An extract from Garry MacKenzie's literary guide to Scotland, sure to inspire wanderlust and creativity.
Here is a suitably Scottish piece written for the lovely folks over at Need Supply Co.
There is a mysticism to Scotland. Sublimely beautiful, it has enticed everyone from ancient kings to the idealistic Romantics. However, to experience true Caledonian charm you must journey to a relatively-small wing-shaped island framed by the deliciously named Little Minch and Sea of the Hebrides.
The Isle of Skye has long called to travellers, its craggy peaks, castles and penchant for mist making it all the more enticing. It bears the marks of Vikings (who were here from 700 AD until 1263) and settlers who had stoicism flowing through their veins. Skye played a starring role in the Jacobite Rebellion, headed by the now mythic Bonnie Prince Charlie who was fighting – unsuccessfully as it would turn out – to return the English crown to the house of Stuart. Aided by local lass Flora MacDonald, he fled to the Isle of Skye dressed as a milk maid. Oh the horrors battle forces one to commit!
Today adventure lies just off almost any of the livestock-dotted roads. Above Portree, with is vibrant waterfront houses and cray-pot adorned harbour, is the Old Man of Storr – a rocky pinnacle calling to walkers prepared, more often than not, to be greeted with a spot of rain – in this part of the world though rain does have its appeal; bracing more than anything else. Or there’s the iconic Black Cuillin with its abundance of walking trails and panoramic views. Watch were you trek though as your odds of encountering a seemingly serene herd of Highland cattle are rather high.
Ruins abound – old houses are now nothing more than grassy mounds while some drystone walls that are more moss than anything else. There are the remains of Duntulm Castle, where Bonnie Price Charlie’s spent his first night on the island, and the more intact Dunvegan Castle. The seat of Clan MacLeod, its biggest attraction is not its seal-filled harbour but the Fairy Flag, gifted to a Clan Chief by a fairy queen forced to leave her lover and return to fairy land. Or so the legend goes. Said to give all those who possessed it protection, photographs of it were carried by First World War pilots from the island.
From here you can venture north to Claigan where a short amble will lead you to a pink coral beach with turquoise waters, unsurprising when you recall you’re in Scotland. Or head south to The Three Chimneys – one of Skype culinary icons (the others, without a doubt, being Kinloch Lodge and Scorrybreac).
But its not just the food and charm you venture here for. In fact, it’s not even just the wild. It is the blissful sense of calm that envelops the island. The feeling that time here means very little, conversations are savoured and that history is all around. Travel for the sentiment, stay for the wonder.
We are mesmerised by bucolic Scotland, with its sprawling glens, undulating mountains and glassy lochs. On one of our recent jaunts to the Scottish countryside, we spent the day frolicking about Loch Muick in Aberdeenshire. Cradled by Glen Muick on the Balmoral Estate, the loch is encircled by soaring hills, carpeted with violet-hued heather and beech forest, and home to resident red squirrels and red deer.
One of 31,460 lochs in Scotland, Muick displays the classic Scottish scenery that often seeps into our daydreams back in frenetic London. Perched on the edge of the loch is the 19th century Glas-allt Shiel house which was built by Queen Victoria as a royal retreat and now serves as a bothy for walkers and campers, and teetering above it all is the majestic mountain, Lochnagar.
A charming setting evoking a sense of history and natural splendour, Loch Muick has cast us under its evocative spell.
Words and photographs by Emma Douty
With our Scotland issue due back from the printers any day now we thought now would be a rather grand time to introduce you to Fiona Inglis and Natalya Ayers, the floral-minded duo behind Pyrus, a flower studio dedicated to foraging and promoting Scottish blooms. You can catch the printed Pyrus feature from mid-March - until then we hope this interview gets your green thumbs twitching.
Can you tell us a little about your training and background and how Pyrus Flowers came to be?
