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« civilized ku # 4009 ~ here, there and seemingly every where | Main | Ireland / Scotland ~ fait accompli »

Ireland / Scotland # 42-43 ~ RAW FILES / In Search of the Perfect Picture

Amsterdam airport ~ Amsterdam, Netherlands • click to embiggen
View / Dunottar Castle ~ Stonehaven, Scotland • click to embiggen

During our departure from Scotland - airports and all - the wife picked up a book, RAW SPIRIT ~ In Search of the Perfect Dram, for me to read. A book which I wish I had read before our trip but one which is driving our return to Scotland next year to rent a castle and visit the Western Highlands and islands.

The book (non-fiction) in question, by Iain Banks* is ostensibly about Banks' quest for "the perfect dram", or, if you prefer, the perfect single malt whisky (aka: scotch). However, while Banks - a Scot with a taste and a hankerin' for the "water of life" - does visit many of the distilleries of Scotland and gives the reader his opinions on their whisky expressions, his other musings on subjects such as cars, politics, personal anecdotes (lots of high jinks) and travels around Scotland comprise the larger share of the books's pages. I found it to be a very enjoyable read and it led directly to my purchase of the single malt which impressed Banks the most (fyi, there is no "perfect dram" in his opinion), 21-year-old Glenfiddich Gran Reserva.

That written, in addition to being the inducement for a return trip to Scotland, it is also the inspiration (and final kick in the butt) for a project I am have been kicking around for quite some time - writing a book about photography.

I have been kicking this can down the road for quite a while due to the fact that I had not been able to come up with a schtick - an approach to the writing style - for the book. I most certainly did not want to write a how-to book, gear book, or any other such trope. And while a monograph of my biggest hits has a certain appeal, I considered that approach to be rather impractical for a number of reasons.

Enter RAW SPIRIT ~ In Search of the Perfect Dram....

Reading that book made me realize - not that I didn't know this before - in a very vivid manner that I have had a very interesting life in photography. Like, who would have thought that I would stand in front of an elephant with my arm up to the elbow in her closed mouth, or, having a (different) elephant roll over to vacate its bowels, or, that I would ever learn how to hypnotize a chicken, all in the name of making pictures ... to name just a very few of my who-would-have-thought commercial picture making activities.

Then there was the almost serendipitous manner in which I discovered the medium and somewhat unconventional path I took to learning it. Like, say, my time spent as the personal photographer to a US Army 2-star general.

And, as anyone who has followed The Landscapist over the years knows, I have had much to IMO write about the photography medium and its apparatus. Amongst many, topics ranging from reviews of gallery exhibits / picture books, picture making genres (very opinionated), and other miscellaneous musings about pictures, picture making and a few things technical. My blog is a veritable treasure trove of material waiting to be rummaged through and edited into a cohesive (yet rambling) whole.

The thought which has also been planted (by the wife), writing schtick wise, is that I - like Banks' travels around Scotland - hang the whole thing around my wanderings around The Adirondacks in search of the perfect picture - a travelogue component.

Last, but certainly not least, the book would be illustrated with many of my "perfect" pictures.

So there you have it. To be certain, it's a challenging and time intensive endeavor. However, I won't stop making pictures and I won't stop posting entries (on my about to be launched new-version Squarespace platform).

*A Scottish author. He wrote mainstream fiction under the name Iain Banks and science fiction as Iain M. Banks. In 2008, The Times named Banks in their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945.

Reader Comments (1)

Good luck with the book, Mark, though luck will not be a pre-requisite as your personal outlook and observations are indeed thought provoking enough to sustain you (and benefit me) on your journey to publishing the finished creation.

Sincerest regards, Jim R

July 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJim Roelofs

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