After multiple attempts of trying to write about “Sublimis” project in short, I understood that it’s not possible. This should rather be a story around it, not a project description that’s going to be on the portfolio page. So I decided to divide the project “story” into separate parts, which is fair since no project consists of just one continuous tell. Every project, not just in art, has an idea, history, tools, special tricks, involved people, places, organization, realization, problems, raw material, result… wait, result of what exactly? well, maybe of the first step… In my case, projects only get started, and since they are not tied to any specific place or event, they tend to run slow. In a way the idea doesn’t get fulfilled and right now I don’t see there is a finish line. Yet…
I was wondering what to divide “Sublimis” story into, it’s so ancient. I think it’d be good to tell you about the trip to Scotland, about my feelings, and show you some photographs. Let it be the intro to what has inspired me to start a project about nature. By now I have visited Scotland several times but most of my good shots were taken during my first trip. That trip I probably had the most effective outcome, i.e. I selected 7 out of 10 analogue frames for my portfolio, which is rather a happy result for me :D (If interesting, I could show you the index cards of my films sometime).
I didn’t have any expectations from Highlands, the most important thing was that I was finally going to visit my friends! I had no idea what was coming (I haven’t really been to places like this before). That time I was going through some difficulties in my life (I will tell you about it some other time with some other pictures), and this trip was exactly what I needed. The nature of the places we visited was like a breath of fresh air, a real escape! Thanks to my friends I had an opportunity to spend several weeks of incredible time in Scottish Highlands. They live in a great valley, there is nothing but you and nature. One has a lot of spare time to think over things: and so I kept my conscious calm. I tend to analyse everything and can keep thinking about something insignificant for days. Thoughts just pop up in my head, “How come you are still in there!”. And it’s not like I want to forget about things – it’s just I don’t want to dwell on them. But over there, surrounded by these valleys, I was learning how to keep my mind clean. Sometimes it is really good and healthy to spend some time alone.
You know, I often imagine my world to be a chain of cliffs and an ocean at the foot of a mountain. This is my inside world – height, sound of the water, heavy wind that keeps you from falling off the cliff. I like cliffs and this indescribable feeling of falling when you look down. Everything looks so insignificant and simple. It’s a pity I can’t fly.
I remember my first day in Scotland. We were driving along the coast of Loch Ness which was quite stormy that day. It was very hard to try and breathe in the energy of the lake when I got out of the car to take a couple of pictures. Amazing! I wouldn’t say I knew the place, not at all. I was just happy to be with my friends and wasn’t at all prepared to see all the views, my inspiration was ecstatic. Now I understand, all I’ve seen there is just a little part of Scotland. You can walk around Highlands forever and get constantly inspired!
Unfortunately, or not, I didn’t take any pictures with my phone (not that I had a good one that time). I always held my analogue medium format in my hands. You can say I was resting. Though I didn’t take many photographs but all of them were taken for the sake of one feeling, one moment and one frame. Well, I do work like this with film. In 98% of the time I know what I’m getting, I almost never take a second “safety” shot on film. Even if I take two pictures I have two different photographs in the outcome.
My most favourite photograph from the viewpoints (see below) is the one taken at Loch Loyne. The shot was taken much further away than it seems. If you google you’ll see that the lake is far from the road. Since the valley is flat I would had to use a portrait lens in any case if I was to photograph from this angle. And so I did. I am crazy about this colour combination, I think it is my favourite colour palette at all times:
Ah, these brown, golden and red fields, beautiful heather. I had no idea I’d be so stunned by heather, it’s like a special feature of Highlands. I heard it becomes purple with season change but I never got to see it.
This place is called Glengarry. I had a real luck with the sky. But I wouldn’t say I like this photograph. As much as I tried to make it “prettier”, I couldn’t do it right without “loosing” the picture. Maybe I should’ve had used a wide angle lens here, but I don’t have it :)
One of the most interesting places of Glengarry’s surroundings are these green “corridors”. They can be found near the Glengarry Castle and stretch for several hundred meters along the river. I remember how I was keeping my company from moving because I just stuck in there wandering and didn’t want to come out. Well, I got out of there after a while because it was time for a traditional English tea in the castle with scones, jam, cream and everything, mmm. Good times!
This shot is still one of my favourite ones. What is interesting that I didn’t plan or search for a perfect place to photograph, it found me. I saw the intertwined trees a bit lighted from above (and there is almost no sunlight coming through the leaves), that was it!
To say that Scottish nature won me over is to say nothing… I fell in love with these spacious valleys. Of course, every place has its own unique feature, nature is beautiful in every corner of the planet, on every continent. I have a lot to explore, there are countless places that I still haven’t seen. For now I can just simply enjoy BBC series about our planet :D.
Get out in nature, in silence, without music, just breathe and listen, hear yourself. Close your eyes and imagine what you see with your feelings. Next time I will tell you about the place called Lochan Torr an Truill and how did I make my first photograph of “Sublimis”, a feeling of a place, and why. For I don’t want to bore you with long texts, I’ll stop here because there are so many photographs yet to show ;)
Stay tuned :)