We both have creative backgrounds (in fine and applied arts) and discovered the world of flowers by accident, taking positions in the same Edinburgh flower shop. Quickly bitten by the botanical bug we were captivated by the incredible garden roses grown by a local market gardener, which smelt so intoxicating and were so different from their imported counterparts. Mr. Smith’s glorious blooms inspired us to join forces in 2011 to establish our own flower garden and studio. We had become disillusioned by the Dutch flower industry and the lack of variety, scent and seasonality; from the beginning we sought out unusual, Scottish native and heritage varieties and foraging has become an important part of our practice.
Where does the name Pyrus come from?
The Latin word Pyrus refers to a genus of fruit trees which include pears; we chose it because we wanted a strong, timeless name for our studio that encompasses all things botanical and not just flowers.
What inspires your work?
If you have a creative sensibility and sensitivity to your surroundings, what doesn’t inspire you? We are endlessly inspired by the Scottish landscape, other cultures and the patterns and rhythms of nature. A swathe of cloud in the sky can be enough to evoke endless conversation and form the seed of a new idea. Lately we have found collaboration with other creatives has produced exciting and challenging ideas which is taking our work in new directions.
What do you love most about your job?
It often depends on the changeable Scottish weather! Time spent in the studio working with botanicals is always the most rewarding and constructing an installation on site is the exciting part of our work. However the heart of Pyrus is the flowers so, working in the garden among the blooms or taking a long foraging walk to gather materials feels like the soul of what we do.
What is the most challenging part of the work you do - and for that matter, what is the most rewarding?
Our day to day work is physically demanding and we are both quite impatient; we want nothing less than a flower revolution to flood the UK flower industry with local flowers and it cannot happen quickly enough! The most rewarding part is definitely being plant mothers to our flowers; watching something bloom for the first time that we have nurtured from seed never loses its shine. All those months waiting, protecting and caring for it is always worth it.
Has there been a project (past, present or future) that you particularly enjoyed?
We love travelling as part of our work so our trip to Saudi Arabia in 2014 for an installation at KAUST University was a highlight. We created a Kokedama installation (Japanese string garden) at the heart of the campus to celebrate the UN year of farming; it was a great experience to share our ideas and methods with such a varied group of nationalities in a unique environment. We are lucky enough to work alongside some fantastic creatives in the worlds of art, poetry and immersive events and have a number of exciting projects in the pipeline for 2015; watch this space!
Does Edinburgh, or Scotland for that matter, influence your work in any way?
Yes. Pyrus is half Scottish, half English so our heritage and the way we view Scotland is different: homeland and chosen land. It has great beauty and elegance while being tough and inhospitable at times but even on a windswept day in February there is always something which takes your breath away. Living in Edinburgh is special in itself; its geography is quite singular. We are flanked by sea, hills, farm and woodland with an extinct volcano in the heart of the city. You can’t escape nature here and that proximity to the elements influences everything in daily life, we try to bring a little bit of that to Pyrus; there is beauty in everything and nature surrounds us.
Do you feel that there is a real florist community working in Scotland (and beyond)? There are just a small number of florist/famers in Scotland and we would love to see other growers establish here to make local, seasonal flowers more accessible. It is much more common in Southern England where the weather is kinder and the season slightly longer. We are however part of the British Flower Collective which is a great support network for florists championing British grown flowers across the UK. The global flower family is a continuous wealth of friendship and inspiration for us and we have links as far afield as the US and Australia; talking, travelling and being part of this community of talented florists is a pleasure and a privilege.
Given the chance, who would you like to collaborate with?
We love collaboration; it continually informs and enriches our creative practice. Dream collaborations? Photographer Tim Walker and set designers Rhea Thierstein and Shona Heath. The inimitable Kate Bush. And we would love to work for Scottish designers like Christopher Kane or Holly Fulton to create incredible botanical installations.
What advice do you have for aspiring florists?
If you choose floristry as a career, stay true to who you are and what you love about flowers. There is room in our industry for a myriad of styles and, we say, embrace those differences. We have never striven to be like any of our contemporaries and that allows a freedom in our work. It is more of a way of life so be prepared to work hard, it can be quite tough but, at the end of a long day, we still wouldn’t do anything else.
