Stuart Low is an experienced landscape photographer based in Fife (Scotland). I came across his work when visiting the Shutter Hub OPEN exhibition at Retina Scottish Photography Festival in the Ocean Terminal. It is only a small sample but it gives a good idea of his clean photographic style at the time that serves as a preview of his book “Treescapes: the Art of Photographing Trees”.
Being brought up in the Scottish countryside, he developed a preference for outdoors photography, specially trees. With a background in science, this self taught photographer applies his knowledge of both Photography and Physics to frame beautiful landscapes.
I particularly like his black and white film series of Treescapes, and the very minimal colour series of winter landscapes. There is something about his “tree portraits” that pictures nature as both delicate and magnificent at one time by the way he isolates these trees within the frame.
Stuart is also an experienced instructor and runs multiple workshops on Landscape Photography.
The exhibition shows a number of international artists with varied photography styles and although I have enjoyed all the work, there are a couple of photographs that caught my attention.
Firstly, Silvia Maggi´s image from the series “The Day I Glimpsed Inside Your Soul” was my favourite on show. The image was taken at Sachsenhausen concentration camp, situated at North of Berlin. It is difficult for me to identify what made me feel attracted to this photograph, but the first thought that crossed my mind was “silence”: there is something really intimate about the open gate but it is almost an invitation to enter a place that feels unreal, unknown and secret.
Maggi is telling us the story of her husband´s grandfather who, unlike thousands of others, managed to scape from Sachsenhausen. I did not know by the title that this was a concentration camp until I did some research about the image and got a bit of a shock as I went on a trip with the school to Berlin when I was 14 years old (that is over 20 years ago!) and spent a whole day visiting this place. It is huge (I only managed to see a small area) and horrible. I could not recognize the gate as most of my memories from that place come from what I saw inside. I got very emotional reading about the story of the image and trying to imagine how Maggi´s husband felt when standing in front of the gate, looking through the eyes of his grandfather.
Another photographer I have enjoyed greatly in this exhibition and on her website is Margaret Mitchell and her series “In this place“, which had two images on display. The project observes social inequality and life choices through the story of her extended family. I like not only the approach that Mitchell has to this matter but also the subject chosen as the project depicts the reality of many families in Scotland and rises concern about inequality and disadvantages, specially for younger generations.
I also love her general style between documentary and portraiture, specially her Portrait Series, so I will leave a link here for future reference and inspiration.
Overall the level of the exhibition is very good. I have visited another venue a week ago at the Summerhall but I did not think of taking pictures or documenting anything as I was not enrolled in EYV yet. I regretted now as the work presented was inspiring. There was also a solo exhibition of the Dutch photographer Hellen Van Meene with a good number of beautiful and painterly portraits I really loved watching. Unfortunately, it finished four days ago, but I noted this here to do some further research in the future.