Week Seventeen Reflections – Cromarty

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My main reflection this week is the importance of my cohort, Cromarty. Some of us have become very good friends, always supportive yet also quick to offer constructive critique and suggestions for improvement – occasionally rather bluntly put! I count Gem Toes-Crichton, Danny North, Alison Price, Ashley Rose and Gail Timms in particular as good friends and colleagues. It is a hugely supportive group, with very high personal standards, and it is not an overstatement to say that they have all been instrumental in helping to get my MA work to where it is.

Rather at the last minute, I decided to fly to Inverness and then drive to Dornoch to attend Ashley’s opening night. Perhaps propitiously, I crossed the Cromarty Firth (in pouring rain) to get there.

I am very glad I made the trip.

Ash’ project, Beyond the Noise, was taking a look at the place that is Coul Links, without getting drawn directly into the heated political debate about the future of the Links (planning permission is being sought and publicly debated for a new golf course). Instead, the installation aimed to offer the audience a space for personal reflection on the geography itself.

A fully multimedia event, Ash had built four large, portable and impressive display pods to show the work ‘in the round’.

A video greeted visitors, setting the scene on the public debate and story so far.

It was a very immersive experience.

The room has no windows, though is a very big space, so Ash had designed the lighting to highlight the work and draw in the viewer, as they walked through the installation.

Opening night was very well attended – around 60 people, I think.

And there was much conversation, a lot around the issues of Coul Links, but not all. I got drawn into a ‘photo ethics’ conversation, for example.

Ash had created two films, using drone footage – I guess her fighter pilot history helped!.

These showed Coul Links changing through the seasons. The effect was mesmerising.

Photographs had been printed and mounted locally, to a very high standard.

It was a  beautiful set of images, thoughtful and varied, moving from the ‘big picture’ to the details of place.

Ash’s talk was received with great attention

The large images were all pure landscape.

The smaller, wildlife photographs created a counterpoint, and received much attention, the size making people really ‘look’.

It was a great show, and sets the bar for the rest of the group. Sadly, the show could only be mounted for two days at this time, though another 90 people attended on the second day. I met many of the locals, and I imagine the exhibition will get talked about for quite some time. Certainly, the press coverage shows how big an issue this is for the community, and how well Ash’ work is regarded locally.

I had previously been invited to talk to the camera club and conduct a street photography workshop next April, something I am now even more looking forward to

Well done, Ash, and I am so glad I made the flying visit.

And thank you, Cromarty.

More photos available at: https://www.mickyatesphotography.com/Events/Beneath-the-Noise/

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