Subliminal Inspiration

When I turned 12 years old, I found music for the first time in my life. Up until that moment, I had been an arty kid who spent a lot of his time drawing and painting. The arts I guess had always featured largely in my future.


One of the bands that I got into at the age of 12, was OMD. Initially attracted by the pop singles they produced, I found this album to be completely opposite to what I had imagined. It was dark, atmospheric, inspired by the sounds of Joy Division more than pop. I loved it as soon as I heard it and it opened up my mind to the possibilities of atmosphere in music. This is not the OMD of chart success that we all know, it is a brooding album and I think it's perhaps their best. If you like dark brooding electronica, then try 'Statues' on this album.

Anyway, the album was released in 1980. I've grown up with it and I've never tired of it. Sure sometimes there has been many years between listens, but I still come back to it from time to time to get re-acquainted with the teenage me.

Tonight I'm listening to it and I'm looking at the cover, and I can't help wondering if that cover has been more influential for me than I had ever considered before. The photograph, I had assumed, was of Glencoe for a long time. It encapsulates everything that is moody and dark about Scotland.

Since I got into photography, I've always been attracted to mood and atmosphere. I think I'm a product of the environment I've grown up in. With parents from the north east of Scotland (Sutherland) I've spent most of my free time up there on holidays and I think the landscape has always rubbed off on me, even if I didn't really know it at the time.

Looking at this album cover (which is not of Glencoe, but somewhere else that I know really well - can you guess where?), It strikes me that my love for atmosphere in music seeped through into my photography. The stage was set when I was a teenager so it seems.

Popular culture influences us in many ways. I'm sure the photograph on the cover of OMD's Organisation album has played a much bigger part in my development as a creative person, than I can ever know. Maybe there is a similar album cover in your collection which has had a similar impression on you?