Treading Lightly

First Light

My most recent body of work is the culmination of several years spent gathering material in some of our most outstanding areas of natural beauty and wildlife around the Scottish coastline. Places in which there is a finely balanced ecological web in which just a single change can have devastating effects…such as the accidental introduction of rats to a small Hebridean island on which thousands of seabirds come to nest. Happily in this case a major restoration programme has brought the island back to its former rat-free status and previously absent birds such as the tiny storm petrel have begun to return.

Seemingly barren expanses of peat bog lands are actually a huge carbon store. Their vast bleakness never fails to inspire me and when I get down on hands and knees for a closer look there is a wonderfully diverse, colourful and almost exotic carpet of mosses and plant life. Or the delicate balance of the inter-tidal zone, constantly in a state of flux and in danger of sea levels rising too quickly for it to adapt.

But what really brings a place to life are the animals which inhabit it and the sense of wonder that an encounter with wildlife can bring. It always reminds me of our power and responsibility as custodians of the natural world and how we choose to act upon that.