I share my personal response to the moments of beauty I have discovered as I document the places I have come to love, be they man-made or natural. The wonderful thing about my photography is that it allows that moment of perceived beauty to endure, and to be shared. .
@An Lanntair, Stornoway, Outer Hebrides
1st July - 16th August 2016
Roddy Murray An Lanntair, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis
@Rheged, Penrith, Cumbria
13th February - 15th May 2016
Every day 10.30am - 4.30pm
Ian's Books, Prints & Cards Available for purchase in Gallery Store
The remote islands of the Scottish Outer Hebrides cling on in wilderness and wild weather at the periphery of Western Europe. They are home to a unique people and culture, profoundly tied to their environment and bound together by an ancient, lyrical language. The islanders of Lewis and Harris, the Uists and beyond to Benbecula and Barra, share a long and rich heritage, steeped in the intertwined traditions of crofting and weaving, a life shaped by the rhythms of land and loom.
For most, it is a place seldom explored, its secrets and stories rarely revealed, the commitment often proving too challenging, the patience required to truly know the local people falling far short. After the long, beatific summer days fade and the storms of winter crash in, few linger to learn about life here as the seasons inexorably roll onwards. And yet, for those who call these islands home, life does go on. There is work to do, crofts to tend, cloth to be woven, come what may.
Photographer Ian Lawson is a rarity in these respects, an artist who has devoted time and soul to these far outlying islands in the pursuit of understanding a singular way of life. With patience and perseverance, over the course of a decade Ian has quietly fallen into step with the world of those who weave the world-famous Harris Tweed cloth. Behind their oft-closed doors, men and women bring life to their looms, skilled hands caring for every inch of pure wool, the warp and weft dyed and spun upon their own shores.
As the years passed, these doors have opened to Ian, faces becoming not just familiar but those of friends, his camera capturing the characters and their character with honesty and the deepest of respect. In the same way, the surrounding landscapes have themselves opened up, revealing precious moments, in glimpses of beauty only the ever-present, aware and attuned, could possibly hope to witness. And wildlife, often so reclusively hidden, succumb to the forbearance of this photographer of fortitude.
In an uncommon collaboration with the Harris Tweed Authority, the governing body charged with the protection of Harris Tweed and the iconic Orb Mark, Ian Lawson's From The Land is a peerless body of work, culminating in this exhibition of stunning images and story. Through photography and words, From The Land, grants access to the Harris Tweed industry, from the crofts upon which the wool is brought forth to the shearers and those who share tasks in turning fleece into the finest of hand-woven cloth and onwards through their villages, lands and lives.
Set with the context of Ian's deeply personal narrative, From The Land is a journey into the heart of the Hebrides. A truly stunning exploration of people and place, both visual and poetic, these most special of islands are brought to light as never before, timeless in their history, vibrant and vital. From the expanses of heathered moor and endless sky to the intimacy of the croft house and peat-smoked fireside, the From The Land exhibition brings these remotest of places closer to the inquisitive heart than ever before.
@Rheged, Penrith, Cumbria
13th February - 19th April 2015
‘Ian Lawson, the celebrated Cumbrian fine-arts photographer who scored a slow-burning, worldwide hit with From The Land, a ten year study of the Outer Hebrides famous hand woven Harris Tweed, releases his second book with a major landmark exhibition at Rheged, Cumbria. For his latest project, he delivers a nuanced take on pastoral England, this time focussing on the iconic Herdwick sheep of the Lake District fells.’
“With a quiet, precise and sometimes poetic eye Ian Lawson's photographs negotiate this shared territory of the Lake District's managed landscape. While using his camera to frame the “still moments” a place like the Lake District can gift us, he never allows us to forget the human presence woven through the DNA of its existence.”