Photographer Ellis O'Connor has an eye for the dramatic - soaring peaks dotted with snow, valleys that appear endless, gunmetal seas and a grey scale you can't help but adore. So it's rather fitting that she frequently makes dark and dramatic Scotland her subject. We had a chat to Ellis about her work, Hebridean focus and love of travel.
Can you tell me a little about your training and artistic background?
I am a Fine Art graduate with an honours degree from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design. I am currently studying my Masters Degree in Art and Humanities based in Dundee, Scotland, where I grew up. I am a visual artist and specialise in photography, painting and drawing. I have exhibited widely and have recently undertaken artist residencies in the Northern Isles of Scotland, Iceland and was selected for the RSA Scholarship to Florence last year.
How would you define your style?
My style is based on the aesthetics of remote landscapes. It deals with different elements based on the land; the spirit of place, traces of the land and the sublime. All explored through a series of prints, photographs and paintings.
Within certain remote places there is a powerful atmosphere and through my work I invite the viewer to feel the [landscapes] presence ... and the textures and marks that we do not necessarily notice. My process of mark making, the washes and layers explored through my work are a direct way of showing how the unforgiving elements wear away the land. It all ties together to highlight the underlying meaning of the landscape and elements these vast places are exposed to. I also would say that my style is very bold in terms of capturing the overwhelming presence of the landscape and sublime mountains.
What inspires your photographs?
My photographs are inspired by travelling, mountains and remote lands. As long as I am travelling and venturing out to places that are unknown to me and far away from cities, then I will constantly be inspired. The intricate detail of the land, the atmosphere of the remote places and the feeling of being surrounded by nature and the wild environment is the main motivator that fuels and enriches my work.
What do you love about your job?
I love being able to go out to new places and capture them. It is a great thing being able to connect new people to a place just by the visual imagery that I put across in my work.
There is a certain drama to your work - is this intentional and where does this come from?
Is this intentional? Yes and no. I aim to capture the drama found within overwhelming landscapes, being out there surrounded by the mountains I feel a sense of heightened intensity and powerful atmosphere so I aim to put this across to the viewer. Also because these places are so staggeringly beautiful and present, it happens naturally that the photos end up with such drama; the place overall determines the outcome of the photograph.
Does travel influence your work in any way?
Travel is the only thing that influences my work. Without travel I cannot capture. As my studio is in the city, I find that every now and then I go on a road trip of Scotland here and there, to get new images, a new perspective free from the constant stimulation of being connected in a city and create new work! The wonderful thing about Scotland is that most of it is still very much untamed land up North, you don't need to travel far to get away from a city or even civilisation.
You've shot quite a lot of work around Scotland - is there something special about the scenery here?
Yes there is definitely something special about the scenery here. I was lucky enough to grow up in Scotland and with it's dramatic peaks and mountain ranges, layers of dramatic history embedded within the places and the magnificent lochs and valleys, it is simply stunning. I travel a lot to other countries and parts of the world and find a lot of inspiration to make work there but I am very much connected to Scotland.
Has there been a project (past, present or future) that you’ve particularly enjoyed?
I've been involved in a lot of amazing and inspiring projects but one of the best projects I've enjoyed recently being a part of was working on the Isle of Eigg (one of Scotland's remote small Isles) as Artist in residence with The Bothy Project at the very start of January. You can read my article and find out more about the Bothy Project on the blog here.
I found this very engaging and an amazing place to work. I was located in a beautiful bothy right on the North tip of the Island surrounded by cliffs and looking out to the magnificent peaks of Rum, I made a lot of new work there and most of my new photographs have come from being within that place. The thing I found most important was being off grid. As I had no distractions, it gave me the chance to just fully explore and connect with the island and make a brand new body of work. Also as it was right at the very start of this year, right in the middle of Scotland's winter, the weather was wild and there was not much light so it really pushed me out of my comfort zone in engaging with a place. Simply stunning.
