John MacPherson Photography

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I was born on the Scottish west coast, and although I have travelled extensively have always returned to the Highlands. I have been involved in professional photography for over thirty years, and continue to learn. My working life started as a welder in Yarrow Shipbuilders in Glasgow where I worked for a year but decided I didn't like it, then completed an apprenticeship as a carpenter in the Highlands. I worked in the building trade for several years then went into Social Work, and qualified as a Social Worker, in Disability Services. I have been fortunate to negotiate part-time working throughout most of this to enable me to pursue a parallel career as a professional photographer.

Along the way I have bicycled across the USA, motorcycled through significant parts of North America, learned (and have taught) stained glass window design and manufacture, trained as a disabled ski instructor and Alpine Ski Leader, been shot at, held captive by a dog's hairdresser (male) in a mobile home in Texas, subdued a knife-wielding but very stupid man, narrowly escaped a tornado, been rammed by a basking shark, bitten by a wild otter, caught in an erupting volcano, avalanched, and hit by lightning, amongst other things. The worst thing I've experienced was being stuck in a house (in Sweden) for two weeks in appalling weather with only a book of Jeffrey Archer short stories to read - an utterly hellish affair I would not ever care to repeat (Sweden is lovely though!).

Through all of this I have carried a camera and used it to record all that I encountered and slowly began the process of becoming a professional photographer. I am self-taught and have learned by trial and error and no small amount of hard work. Blessed with an insatiable curiosity and desire to learn I have pursued various disciplines within the craft of image-making but feel most comfortable working in the outdoors, with people and their natural environment.

Committed to teaching the craft of photography, I have a strong belief in the value of this creative activity both as a motivating force and as an educational tool. I have devised a variety of community photographic projects, in both Social Work and the wider community, on behalf of organizations such as SNH and Community Education, as well as with clients of Social Work Disability Services. I've led tuitional workshops for more than 15 years for a range of organizations and regularly teach night classes in photography.

I am passionate about the viability of small communities in rural Scotland and recent work has concentrated on the inshore fishing industry on the west coast, focusing on people and the issues affecting them and the landscape in which they work. As a west coast native, with grandparents from Mull and Arisaig, and some Spanish blood from the Armada thrown into the mix, I am familiar with the peculiar political situation in the Highlands and Islands, and this informs my work to a considerable degree.