New landscape photo exhibition in Wild Space
A collection of spectacular landscape photos by Skye-based, Gaelic poet, Alistair Young opens in the Alan Reece Gallery in Pitlochry
Spectacular images of Skye feature in our latest exhibition at the Alan Reece Gallery in the Trust's Wild Space visitor centre in Highland Perthshire.
'Ascent' showcases some of the work of Alistair Young, who works at the Sabhal Mòr Ostaig Gaelic college in Sleat and composes Gaiku – Gaelic Haiku. The following example was inspired by his 'Coire of the hundred knolls' photograph shown below.
Chaidh gathan solais
tarsainn na fànais, a'leigeil ris
na bh'ann gun sgur
crossed the void, revealing
what was always there
Alistair, who came to live in Skye in 2001, learned to speak Gaelic at school in Glasgow and has been speaking the language for 30 years. He sees a strong cross-over between his Gaelic poetry and his photography of wild places in Skye and Wester Ross, with their evocative names steeped in the ancient Celtic culture of these lands.
He explains that his landscape photography falls into two categories: “First, there is the opportunistic image seized from the wild winds of a winter storm high in the mountains. There is little time for composition, just enough of a gap in the weather to create the image. To wait, to deliberate on aperture, exposure and viewpoint, is to waste the moment.
“Then there is the slow, considered, planned creation of an image. This is the story-telling side of photography. The story of place, of mood, of atmosphere. The story of people who were once there. From imagination to finished print, it's a journey I never tire of making."
Alistair has always been fascinated by wild places: "They're the places where life does as life does. There are no judgements, only observations. I love to look closely at a rock or a blade of grass and feel its texture. Sit and be mindful for an hour or two and birds, deer, shrews, voles all begin to move freely again and it feels like I've come home.”
John Muir's writings, discovered 20 years ago on a cycle tour of Arran, Gigha and Islay, are also a strong influence: "I read The Wilderness Journeys and couldn’t put it down. His outlook and attitude to the outdoors just clicked. Then, when I moved to Skye, I found out more about the John Muir Trust and the property it manages just down the road from me.”
That property includes Bla Bheinn, one of Alistair’s favourite mountains. “She has a route for every mood. From the straightforward route for when I just want to walk and think of new things to write, to the scrambling routes when I want to forget the outside world and feel the simple rhythm of my body on rock.”
Alistair Young's Ascent: a collection of photography from sea to summit will run at the Wild Space Alan Reece Gallery in Pitlochry until the end of June. Find out more about Alistair's work at Gabbro Photography