What advice do you have for aspiring photographers?
My advise for aspiring photographers is to find your niche. Find what it really is you are passionate and inspired by and create a new voice for that. Capture what it important to you and find your own style so people will be able to recognise the work. It is also very important to have a level of depth and meaning to the work, find what the calling is. I have come to realise that work with a significant meaning connects and resonates more with the viewer. Lastly, never give up on something you are truly passionate about!
To see the fiery heart of Inverness, the Highland’s oft-discounted cultural capital, you’ve got to look beyond its stony streets. It may seem unassuming, poised by a river and atmospherically bleak when the weather turns fierce, but don’t let that fool you. This is a place of monsters, witches and the battlefields of old. Here history is underfoot and myth becomes real, breathing life into a city you may otherwise just pass by.
When delving into Inverness lore a certain creature from the deep must be acknowledged. Mysterious rather than sinister, the Loch Ness Monster has captivated visitors’ minds for centuries, despite being difficult to spot. First sighted in 565 AD by Saint Columba (the Irish monk of Iona fame) as she attacked a local fisherman, Nessie opted to lie dormant for a while, not making her next documented appearance until 1933 when a sleepy couple ventured home along what was then the new road on the northern side of Loch Ness. In the driver’s words they spotted “an enormous animal rolling and plunging on the surface”. It was the editor of the Inverness Courier who put the word ‘monster’ in the headline and really set the legend in motion. Alas, despite numerous scientific expeditions, fleeting ‘sightings’ and a bounty on her head, put there by London’s Natural History Museum, the Loch Ness Monster remains elusive, which, given the Loch’s scale, isn’t the most difficult thing to do.
Easily mistaken for an inland sea, Loch Ness holds more water than all the lakes of England and Wales combined. And, with the aid of neighbouring lochs and the Caledonian Canal (built during the Napoleonic Wars), it links the North Sea to the Atlantic, falling on the topographical tear that splits Scotland in two. Watched over by the castles of the Great Glen, including the stately Aldourie Castle, which boasts the ghost of a lady in grey, and rocky hills that tumble dramatically into the water, Loch Ness is both picturesque and painfully cold. Yet even white-cap-filled days are not without their adventurous magic.
Equally resplendent, Urquhart Castle is undoubtedly the most iconic regal ruin to grace the Loch’s shores. A castle, supposedly built with the help of witches, stood on this site as early as 1250 and recorded attacks on its stoic walls began around 1296 under the command of Edward I of England, who wasn’t exactly a fan of the Scots. Repeatedly ravaged by the MacDonalds, Viking descendants who became the most powerful of the Highland clans, the castle was eventually burnt down by its owners, who preferred to see it become a crumbled ruin rather than fall into Jacobite hands.
But Urquhart isn’t the only castle of note. It was on Craig Phadraig, a forest-covered hill west of Inverness, that St Columba converted Brude, King of the Picts, around the time he first spotted Nessie. This point was subsequently occupied by the real-life King Macbeth, who built a wooden castle here in the 11th century. While it’s unlikely that this was the site of Duncan’s untimely demise it was nonetheless burnt down by Malcolm Canmore, his justifiably vengeful son. It was replaced by a nearby stone structure, a predecessor to the rose-hued castle that stands today and which now, rather less excitingly, plays host to Inverness’s courthouse and council offices.
Other 12th century buildings, constructed when King David I made Inverness a royal burgh, no longer fill the city. Given its strategic position, this was an incredibly violent place and architectural features rarely lasted long. Instead Inverness has a refined Victorian atmosphere, with many of the current buildings emerging at the same time as the Caledonian Canal. Of particular architectural beauty is the Victorian Market and St Andrew’s Cathedral, the first to be erected following the Reformation. Victorian footbridges also connect the leafy Ness Islands, the stomping ground of fly fishers and dog walking locals, with the start of the Great Glen Way, a walk ideal for those with a fondness for jagged mountains moulded by ice and the elements.
