My friend Peter Freeman - a fine photographer who has worked for the National Parks of the Lakes in northern England for a long time, said to me last week that 'Photographers are drawn to the edges of things'. It's been reverberating around my brain all week.
I'm on the isle of Arran this week to do some photography but also to research the island. I've found it a challenge to photograph here - it's always a drain on me for the first encounter - I feel I have so much to do, such a high mountain to climb. And then as the week progresses, I become more familiar, at ease even and then I begin to 'understand' the landscape. It took me 2 days before I could even take the camera out of the bag.
But I've been struggling with myself: often I find myself the biggest hurdle to get over when venturing somewhere new. I find it hard traveling alone at times. Here too my friend Peter says that 'photographers have to be at ease with themselves and like their own company'. I know what he means - it does help, but sometimes I don't feel that way. I guess when I'm feeling out of sorts, or needing the company of others - I should just abort the trip and head for home, because I'm simply 'not in the mood' or 'frame of mind' required to be making images.
And then yesteryday, I found two gorgeous spots out in Arran and completely lost myself for a few hours. It was magic.
It's been a week of trials though : firstly, a local had placed some big logs in a layby so people (like me I presume) wouldn't park in the layby across from his house, and when I took off, I didn't see the bits of wood and it ripped the radiator off my car. So I have no cooling system and the car is dead. But I do have a courtesy car at the moment - a clapped out BMW from the 70's I think.
I've wanted to research some of the glens and mountains, but I haven't been able to do so - because I have a recurring issue with Sciatica. For some reason, it's pretty bad this week and it means I want to gnaw my right leg off from time to time.
But I think what keeps me going, is that I've had some terrific help from the locals in finding the 'real' Arran, and the Kilmory bunk house has been a great place to stay. I head for home tomorrow, and in some ways I'm glad to be going, but I also know I will be back here.