A new year, a continuation of a book project

Dear reader, Happy new year!

Well it's a new year and I'm keen to get on with some new projects and some not so new :-)

One not so new project is that of a third printed book. This one, hopefully will be about the Altiplano region of South America, slated for release sometime in late 2016 if things go according to plan.

This is just a 'working'  cover and may not resemble the final cover in any way. It's just something I like to create during the early stages, as it helps me visualise, get direction and maintain focus.

This is just a 'working'  cover and may not resemble the final cover in any way. It's just something I like to create during the early stages, as it helps me visualise, get direction and maintain focus.

Altiplano means 'high-altitude plain'. So it's a bit of a catch-all for some of the high elevation landscapes of South America.

A monograph on the altiplano has been something I've been working towards since 2012. The set of images I created on that visit got me thinking about a book project. I seemed to get a handle on the more abstract, minimalist landscapes of this region as I think they allow for a study of form, tone and colour. 

I returned in 2013 thinking that I just needed one more trip to have enough images for a book. But things didn't work out that way. I went back with a fixed set of visuals in my mind of what I needed to 'complete the picture' of what I saw in 2012, only to find that I was presented with yet another story, a further subtext to the original story I had visualised. I now feel I've found a landscape that has much potential for showing me the way forward in terms of personal growth and development of my own style. Each subsequent visit so far, has just opened up more doors for me.

Images from my 2013 shoot.

Images from my 2013 shoot.

This year I will be visiting the altiplano regions of Chile, Bolivia and also a new area of Argentina that I only just recently found out about. I will be there for just under two months and I can't wait to see what new stories unfold for me whilst there.

I have a Bolivian friend - Marisol, from the town of Uyuni. She is a professional guide and will be accompanying me on my trips across the high plains of southern Bolivia. Marisol lived in Edinburgh for over a year as a sponsored student and it is here that I got to know her. She has since acted as my guide on several of my private trips around the Bolivian sector of the altiplano.

There always seems to be a sense of serendipity to what I do and I'm grateful for the introduction to Marisol by my friend Kathy, who is also responsible for setting up my South American tours via her tour company Andean Trails.

The region of Argentina I am visiting is called the Puna. From what I know of it so far, it will compliment what I've already photographed, but at the same time add an additional dimension to the collection of images, should the trip go well. 

As with everything, you have to speculate to accumulate and I always see first visits to new landscapes as introductory ones. Often I find I need to go at least twice to a new location; once to find out what I want to photograph and get a handle on the logistics involved, and second time, to actually focus on the areas of interest. Besides, I prefer to visit a place many times, as that way I get to know its personality as well as get to understand the more subtle aspects of it.

Velvia transparencies on my light table. If you've never seen a transparency on a light table before, then you're missing something. It makes the review process much more engaging. I never felt as inspired whilst looking at RAW files on a computer screen. Illuminated transparencies are alive; they glow. It's like you've captured a pocket of light from a location and transported it back home.

Velvia transparencies on my light table. If you've never seen a transparency on a light table before, then you're missing something. It makes the review process much more engaging. I never felt as inspired whilst looking at RAW files on a computer screen. Illuminated transparencies are alive; they glow. It's like you've captured a pocket of light from a location and transported it back home.

I need projects, otherwise photography for me is just 'aimless pottering about'. I also need to complete them, otherwise I never get clearance to move onto new ones.

And they have given me so much.  What I love about them the most, apart from the experiences involved in creating the work,  is that the final results are often more surprising than I had originally envisaged. They are a constant reminder that I can steer my own direction, realise my dreams and handle much more than I often think I'm capable of.