japan but his eloquence struck a cord with me. It highlighted my thoughts about the highland people who while living here gave names to places and stories to create a mythology that drew me to explore and look to experience for myself what they might have felt in the landscape.
When I was drawn to the hills as a boy I had no idea of all of this, even in what seemed a simple pleasure I began to feel that something else was going on in my head other than just looking at the view. I chose a camera to record my thoughts, it seemed a better proof of the feelings than words.
It took moving to a highland village ten years ago to reinvigorate those imaginations in a form that made sense to me at last. I began to wander around the wilder western end of Highland Perthshire and found that as each day passes observing brings new moments of delight and surprise as I record what I experience.
There is much of this landscape that is man made, the forests planted replacing the older caledonian trees changes the face of the area, However the mountain spirit never left. It lives in the water that carves its way down through the trees, lives in the earth and in the weather. Scotland is shaped by this unique condition, as are other places as I begin to understand a little more; finding the same resonances in other lands.
My voice is a camera, so I look to writers to help me impart some of what I’m doing. John Burnside, a modern scottish poet wrote a few lines . “ Imagine they knew already, leaving gifts that others might find”. That was succinct . More than any feeble words of mine...