Sam Jones will be exhibiting some of here black and white images of the Isle of Mull at the "An Tobar" Arts Centre, Tobermory, 2 May - 28 June 2013.
Who possesses this landscape? –
The man who bought it or
I who am possessed by it?
False questions, for
this landscape is
and intractable in any terms
that are human.
It is docile only to the weather
and its indefatigable lieutenants –
wind, water and frost.
From A Man in Assynt, Norman MacCaig
The exhibition will explore the relationship between the photographer and the landscape through a series of monochrome images of the Isle of Mull.
In photography, we seek to possess the landscape. Even the verbs used to describe the act of photography are indicative of possession: we ‘take’ photographs, ‘capture’ images or 'grab' shots. Yet in reality photographers are possessed by the landscape, we are in its thrall. Whether we are windswept and cold whilst clasping a tripod above soaring cliffs or watching the first rays of dawn light rush across the panorama before us, we are enslaved to the landscape and the light which falls across it.
Good photographers form a connection, a bond with their subject matter - they are possessed by it. Wildlife photographers, for example, develop a detailed knowledge of the behaviour and habitats of their chosen animal or bird. Landscape photographers develop a deep understanding of the places to which they are drawn. They understand how the light plays on the landscape at any particular time of the day or the year, where the moon will rise and the sun will set as well as the effect of wind and tide. They return to the same place time and time again, yet still find new compositions and feel as exhilarated as weather, clouds and light come together as if it were their first visit there.
Photographers seek to translate this connection or bond with the landscape into a sense of place, portraying it not only visually but also experientially. When working, the landscape photographer experiences a location not just visually but with all of his or her senses: he or she smells the seaweed on the shore, hears the tide surging around the rocks or feels the hail carried by the wind. This is the concept of equivalency in photography: the image reflects the photographer’s emotional connection with the landscape. The viewer’s interpretation of an image may not necessarily be the same as the photographer’s but as long as an emotional response is evoked, the photograph will have succeeded.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a book, eBook and a workshop and has been kindly supported by Comar, Holiday Mull and Iona in the Year of Natural Scotland 2013 and the Mishnish.
About the Photographer
Sam Jones has lived on Mull since 1998. Through her photography, she seeks to capture the magical play of Hebridean light on land, sea and loch as well as conveying a sense of place and a sense of being there, of experiencing the elements and the landscape. Although she also works in colour, it is through monochrome that she feels she has finally a means of expressing her photographic vision and connection with the light and landscape of Mull.
You can see more of Sam’s work at www.westcoastlight.co.uk. For details of her workshops, visit www.islandscapephotography.co.uk. You can follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/islandscapephotography.