on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers


Littorally Algae

Mark Littlejohn

Mark Littlejohn is a landscape photographer based on the edge of the English Lake District. He specialises in moody, atmospheric early morning conditions and offers bespoke one-to-one workshops and Lakeland tours.


Kelp? Aye, right enough. Why kelp? I’ve no idea. I hate doing the zen thing. Talking about mindfulness and the like. I’m a rough-arse Scotsman. Thick-skinned and all that sort of thing. I’ll say it to your face, not behind your back. So why do I get so much enjoyment out of seaweed? Is it a sign that I secretly yearn to be thought of as a creative?

For people to look at my work and say in a genteel Edinburgh accent, “Isn’t that Mark Littlejohn wonderfully artistic”. Again, I have no idea. I have no idea about a lot of things as it happens. Truth be told I’ve never had a project before. And certainly not one that’s had me thinking that maybe I am a bit of an artist. Perhaps there is a wee bit more to all this talk of zen and mindfulness than I have previously admitted to myself. All I know is that I was wandering with the dog down at Far Away beach one morning. The tide was out. In fact it wasn’t just out. It looked like it was going on its holidays somewhere far off and distant. And as the dog and I wandered, I saw the kelp.

A multitude of shapes, all layered in the most elegant way by the outgoing tide. A sensuous swoop and sway to its curvaceous folds. It was everywhere. Sprouting from the sand like Camel Thorn trees in a Namibian Desert. Layered over dark boulders, each strand intertwined with the next. It was these strands that fascinated me. I’ve always said that if you see something that makes you smile or swear, then you should photograph it. So I did.

Why do I get so much enjoyment out of seaweed? Is it a sign that I secretly yearn to be thought of as a creative?

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Even on my dog walks, I have a camera. A jack of all trades sort of thing. In a little waist bag, swung over my shoulder like a bandolero. A bit like one of the baddies in The Good, The and The Ugly. When I looked at the photographs later, I realised I was showing too much of what had fascinated me.

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