Black & White Photographic Darkroom in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland
ISLAND DARKROOM: THE STORY
Island Darkroom is based in the village of Achmore in the heart of the Isle of Lewis, and looks out over the undulating, loch-pitted peat moor to the Harris and Uig hills. The choice to build this creative space here came out of a love of the beautiful landscape that surrounds it.
My introduction to the Isle of Lewis came through a jumble of music, art, exploring, storytelling and good company. And of course, like so many who visit the Hebrides, I am continually energised by the raw beauty of its environment - from the vast vistas of moors, cliffs and moody skies to the simple beauty of a peat line or machair flower.
The View from Achmore
“I'm learning that ‘remote’ is not a geographical location if the centre of your work, your focus and who you love is not hundreds of miles away, but right beside you.”
Over the many years I've been exploring these landscapes and coastlines through kayaking, hillwalking or coasteering with pals who are from or live on the island, I have come to appreciate more and more what this proximity to the land means. It means a very real kind of freedom, a physical challenge, a space to breathe or space to think. It speaks of the history of a culture that is visibly etched into its contours, making the past tangible and close. It means that the joy of being surrounded by natural beauty is inescapable. In creating Island Darkroom I wish to capture and share this beauty, from the broad brushstrokes of landscapes to the intimate details within them. I want to show places that are full of history but also full of life - a place that I have chosen to make my home.
In living here, my centre of gravity has shifted - and therefore my sense of what I consider to be ‘remote’. This place is often referred to as ‘on the edge’, ‘far-flung’ - but Island Darkroom and the work I create here could not have come into being anywhere else. I'm learning that ‘remote’ is not a geographical location if the centre of your work, your focus and who you love is not hundreds of miles away, but right beside you.
I can't wait to share this journey - let's start exploring!
Mhairi Law is an award-winning photographer from the Scottish Borders. Having visited the Hebrides for most of her life she ﬁnally made the move in 2017 to live and work full time on the Isle of Lewis. She learned the art of darkroom developing and printing through her studies at Stevenson college and Edinburgh Napier University, graduating in 2014. After being selected for the 2014 Futureproof exhibition at Streetlevel Photoworks and winning the Jill Todd photographic award in 2015, she was selected for artist residencies with Stills: Centre for Photography in Edinburgh and The Clipperton Project in the Faroe Islands in 2016. Her work has been exhibited in various exhibitions including at An Lanntair, Stirling University, Stills Gallery, Streetlevel in Glasgow and the IMA Gallery in Toronto. Using medium format ﬁlm, her work focuses primarily on evidence of human interaction within landscapes.