All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…

Behind the Lens #4: Abandoned Boat, Berneray

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This week’s theme ‘Behind the Lens’ is a combination of photography and memory. Each day a random image will be plucked from my archive and – regardless of how good it is – showcased on the blog along with the story behind the image. Today, one of the first photographs I developed from in a darkroom; Abandoned Boat, Berneray

Abandoned Boat, Berneray (Outer Hebrides, October 2000) © Addy

“Ciamar a smaoinichinn gun glacainn
an rionnag leugach òir,
gum beirinn oirre ’s gun cuirinn i
gu ciallach ’na mo phòc?”
~ Sorley MacLean ~

In October 2000, a few months after beginning college, I returned to the Island of Berneray for a weekend of roaming, reading and relaxation. My first visit to the island had been in February of the same year whilst travelling the Outer Hebrides with two friends and I developed an immediate love of this most beautiful of Hebridean Islands.

One of my projects for the weekend was to take a series of photographs that I could use as part of my college coursework. Shots of the hostel in which I stayed were taken, images of the machair and expansive western beach were photographed and whilst wandering between the two, random landscapes and monuments were captured for posterity.

This abandoned boat was such an image. Resting on a patch of grass away from the Sound its wooden frame was disintegrating due to the occasionally bleak Hebridean weather. Although far from being the greatest photograph ever taken, it stands out in my collection as being one of the first images I ever developed myself. From processing the negative through to burning the sky in the darkroom.

For years, this photo hung on my wall as a monument of time and place. A memorial of that inspiring, blissful weekend and the months of creativity and excitement that my college course allowed. Over time I would develop better images, but from the moment I watched the boat take shape within the chemical bath, I was smitten with the joy of the darkroom.

This process remains one of the most relaxing activities I’ve ever done, a process that the digital evolution has all but wiped off the map, a process that, no matter what anyone tells you, is infinitely more beautiful than sitting in front of a monitor.


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