One of the many things that influenced me to move to Scotland years ago was a television series called Wilderness Walks. Six episodes hosted by hill walker and writer Cameron McNeish where he traversed wild and remote regions of Scotland with the likes of Chris Smith, Chris Brasher and David Craig. Inspired by the stunning locations I began to visit Scotland and walk its hills, I also subscribed to The Great Outdoors magazine to gain further knowledge and inspiration for future visits. I remember a series of short interviews run in the back of the magazine where one of the questions asked each month went something like ‘Is Hillwalking Sexy?’ As you can imagine there was a range of responses to this from those who took the question literally and said no to those who understood the underlying meaning and agreed that roaming the hills in all weathers did provide enormous satisfaction and helped to create a wonderful sense of well being.
So, is landscape photography sexy? To an observer no. For 95% of the British public the though of hanging around in the cold and wet having risen in the middle of the night to get on location and often coming home with nothing would seem like madness but every weekend thousands of fishermen do just that. For most people slogging out into the wild carrying heavy kit with the ever present threat of sleat or snow would never take precedent over the chance of a Sunday spent indoors watching sport on telly but nearly every hill and mountain in Britain will have its visitors, often in their thousands. The vast majority have little or no interest in getting out into the wilder parts of the counrtyside, particularly during inclement weather. Those of us who go anyway know the satisfaction of returning, soaked and muddied yet totally exhilarated from our time out. Those of us who love our outdoor activity live for the next fix, the next lung-full of fresh air, the next time we will be able to free our minds from the chains of the daily grind, shake off the stress and come alive again. I can rarely go more than 48 hours without it and the odd week where admin keeps me bogged down feels like an eternity.
So is photography sexy? Ermm no, not to me but when I’m out with my camera it really is Rock n Roll.
Those of you who like your slide shows to be a tranquil affair should perhaps give this one a miss but I hope you give it a go (Some of you will be unaware that before being a professional photographer I was a professional musician, trained in Timpani and Percussion at the Royal Academy of Music and then going on to play drums in all styles including Jazz and Heavy Rock).