Throughout his entire life, Iain has always been inspired and enchanted by the Scottish landscape, but the challenge to establish himself as a successful photo-artist has had many twists and turns .....
In fact, during his formative years, Iain had no inkling that his career would involve the use of cameras. He can only ever remember taking one photograph during that period of his life. "It was while I was on holiday with my parents in Fife, Scotland. It was a grey day and the single image I captured on the family Kodak camera was of some sheep in a flat field. I don't think the family found it particularly interesting, for it was technically poor and aesthetically very limited" says Iain. Yet the importance of that single black and white image, taken at the age of eight, cannot be under-estimated, for though he did not know it at the time, it was to prove to be the first of thousands of landscape shots that he would eventually take around the world.
Iain left school at the age of eighteen, having successfully gained a clutch of O levels and Highers, and began his adult life by working variously as a shipping clerk, part-time postman and art gallery attendant. None of these occupations proved to be fulfilling to him, and after a couple of years, still uncertain of his long-term future, he decided to take a break from such employment and his home life in Edinburgh, and chose to back-pack across Europe in search of a different perspective on life.
Iain reckons it was probably the most important decision he made in his early life, for not only did he see a new world of peoples and landscapes unfold, he also discovered for the first time how to release his creative energy through the magic of photography. He had bought a second-hand, unsophisticated Pentax SLR primarily to take some holiday snaps but was quickly seduced by the endless possibilities of the camera. "Looking back, I didn't have any fancy gadgets to distract me, and used only a single 50mm standard lens. I think it forced me to learn my craft more thoroughly, and trained my eye to understand perspective better" says Iain.
On his return to the UK, Iain now had a clearer idea of what direction his life would take him, and enrolled for a BA in Cultural Studies at a London College, where he began to study a combination of subjects including social sciences, arts and media. "I was still considering a possible career in television, but part of my course involved putting a photographic project together. I was living in the East End of the capital in a very impoverished area, which was in start contrast to the wealth of a neighbouring borough" says Iain. "I had never seen anything like it, and I simply saw startling images and juxtapositions everywhere I looked". It was at this moment here that he began to understand the ability of the lens to capture unique moments in time, and was able to see the power of social documentary photography as a means to enhance his written work.
After graduation, he returned to his home town of Edinburgh, and captivated by the photographic medium, he created a dark room in a spare room at home, and embarked on his now chosen career. He began by working for local papers and magazines and shortly before the Edinburgh Festival began that year, he submitted his portfolio to the Picture Editor of the national daily newspaper, The Scotsman. He was given his big break - a chance to work as a freelance press photographer. "I was literally thrown in at the deep end, beginning the very next day, and worked every single day for the next month" says Iain. "It offered an invaluable learning curve, working to demanding deadlines, and producing the different styles of photography required by the diverse needs of news, sport, arts, business and features. It allowed me a unique education in my craft".
He continued for 5 years as a freelance with the newspaper before deciding it was time for a change and, moving on, began to concentrate on his preferred choice of travel and landscape photography. Having built up a substantial back catalogue of images, he was able to sell pictures to numerous magazines and newspapers throughout the UK and internationally. He also began writing travel features to accompany his stunning travel images and contributed regularly to The Herald, Sunday Herald and Scots Magazine, as well as working with tourist organisations and travel publications at home and abroad. During that time he travelled to all four corners of the globe, visiting over 50 countries.
Iain feels incredibly privileged to see so much of the planet, yet when asked what his favourite country is, he still chooses his homeland. "I have seen many, many fabulous places, yet Scotland still captivates me the most. It contains some of the most evocative scenery anywhere in the world" says Iain. "I think it's the unique interplay of light, land and sky... it rarely fails to create an extraordinary variety of visual delights. Of course, the uncertainty of Scotland's climate can often try my patience - but it is this very unpredictability that often makes the most dramatic images. It's within these ever-changing landscapes of jagged mountains, sweeping skies, deserted beaches and endless horizons that I find the true elements that make Scotland so special... The numerous historic castles, cottages, standing stones, lighthouses and much, much more add the finishing touches to all this magic. It's a timeless place".
Now as an established international travel photographer, Iain has set up his next venture - Scotland on Canvas - whose aim is to bring the drama of his homeland to a much wider audience. This website has been designed to showcase some of his favourite images from all over Scotland, and for the first time, these limited edition canvas prints have been made available for sale to the public as wonderfully original Scottish gifts. Using the contemporary format of large box canvas prints, the effect on his images is extraordinary, creating beautiful photo-art work. Now you too can share in some of his travels by exploring the online Scottish Galleries and imagine owning a view of Scotland!
Scotland on Canvas offers Scottish Landscape Photography, Scottish photography prints, Scottish Canvas Art, Scenic Scotland Landscapes, Box Canvas Prints of
Scottish landscapes, mountains and coastlines. Professional Photographs, Images, Prints and Pictures of Scotland's Islands and Castles.