Tanera (Ar Dùthaich) depicts the intricacies of living and working in a tiny rural community. Exploring the continually evolving relationship between people and the landscape in such communities; Tanera takes its name from an island in the Summer Isles archipelago off the west coast of Scotland. The few residents there have forged a thriving business, which not only values the heritage of the landscape itself, but also has an eye on modernity and ecological sustainability. Though it sounds idyllic, managing the island is time consuming, weather-dependent and costly.
Having made this work whilst living and working on the island, my intention was to elaborate on these difficulties, exploring widely held romantic notions about the Scottish landscape, whilst also trying to get under the surface to the vernacular level. The images attempt to show a ‘portrait of place’ through views, details and portraits of the people who contribute to the fabric of the island. I've always been fascinated by the way that humans leave traces and marks evident within the landscape; a calling card of their existence. Over time these traces build-up, layered on top of each-other forming a kind of catalogue of existence like a palimpsest. This becomes particularly evident in smaller, self-contained or continually populated landmasses, such as Tanera Mhor. With this work I wanted to explore both this rich past, as a Viking sanctuary, and a fishing and crofting community, and it's current state and the people who are leaving their traces today. I felt in a privileged position; neither outsider, nor truly local resident- engaged anthropologically but still able to access a degree of objectivity. The intention was to encourage the viewer to reflect on the relationships evidenced and challenge some tropes about rural life.
Firstly thank you for stopping by the page and spending some time with my project. The aim is to produce a stunning photography book of a stunning place, which gives something of a flavour of the area and the contribution people have made to the island.
Combining my images with texts, both from my time on the island, and several perspectives from people who have long associations with Tanera, I hope to give a rich and varied understanding of Tanera as a place. This understanding will ideally be specific to Tanera but draws parallels to other rural areas. It was important to me to try and represent the multiplicity and variety of such communities and, for this project, not to be solely about my own viewpoint, as a half-outsider.
The book is not intended as a complete history of Tanera, nor a catalogue of everyone who has ever lived there or ever contributed to the fabric of the place. With a place like Tanera, periodically inhabited for over 1000 years, such a task would be impossible. It was my intention to create a small but timeless snapshot, focused on the particulars of how the island has been managed for the past 20 or so years. Perhaps also suggestive of other times, or places and of rural living generally.
This Kickstarter is an attempt to realise that goal. Much of the local area’s history and traditions (as with much of the Highlands & Islands) relies on oral traditions and passing knowledge through spoken word, from one generation to the next. As such, much of Tanera’s history remains sketchy, with the exception of the period when Frank Fraser Darling lived and worked on the island during the 1940s. I hope this book will be a modest, but more tangible contribution to the timeline of such an inspiring place.
Thank you again for spending some time with my project. Please feel free to get in touch with any questions you may have, or follow the page to chart the Kickstarter progress. You can also find the project page on Facebook: @taneraproject.
Risks and challenges
There are very few risks associated with this project. The work has all been made, the images are all ready and I have the experience and drive to pull everything together.
I have been part of several other successful Kickstarter campaigns, but as a park of a group or collective:
- Blue Origin - A band I managed who funded their debut album
- Seven Day Suit - A photographic collective who recently funded a successful exhibition at Brighton Photography Biennial 2016.
Support, articles and press for the the Tanera project:
- BBC News in Pictures - Feature
- Document Scotland - Blog & Instagram feature
- Uncertain States Magazine - Article
- Scottish Islands Explorer Magazine - Article
- Edge of Humanity - Blog Feature
- another place - Blog & Instagram feature -
- Loupe Magazine Instagram feature -
- (60 days)