When surrounded by architecture and leafy expanses, it is easy to forget that mere miles away lies a site steeped in Scottish military history. In 1746, the Battle of Culloden Moor, the last pitched battle fought on British soil, saw the ultimate defeat of Charles Edward Stuart, grandson of the deposed James II of England, and his Jacobite supporters. During the 68 minute massacre, 1200 Highlanders perished at the hands of the Hanoverian Army, led by the Duke of Cumberland, son of George II. Interestingly, despite earning the less than desirable name of ‘Butcher’ for his brutal treatment of the fleeing Highland army, he had the ‘Sweet William’ flower named after him (two sides to every story and all that). Culloden has changed little in the ensuing years and the atmosphere is still one of solemn remembrance. Large stones guard the graves of the fallen clans while a memorial cairn stands tall in the centre. Sombre and vast, there is no denying the power of this place.
Nevertheless, it was this battle, and the actions that led to it, that fuelled the tales of honour, chivalry and heroism that are now seen as an embodiment of the Highland spirit. And you can see why this part of the world has been so romanticised, thanks largely to the imaginings of the likes of Coleridge and Burns who understood this region’s hidden allure. Surrounded by desolate beauty, monsters and the scars of warfare, Inverness stands as a humble gateway to the Highland’s dark and enchanting history.
We had a chat with Edinburgh-based artist Emily MacKenzie about Scotland, illustrations and growing up just a little bit wild. Check out issue 2, out in March, to learn more about this lovely creative and the joys of Scotland.
Can you tell me a little about your training and artistic background?
I come from quite creative family of graphic designers, illustrators, photographers, animators and artists so for as long as I can remember my need to create and my interest in children's books has always been there and encouraged. I have very fond memories of taking over my parents studio and making use of their paper samples and materials to make all manner of weird paper creations! Drawing and making has always been in my blood, I don't ever remember thinking I would be interested in anything other than a creative career.
I grew up in rural Northumberland so when I left school I completed an Art Foundation year in Newcastle where I tried lots of different disciplines on rotation, which was brilliant though illustration wasn't something we could specialise in at that time. I joined the course thinking I wanted to be a fashion or shoe designer or perhaps a fine artist, but it was graphic design that captured my interest in the end and I moved up to Scotland in 2001 to study Graphic Design at Edinburgh College of Art.
After graduating I designed book covers in house at one of Scotland's largest publishing houses, Mainstream Publishing, but I continued developing my illustration and started printmaking in my own time. I designed non-fiction book covers for seven years before realising that I was happiest when I was drawing and so I decided to take the plunge to go full-time freelance in order to pursue my dream of becoming a children's illustrator, working on my own personal projects and selling prints of my work through local shops and galleries and online. My first children's picture book Wanted! Ralfy Rabbit, Book Burglar has just been published by Bloomsbury and I've just had great fun completing artwork for my second book, to be published in 2016.
How would you define your style?
I'd say my work is mostly character based, quite spontaneous, colourful, inky and humorous. I enjoy getting jokes into my work or expressions that make people smile. I also love screen-printing and get a kick out of bringing my characters to life in the form of screen-printed, embroidered 3D plushes and soft sculptures which I sell online.
What inspires your work?
The house I grew up in in Northumberland borders a pine forest so I've always been drawn to foresty creatures! I have quite an active imagination which I think in part is down to all that drawing, reading and forest exploring when I was young so I am influenced by my childhood but also odd things I observe every day here walking around Edinburgh too.
What do you love about your job?
I love the diversity! Each day a new illustration project brings new challenges and surprises and the flexibility means if I'm having difficulty getting stuck into a project I can go for a thinking-swim, walk around the Botanics, draw in The Museum of Scotland or do some printing to get my cogs working again.
I also love seeing how people react to my work, it's a great feeling watching kids respond positively to my characters and I'll never get tired of watching people laugh or smile at something I've drawn.
There is a certain innocence to your work - is this intentional and where does this come from?
