I have a plan but I need your help (Prologue).

Posted by on Dec 31, 2019 in Blog | 5 comments

I’m not going to lie, the past decade has been the hardest ten years of my life. I’m not after a sympathy vote here, things really are on the up but it’s taken so much longer and been so much tougher than I could have imagined. Mostly down to the impact of our troubles on my own mental health and ability to cope with what once upon a time would have been simple problems to solve.

In 2010 my dream of running a gallery in Scotland collided with the reality of the credit crunch and one of the biggest economic downturns in decades and hit the rocks. Not only did we lose our gallery and everything of value in it, we lost our family home, our ability to own a reliable car, our self esteem, any self confidence I had and our sense of direction. Having pulled together in the same direction for twenty years we suddenly found ourselves with none.

With no clear way ahead we made the decision to return to England in 2012 ( a decision I now regret with a passion). We now found ourselves four hundred miles from my parents who had followed us up to Oban in retirement but who’s own plans to move down to Shropshire in 2010 following my fathers diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease had been scuppered when their house sale fell through.

The Unstoppable Spread.

I found this image on my computer today ( Tues 31st December). I took it in 2014 having noticed the pattern while sitting on a garden bench positioned over it in my parent’s Scottish garden. This manhole cover was off on the day in 2013 when my dad accidentally stepped back into it badly jarring his back. His excruciating pain failed to subside and following a trip to the doctors he was called in to be given the news that he had advanced Prostate Cancer that had spread into his spine. A cancer that had been picked up two years previously at a check up but at the time had not been considered necessary to act on. Instead he had been put on watch but for some reason during a staff change this record had been lost and he had not been recalled for any checkups. The terminal diagnosis was given in June 2013 and my father lived a very happy and comfortable eighteen months eventually passing in early February 2015, just a week after his seventy-fourth birthday.

Finding this image takes me right back to their house and garden overlooking Oban Bay. A town that will forever feel like home and an area to which I still feel a deep connection.

Landscape Photography has been my thing since I picked up my first serious camera in 1999. Landscape has been my thing for as long as I can remember, perhaps as far back as my first ascent of Snowdon in 1971. Being outside is like being home. Scottish landscape inspired me and truly formed me as the photographer I am today. It helped me through some pretty deep lows and the hills in my backyard at Benderloch gave me the incentive to keep going.

All of which brings me to the reason for this blog and those that will follow in the coming days…..

I have a project that I started fifteen years ago to finish and a book or two to write about it. In my next blog I’m going to ask for your help in achieving a goal that I wish my father had been here to see.

Before that though a few resolutions;

To write my blog on a regular basis.

To stop looking back and to focus on the here and now with a clear plan for what’s to come.

To spend less time worrying about why every other UK photographer is apparently doing better than me.

To always strive to leave our countryside cleaner than I found it.

Happy New Year.

5 Comments

  1. Your photographs are always uplifting. You have an artists eye in showing your audience what is around them from the big landscapes down to a small but fascinating – detail

  2. Time moves on and, as difficult as it is, we must move forward with it. I cannot begin to understand what you have been through Richard, but help I will.

    Kindest regards
    Paul Gallagher

  3. Happy new year Richard

    Takes enormous courage and determination to have manoeuvred your way through those challenging times. I fully support that there is no need to dwell on the past and instead look forward and make the best opportunities that awaiting you and your family.

    Must come up and see you at some stage

  4. Richard, I’ve always enjoyed your photography but I had no idea about what had been going on in your life. I’m so sorry that you have had to endure such difficult times.

    I look forward to hearing more about your future plans and, if I can, to helping you.

    I wish you health and success – however you choose to interpret that word – in 2020.

  5. Hello there,
    In my lounge I have a wall that I call ‘The Scottish Wall’ Some holiday snaps of Mull, an etching of orchids bought at a gallery at Glengorm, various Rennie Mackintosh prints and a sewn collage of North End Beach, Iona. However pride of place is down to you! Black Rock Cottage print, bought from your gallery in Oban, much loved, much admired and pathetically attempted to recreate en route to Skye!
    I’m not sure what this ramble means except GO FOR IT and KEEP GOING FOR IT!! Anything you produce will be amazing!
    I await with curiosity and interest as to what this project is???
    All the best for 2020.
    Kind Regards Elaine

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