New Wild Space exhibition celebrates wild serenity

Internationally renowned photographer Iain Stewart’s quietly compelling exhibition of seascapes and sky studies is now on show at the John M

Internationally renowned photographer Iain Stewart’s quietly compelling exhibition of seascapes and sky studies is now on show at the John Muir Trust’s Wild Space Gallery in Pitlochry until 2 December 2014.

Iain’s latest collection of photography, Vesper, reflects the tranquility of the evening light – and the ever-present underlying turbulence in the Highland landscape and climate.

The title was inspired by a photograph Iain took on a calm spring evening on the shores of Loch Broom. He says the word conjures up the atmosphere of evening meditation.

“It’s about contemplation and quietness. There is a stillness and serenity to many of the pictures in the exhibition – a meditation to the beauty of the Highlands.

“My work is about simplicity of form and colour. I use very minimal content to draw in the viewer. If someone asks me about a specific mountain, or which lens or film type I’ve used, then I know the picture has failed to connect on the level I was aiming for.”

The majority of Iain’s pictures were taken in Wester Ross – a part of Scotland that triggers memories of summers spent there as a child.

“Growing up away from Scotland, I was very aware of what a special place it was. I couldn’t wait for the holidays – to run around in the hills, swim in the freezing Atlantic with my mother, or fish the lochs with my father and brother. I moved back as soon as I could leave home.”

He also loves the area’s wildness: “Once you have lived elsewhere, you don’t take wild places for granted: the space; the clean air; the beauty – the harshness at times too.

“I love the change of pace of being in the landscape – the emptying out. It’s a place to recharge the batteries. I get twitchy and grumpy if I’m disconnected for too long.

“Wonderful writers like Kathleen Jamie, Andrew Greig and Robert Macfarlane keep me going when I’m stuck in the city working as a commercial photographer – but there is no substitute for being hunkered down in a tent or bothy, in the wild, hearing the wind and rain lashing down outside.”

Iain first became aware of John Muir’s legacy when he was doing a series of photographs called Bothy: “I didn’t fully appreciate the importance of his life and work till then. I am delighted to be exhibiting in the Trust’s Wild Space Gallery in the centenary year of Muir’s death. It is important to give him tip of the hat – a thank you.”


BACKGROUND NOTES
• After studying at Edinburgh College of Art, Iain Stewart spent many years working as a commercial photographer. His fine art photography is internationally exhibited and collected. Find out more about Iain Stewart.

• Iain Stewart: Vesper is on at the Wild Space Gallery in Pitlochry until 2 December 2014. Find out more about Wild Space.