It's not intentional but I suppose I'm aware that the majority of my work is created with children in mind so I tend to be drawn to creating work that I know I would have enjoyed looking at when I was little. That being said, I find it an exciting challenge to get humour into my illustrations that will appeal to children and adults on different levels, so I try and make my picture book work enjoyable and interesting with funny jokes and scenarios for 'grown-ups' too.
Does Scotland influence your work in any way?
Absolutely! I've lived here for 13 years now and am really inspired by the landscape and wildlife here as well as scottish words and phrases I come across. Last year I designed a colour chart poster titled '50 Shades of Scotland' celebrating the hues of some of my favourite scottish things (Nessie, Haggis, Thistle, Smoked Salmon, Loch etc...) and a series of postcard prints based around Edinburgh's beloved Greyfriar's Bobby statue, so I definitely feel that my work is connected to Scotland and my life here.
Do you feel that there is a creative community in Edinburgh?
Definitely, there are lots of creative studio buildings around the city. I share a studio space at Edinburgh Contemporary Crafts and also print work at Edinburgh Printmakers where I've got to know other illustrators, craftspeople and printmakers. There's also a great craft market scene here which is fun to be part of when I have time.
Has there been a project (past, present or future) that you’ve particularly enjoyed?
Although they haven't been without their challenges, I've loved the experience of writing stories and bringing my characters to life in both my books, particularly the second which will be published next year. The character who features in my second book has been alive in my head for years now so it's been a dream come true to bring him into the world and I can't wait to see him in print, but I know I'll always have a soft spot for Ralfy too!
What advice do you have for aspiring illustrators?
It's a very competitive industry so persistence and believing in yourself and your work is really important. It's quite easy to get a confidence knock if you're turned down for a job or a commission you really want to do and I've lost hours comparing myself to other illustrators online afterwards which can be really self destructive! Think about what it is you like about your own work and what you think makes your work unique and write it down, that way you can refer back to it if you lose your way a little. I find this technique can help me to refocus and start working on a job again with a fresh perspective. I also find working in a shared studio really inspiring as I enjoy having other creatives around me I can bounce new ideas ideas off.
For the past few months we have been braving the elements and the dwindling daylight to explore Scotland, a wonderful country that's impossibly ancient, achingly beautiful and humbling in every possible way. A fickle friend when it comes to the weather and brimming with locals who take the notion of friendliness to a whole new level, it has been such a delight to get to know this place and its people. Below are just a few of the photos we've captured during our travels. For the complete set, the accompanying words, and a few illustrations you're going to have to wait until March when issue 2 of Lodestars Anthology is set to hit newsstands. Until then, enjoy the snaps, and, you know, invest in a shiny new copy of issue 1 (by clicking here), all about glorious England.
We had a lovely chat with Italian-raised, London-based photographer Claudia Guariglia about her love of the lens, her subjects and the general power of photography. You can see more of Claudia's stunning shots in issue 2 of Lodestars Anthology, due out in March next year.
What do you love about photography?
I like capturing instants. I love how photography makes it possible to freeze something as a picture and keep it forever. It’s just an image, but still whenever I look at it, it will tell me something about that particular moment of my life, what I was feeling, maybe bring to my mind something I forgot. Time scares me a little, somehow, and with photography I feel like I can stop it every now and then, and get to keep memories, both of important steps in my life or just those everyday little things that maybe made me smile, or simply stop and think.
Digital or film - which do you prefer and why?
Definitely film. I do like digital of course, it’s convenient and quick, and allows you to do all sorts of things that I cannot do with film (considering I don’t develop it by myself).
Still, the feeling with film is completely different. I wouldn’t know how to explain it. I've tried many times but I can’t quite put my finger on it. I’m just so much happier and satisfied with my film pictures as opposed to when I shoot digital, I feel like they convey better my own vision of things. There’s something romantic to it, like film could actually really capture the atmosphere of every different moment, and this is actually particularly obvious with polaroids, as the colors tend to change depending on the temperature in which the pics develop. So, if for example you’re shooting outside and it’s winter, you’ll get colder colours, and that’s such a nice touch to it. It just adds some more value to the picture.
