Ian Lawson - Saorsa


The Outer Hebrides, Scotland

Ian Lawson - Saorsa (Freedom of the Outer Hebrides)


A beautiful story of landscape, people and tweed from the Western Isles.

Saorsa (n.) Scottish Gaelic for Freedom, Liberty.

The photographs within this book represent all that I love about photography. That rewarding feeling you get after an Hebridean adventure. Searching for island beauty and then forced home by the darkening night, there is nothing left of you but the sea. All is washed away, an empty mind, but with my heart full.

Ian Lawson - Oceans Art

From the Land of the Loom

A woven landscape, cultural richness, brilliant tweed and 
romantic colours. What’s not to love? While a brief online perusal of SAORSA in no way compares to the physical joy of holding and owning a beautiful work of art in one's hands, I nonetheless want to give you some semblance of the images, words and design.

Landscape, Culture and Cloth

'I travelled to the Outer Hebrides to gain a deeper understanding of these ancient 
islands. Losing myself in the elements, I found a place abounding with life and deeply entwined in the age-old art of weaving Harris Tweed.

I was suddenly liberated to explore inner and outer worlds through my photography, connecting with a living landscape, the people it held, and the culture they celebrated. The crofters and weavers I met were untethered spirits of their own, their character and soul shining through in the face of the hardships of weather and geography. Here among the wide-open mountain, moor and machair, we shared a rare and treasured freedom together.

While the Isle of Harris holds firm my heart, and naturally forms the major focus of this photographic collection, my many journeys to the Outer Hebrides has also blessed my camera with wonderful picture opportunities across the islands of Lewis, Berneray and the Uists.' 

Ian Lawson

Oceans of Little Worlds

These ancient islands really do make my heartbeat quicken every time I set foot ashore. Take a short aerial journey with me over Harris, Berneray and Eriskay and enjoy three minutes of unforgettable beauty that 
inspired the making of SAORSA.

Weaving Landscapes of Harris & Lewis

As I began to photograph the landscape, the people and the cloth, 
I started to see patterns emerge. A beat began and the rhythm of Harris Tweed® flowed into my consciousness and into my pictures. Herringbone, hound’s tooth, basket weave, bird’s eye, glen check, windowpane: 
evocative names for original Harris Tweed patterns. The closer I looked, the more beautiful and complex the patterns became. They are about the relations between and within – the ties of labour that bind Hebrideans to the weaving landscapes of their making.

Ian Lawson - Weaving Landscapes Ian Lawson - Weaving Landscapes Ian Lawson - Weaving Landscapes

These islands hold the grandest of all storytelling, with tales hidden beneath each and every stone. Given time and attention, such secrets unravel like old remnants of heather rope, enclosing the heart like croft-land; bound by bent post and long forgotten boundaries.

My own story is a slow, meditative experience of these revelations, wholly appropriate to the rhythm of this special place. I have long been immersed in it, lost in the faces of the inhabitants and the character of their precious land. While I work here, my pictures always seek to capture the delicate balance between nature’s light and dark, the challenges of life lived
 in the remote and rural, and the rare glimpses which always reward if one’s patience can endure. The longer I spend, the more the islands come to impose upon my own psyche and soul. I find myself unburdened, old emotional tethers falling away, bringing an increasing sense of lightness to my being with every visit.

My Hebridean work, which first began over fourteen years ago, now continues as I set out upon these new headings. Camera in hand, there is a deep drive to discover whatever may lie over the next hill and far horizon. Onwards the journey goes, and always with that inescapable sense of freedom only time spent in the Outer Hebrides can bring.

Ian Lawson - Freedom of the Hebrides

"I came all this way 
to explore the Outer Hebrides landscape, 
and the most 
important thing I 
discovered was the 
island crofters and 
the weaving culture of Harris Tweed."

Ian Lawson - Weaving Landscapes Ian Lawson - Weaving Landscapes

Hebridean Memories

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so, for the most part, I let my photography speak for me. Yet, I’ll always try to capture my thoughts and impressions in words too, from days spent in the Harris hills or time with new crofter friends by the fire. By sharing excerpts from my journals, I want to bring something open and distinctly personal to the books pages, to give a wider sense of story. While I hope the images alone will capture your heart, perhaps my words will deepen the appreciation. 

Ian Lawson - Weaving Landscapes



MaterialHardcover - Silk bindings. Foil-stamped

PresentationCustom slipcase with suede-cloth lining. Gift-box with carry handle.

TextEnglish 12,000 words

Weight5 kilos / 11lbs

Photographs343 Full-plate colour photographs

Size35cm x 29cm x 5.5cm

PaperGuardapat heavy-weight matt art

Country of OriginVicenza, Italy

Add To Cart £155.00

Ian Lawson - Saorsa Book