To me solitude is the positive side of being alone. I love walking, particularly in the hills in Scotland and the Peak District in the North of England. It was this love of walking and nature in general that led me to take up landscape photography after initially dabbling with motorsport photography as a beginner.
I find it very relaxing to be out in a natural landscape, breathing clean air, listening to the sound of birds, rivers, etc. It de-stresses me and provides my main source of exercise. That exercise and being out in natural light go a long way to helping me when depression hits and my mood is low.
I also find the process of setting up a landscape photograph requires a level of concentration that blocks out all the negative thoughts pinging around in my brain.
Setting up a tripod, attaching filters, adjusting exposure, and composition soothes me.
I actually went through a period of a couple of years of hating this side of my photography and very rarely shared a landscape shot.
My project actually gave me purpose and renewed my engagement in and enjoyment of photography. I also decided to use the limitations on my time and to only shoot in areas that I can either walk to or cycle to.
My college tutor suggested that I look up material on Minor White and his holistic, philosophical approach to photography.
One of Minor White’s concepts is that the state of mind or mood of the photographer at the time the image was made is as important as the subject matter and technical proficiency.
I began to try and shoot landscape images that I intended to reflect my low mood and feelings of isolation. I have also started to shoot using a monochrome setting in my viewfinder to allow me to concentrate on the light and composition of the scene and expose only to retain detail in the highlights.
I have also stopped lightening shadows and recovering all highlight detail. I process the images in colour but in the way I would for a monochrome image with strong contrast.
My initial project plan was for me to feature in half of the images. I was only going to shoot in the places that I like to visit to photograph repeatedly and to try and depict isolation in that way.
However I soon realised that I’d really only need one or two images like this or it would become quite monotonous. I needed some other ideas.