Douglas MacBride is a professional photographer. He lives in Killin , West Perthshire. His work involves commissions for advertisements and commercial work, for promotions of all sorts.
But, between assignments, Douglas has quietly developed a hitherto hidden talent for spotting the obscure, the unlikely, the mysterious and the beautiful in the hills and valleys and glens around his home.
To Douglas, a puddle can transform itself , with a bubble on its surface, into a strange and interesting observant eye. Or a tree, the match of its neighbours, can detach and become a fierce ( or comforting, depending on the viewer) bird winging its way toward the camera.
“For years I have worked taking photographs as my job. Much of the work was purely functional, featuring items in shots for publication. Much of it involved portraying people, particularly in the theatre and the arts,” he said.
“Then, a few years ago, I had a double bereavement. My mother and father died unexpectedly and within a very short time of each other. I found it difficult to cope, and would wander by myself in the hills above Killin. Gradually I would be aware of forms and patterns in the grasses, the trees, the ponds, and how they differed, but to an extent remained the same in summer, in rain, in ice and in snow.”
“I decided to try to record these, getting beneath, behind and beyond the actual objects I was photographing.”
Some are sinister and sad, but reflect Douglas’ view of the continuity of things past, present and in the future. He calls the collection of almost sixty images “Archaeology” to reflect delving into things in places where they have been in one form or another for weeks or months or years or decades. Fallen trees, an animal track on the ice, long discarded antlers or a sheep’s skull, the reflection in a puddle – all are transformed through his lens into timeless images which bring the viewer to deeper thoughts on what till then were the ordinary things never seeming worthy of a second glance.
Douglas studied photography at Napier College. He was born in Shettleston in the east end of Glasgow in 1956 in the same house where his father and his grandfather were born. The family farmed there for generations before the area was taken over and built on with council housing by the former Glasgow Corporation. He has had exhibitions of his theatre work at the Edinburgh Festival in 2004 and a major show of his imaginative images in France last year sponsored by the French Ministry of Culture. In 1993 one of his works was voted the Best Illustrative Still Life in the World by the Art Editors Guild in New York. Several silver and bronze awards followed from the same prestigious body. His advertising work has been shown in New York, London, Perth in Australian and in Singapore.
Archaeology: The photography of Douglas MacBride will be on show, 11 am – 5 pm, Monday to Saturday until 28th August.