Iain Sarjeant’s ‘Among Trees’

I had an awful week at work last week, but for the weekend I had long-standing plan to go north: I wanted to combine a little personal photography with a gallery opening.  On Friday morning I had already been out with the large format camera for the first time, which was a very enjoyable experience (more on that in another posting).  So on Friday early evening I drove north, camped by Loch Achilty, and awoke to this:

Loch Achilty, Strathconon

Loch Achilty, Strathconon

As the sun began to rise (this first image was taken just after 7:30), the mist rising off the loch began to change colour too (this second image is from about 8:15):

Loch Achilty, Strathconon

Loch Achilty, Strathconon

These were taken on an Apple iPhone (which didn’t cope with the bright sky – but I didn’t want to start using grad filters on an iPhone!); it’ll take a little while for me to get the film versions ready.

I spent some time photographing in the woods and the River Meig, and found the scene I had planned the whole trip around and managed to photograph it, all in the most beautiful light.  And then, when the sun became too bright for my liking in the late morning, I found a secluded spot in the glen and slept for an hour or so, lying in the grass in the sunshine (the last of summer in late September!).  I changed into some non-camping clothes and headed off to Iain Sarjeant’s gallery opening at the nearby Inchmore Gallery.  All of this would have been a lovely and worthwhile trip in and for itself, but the exhibition was itself also amazing.

The Inchmore Gallery is beautiful: a converted church that has been very elegantly re-purposed.  Iain’s images were mostly on the ground floor in two rooms that seemed to just breathe light – a wonderful use of the church windows.  The images themselves, some of which I had seen on his blog and website, were what attracted me to the exhibition.  Often, an image on a screen is but a poor reflection of a properly produced print – and these prints are simply wonderful in ‘real life’.  The photographs are mostly from one particular woodland near his home, and speak of an intimacy and connection to that landscape that is quite striking.  His signature image for the exhibition (linked to the invitation on his blog) is an example of the kind of thing he was showing:

Iain Sarjeant

Iain Sarjeant’s “Among Trees”

These are beautiful, haunting, sensitive portraits of great personalities: they give a real sense of not (just) being trees, but rather, these photographs represent relationships that Iain has been cultivating (in the invitation above he mentions the ‘character’ of the trees – and it is apparent what he means by that when you see his images).  In conversation he said he probably knew every tree in that little woodland – I can well believe it, and it is evidently a profound form of knowing.  This is landscape photography of the finest kind: there are very few people who can consistently photograph trees in a similarly intimate style (one of them being Dav Thomas; though his images are distinctively different to Iain’s, his website is also well worth a visit).  Iain has produced a lovely little book of his Among Trees images – if you’re very quick at contacting him, it might still be possible to buy one!  Iain’s websites are as follows: professional; personal (click on the ‘Among Trees’ link there to see some of the images at the exhibition); blog; Twitter – do visit and follow etc.

Iain’s exhibition runs until 27. October, and is well worth a 300-mile round trip from Edinburgh!

So, my weekend has been great: I spent time in a beautiful location in fantastic light, made some of my own photographs, and saw a great exhibition.  Surely, after such a brilliant weekend, the coming week at work can’t be as bad as the last week was?! 😉

(Incidentally, if you’re in Inchmore, steer well clear of the Bog Roy Inn/Old North Inn.  There’s a good chance of food poisoning, as we found out this summer – so go somewhere else to eat!)


2 thoughts on “Iain Sarjeant’s ‘Among Trees’

  1. Mike Green

    I bought the book on the strength of this piece – what an excellent decision that was. Thanks for the recommendation. That sounds like a very fine trip too. Presumably, since you were lying in the grass, it was at least moderately dry. Looking out at the lakes in the Dales which would more normally be described by the word ‘field’, that sounds very attractive!

    1. Michael Marten Post author

      I’m glad you like the book after following my recommendation… 🙂
      Yes, it was dry – in fact, it was a gloriously beautiful day, and although I had a camper mat to sleep on, I could probably just have slept in the grass. It felt as if I was at one with the world – though I did make sure the cows were on the other side of the fence and were not going to come and share my oneness with the world!

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