Allan on Arran - Interview with Photographer Allan Wright
One of our hotly anticipated new releases in March is this stunning photography book from one of our favourite photographers, Allan Wright. Most of you will be familiar with Allan's work as it features heavily in our postcard, magnet and greetings card ranges and, of course, in all of our Lyrical Scotland calendars.
Allan's latest project is a celebration of one of his favourite parts of the country, the Isle of Arran. Ahead of the book's launch, Jenny grabbed a few minutes with the man himself to find out more about the book -
Jenny: Tell us a bit about how this new book, 'Arran: Sixty Best Views' came about - why Arran?
Allan Wright: The previous title, Arran, which I co-authored with Tony Bonning has been out of print for many years now, and since that time I have built up a new collection of images from the island. I have started a programme of new book titles to address the increased demand for photography on the printed page, or in 'hard copy'.
J: Is this book the result of one particular visit to Arran, or images collected over a period of time?
AW: Most of the images were taken within the last five years, but there are a handful that go back much later - these are the images that I haven't been able to improve upon since!
J: How long did it take you to edit your selection to just sixty images? Were there many more that you would have liked to include?
AW: An hour here and there over a period of a week I drilled into my files and created a shortlist of about a hundred. From there, I whittled down to a core sixty images. Editing is one of the hardest parts of this kind of photography.
J: If you had to sum up 'Arran: Sixty Best Views' in a tweet, how would you describe it?
AW: The unique character and beautifully diverse landscape of Arran distilled into a tidy little soft back.
J: What makes this book different from other collections of photographs of Arran?
AW: Inevitably each collection is a subjective view. 'Arran: Sixty Best Views' is my take which I hope is representative of my work as a whole and one which shows the island at its best.
J: You've been working in Scotland for a number of years - what do you enjoy most about photographing the country?
AW: The infinite variety of colours, textures, light quality, topography and heritage - both natural and man made - probably has few equals anywhere in the world.
J: How do you find the seasons change the Scottish landscape?
AW: The range of challenges and opportunities that our seasons offer is absolutely vast. In fact, it's difficult to overstate the differences the seasons make to the landscape's character.
J: Tell us a bit about how you work as a photographer - do you plan a day around capturing particular shots or do you go out take what the day brings you?
AW: I am tied to the logistics of a shoot in a big way. Weather is huge of course, but so is travel, access issues and time of day. Expected demand for certain subjects also influences my decisions, but in general it is a straight split between planned shots and ad hoc encounters.
J: Did you always want to be, or think you would become, a professional photographer?
AW: It was a hobby whilst I was working abroad as an oilfield engineer. I discovered my fascination with the power of an image while traveling in third world countries and I have never lost the passion.
J: Do you still enjoy working as a photographer now as much as when you started?
AW: Yes, although the experience is different now. Perhaps a little less excitement, more quiet satisfaction.
J: Photography is a hugely popular activity and many of us fancy ourselves as an amateur photographer. What advice would you give as a successful photographer in so many genres?
AW: Follow your passion and get a broad grip of the process, but then specialise if you want to gain recognition in one field.
J: Do you prefer more traditional methods of photography or digital techniques and gadgets?
AW: I shoot all digital although I try to keep it simple and avoid over reliance on technology to enhance the end product. Nature and fine architecture is simple and beautiful, the challenge is to do it justice without deception.
J: What sort of photographs do you enjoy taking most? Landscapes, nature, cities, people...
AW: All of the above in equal measure.
J: What do you have planned next? More books?
AW: Yes, I plan to do at least six titles over the next three to four years.
So it sounds like there's a lot more to look forward to from Allan Wright over the next few years. 'Arran: Sixty Best Views' is part of his latest collection of photographic books which so far includes Galloway, Castle Douglas, Skye and Glasgow.
The book is launched at the end of March and we're taking trade orders for it now on the website here.