Can you remember the first photograph you took?
Not really, but I remember that when I finally got my own first camera, I was about 12. I used to take a lot of pictures of clouds. And the sea. Not very original, for sure, but I was born and grew up by the sea so I always felt some sort of connection with it.
Before that, I used to steal my dad’s camera whenever we went out just to look through the lens and play a bit with it, but it was so heavy and I was so little. I don’t think I ever did more than just that.
What inspires your work?
It depend. What I like most is taking simple, natural pictures, true depictions of what surrounds me, so I’d say I’m inspired by everyday life. I love capturing light, and I like interiors, so I’m inspired by new places - other people’s houses and the different way natural light acts in different environments or times of the year.
I also like fashion, so sometimes I’m inspired by that. New clothes, shops windows, something catches my eye and I either just want to capture it or feel the urge to create something out of it. I don’t always follow the same pattern.
How would you define your style?
True, I guess. I like taking care of composition, I like looking for the perfect framing and the perfect light, but at the same time I want my pictures to look real, true. The pictures I usually like the most (which are not necessarily the ones other people prefer, it goes without saying) are the ones I didn’t even plan to take, and they’re usually film, so there’s no post production.
I like taking self portraits, so those are important to me as well, but I have a different approach when it comes to taking pictures of myself. I still try to convey what’s going on through my mind and in my life, but they’re, obviously, less spontaneous, there’s more work behind them. Still, what I always try to have in my images is simplicity.
What do you love to photograph most?
I like taking pictures of whatever catches my eye. What I love are details, tiny little things that would maybe normally go unnoticed. So whether it be a portrait, still life, or whatever, I try to focus on those little things: hand gestures, maybe the particular way someone sits, details in the window of a shop or house, that tiny crack on a mug. Photography makes me focus more on what surrounds me, and I always had the weird habit of noticing apparently useless things. Capturing them in an image makes the picture alive, it helps telling a story.
How does travelling influence your work?
I’d ask “how does my work influences travelling”, actually. I probably give too much importance to taking pictures while visiting a new place, some people might think I don’t really enjoy myself, that I’m too focused on photographing everything rather than living an experience, and maybe they’re right, who knows. But I think photography helps me take in everything I see when I’m travelling, especially if I’m alone. I love taking my time to observe everything, slowing down when I want to, shoot some maybe useless, maybe not, pics, and so on.
Travelling is so inspiring, you get to see places that look nothing like the ones you’re used to, meet different people, generally take in something that’s new and exciting, and that somehow changes and enriches you. If I had the chance I’d be travelling all over the world non stop, and possibly I’ll be doing so sometime in the future.
Have you taken a particularly memorable photograph while travelling?
All the photos I take while travelling are memorable for me as they obviously remind me of a beautiful and exciting experience. The most memorable ones though usually have little or nothing to do with the place I was visiting, rather they focus on what I was doing or who I was with.
This photo (click here) for example, is a pic I shot in Seville, and even if it was a couple of years ago I still like it and find it an important and memorable picture as it reminds me of a certain, not necessarily amazing but still important moment in my life. Yet, I could have shot the same picture anywhere. Same goes for other pictures I took in England, Scotland, or other places I’ve been traveling to. It’s totally subjective, completely personal.
What is your dream subject?
When I say 'if I had the chance I’d be travelling all over the world' I mean it, so I guess my dream subject would be the whole world? I know it sounds silly and very generic, but as I like taking pictures of real life. I’d love to be able to travel the world, meet people, visit their houses, maybe taking portraits of them in their personal spaces. Seeing something new everyday, stop every now and then in a cafè or a small restaurant, capturing and making mine everything around me, carrying around just a film camera. That would be simply amazing.
Where can we see more of your work?
I have tonnes of pics on my Flickr page, even very old ones no one would probably want to see. You can find them here. I also have a tumblr, that I try to update as regularly as possible and a small portfolio on cargocollective.