Picturing the Secret Coast

Tom and I are deep in Secret Coast book preparation. This is a fun time, involving lots of reflection, retrospection and aesthetic wrangling as we decide what goes where and why. Looking at all of the photographic images Tom has produced over the course of the project has really reminded me of the wide range of themes and places we’ve been exploring, and the many hours and days we’ve spent doing so, through all seasons of the year, and in all weathers.

Inveraray in the rain

When it comes to photographic images, Tom definitely has a different set of preferences to myself (and his own distinctive creative aesthetic) but, as I’m sorting through the pictures for our Secret Coast book, I thought I’d post a few of my own personal favourites among the many photographs Tom has taken over the course of the project.

An old Ferry point across the Kyles
Otter Ferry

I love Tom’s less ‘literal’ images – which, to me, really capture the mood and feeling of particular coastal landscapes . . .

Loch Fyne
Loch Striven

. . . but I also really enjoy what one might describe as his hyper-literal photography, such as this beautiful image of an old cockle shell with its worn grooves which Tom photographed at the spit at Otter Ferry. I used this image to illustrate my piece about the debates about overfishing, and Loch Fyne’s herring conflicts.

Tom’s monochrome macro images of barnacles and shells also provided the perfect accompaniment to Michael Hartley’s essay about Loch Striven and its secretive wartime history.

Tom used different photographic techniques to suggest our different ‘stories’.

Rowan tree growing within ruined crofthouse walls

. . .refracting and distorting images for Michael’s Glenan essay, for example

. . . and using infrared photography to illustrate my piece about Auchnaha.

Head of Loch Striven
Loch Striven from above

Tom’s also made great use of drone photography in this project, allowing readers to see features of the landscape that are invisible from the ground.

above Glenan
above the old Black quay at Kames

Using a wide range of styles and techniques (and cameras!), I think the images Tom has produced for this book have really helped us to bring the curious beauty of Cowal to life.

Loch Striven
Loch Striven
Ostell Bay
Ark of Argyll

I look forward to bringing some of my favourite Secret Coast pictures to you in print, once our book is published!

Thanks, Tom, for all your hard work on this project.