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"Seen It All Before......" - Third and Final Journal In the Series

The past two Journals in the this series of mine have been amazingly insightful for me. It’s been a wee journey in itself.

This final installment is really summing up what I feel about my work and why I do it – also giving a insight to why I laughed at the phrase “Seen It All Before…..”

When I started out, I was lucky to have two things in my locker to build my photography on: amazingly inspiring scenery around me and a true love of the land. Then I met an truly talented photographer on my early travels.

Let me tell you what I know of him (and also to answer a wee question that Adam asked in the first journal).

He never published anything. He never showed his work. He didn’t particularly like the whole photography scene that he percieved that had/has grown around the medium. He just loved what he did and I can always remember the contentment of his aged face as he looked out of a scene. His love of the land was apparent to a point where it was achingly so. He would see things that most would miss – the way the clouds moved, the way light kissed a hillside, the way a tree would shelter a water trough with an amazing backdrop, ……the list could go on.

For the few times that I had met him, he imparted some incredible insights and advice to me. He did despair at times at my love of B&W as he was under the impression that I wasn’t being “true to the view”. It always made me laugh (a wee insight to my reaction).

One thing that he did say and underpins everything that I do, even now, is the following statement:

“Capture what made you you stop and look.”

He always maintained that if a view (or anthing when it comes to it) made you just stop and look, there must a picture there – it just up to you to capture the essence as well.

Unfortunately, he passed away not long after our wee trips out here and there.

His legacy left a huge imprint on me and my work. “And how so?” you may ask.

I never plan a trip anymore. Madness? Maybe but it is my way. I tend to follow what I’m in the mood for and from there, where the impulse lets me go. I find this works for me as then everything is a surprise rather than contrived or staged or otherwise. It has often been said that I’m like a child with wide-eyes when I’m in the land and I often see the wee things that spark my interest through to passion. It is something that I will never tire of – I only wish I could attain that contentment that my friend had.

So why B&W then? For me, it is a more expressive way of sharing the view. It tends to be what I see and what I interpret from the “view”. Every sense, every element, and every ounce of me is there to be shown.

An example:

This is very iconic for me (as I have written before in an earlier journal) and I can sort of relate to this lone Scots Pine in many ways. For this, it derserves to be centre stage.
The tones and contrasts set the scene. Even though the clouds and surrounding Munros look foreboding, “Majestic” still stands proud and shines out for all to see. It is almost a beacon and keeps drawing me back time and time again.
Something that a colour version couldn’t translate for me.

Another one then:

When I looked at this scene, I was incredilbly touched and overwhelmed at all the elements that were converging together. Even though I’m quite an Aquaphobe, I do seem to be compelled to be beside the sea or ocean for some reason, especially the west coast. I think this makes scenes like this even more powerful for me.
The rain was being blown in from the sea up the Firth Of Clyde towards Glasgow and from my vantage point at Dunoon, it drifted in like veil over the land – diffusing the spring light through and under the cloud.
This one wee sea beacon caught my eye. It seemed to look longingly at the tall stack of the power station across the waters, which then appeared to grow more distant as it’s outline softened through the lazy rains. For me, it was quite sentimental – a wee love story if you wish.
Hence the title, “Poles Apart”.

B&W’s will always be the medium for me. It gives me expression, it gives me art and it gives me such pure contentment to share the view – my view.

So I ask the question again: “Seen It All Before”? That is why I laughed.

So ends my wee series of journals. I hope you’ve enjoyed the wee journey (hence it is where the word “Journal” comes from!)



  • artwhiz47
    artwhiz47over 3 years ago

    Well, this third & final entry is a journey to delight in in itself. Your friend’s admonition to ‘capture what made you stop & look’ nails it nicely, & I would add (for no particular reason), if you find yourself overthinking what made you stop & look, move on! This happens to large numbers of people in my experience. It’s either there or it isn’t.
    Well done; it’s been a pleasure to participate! And oh, yes; I’ve heard it all before…. No, wait; that was something else altogether.

  • Hi Sheila,

    Glad you liked this one and the series – it was really my pleasure and I should be thanking you for your contribution!
    I’m quite a simple guy so overthinking would be quite tiring so nae chance there :)
    It’s been a great wee journey. Thanks for coming along.

    – Kevin Skinner

  • EvaAn68
    EvaAn68over 3 years ago

    “Capture what made you stop and look.” Happens to me all the time and often (um… most of the time) fail badly to capture what I see… lol
    Was a good read… made me think about a few things…
    I do love how you explain what you see and captured… wish I was at least half that good at it lol
    And those two photos… made me sigh and just sit and look at them the first time… they still do… most of your photos do… you’re so good at capture a feeling it’s amazing… and it goes straight into the heart… : )

  • Hey Eva,

    Sometimes I wonder what you see in some of my images at times to make you feel so. Don’t get me wrong, I glad that someone does appreciate them like this as it is really what most folk want when they send out the work into the ether of the internet.
    As for explaining, I just relay how it is as far as I see things. Simples.
    Glad you’ve enjoyed my wee series and thanks for taking part. Hope you’ve gotten something from them!

    – Kevin Skinner

  • Adam Bykowski
    Adam Bykowskiover 3 years ago

    Geez Kevin, this must really be eating you up lol. A third journal on the same question. THAT I have not seen before ha ha.

    I think you know all the answers, but are unsure of them. I have seen trees, waterfalls, water, mountains, hills and skies before over and over and over. So why is it that when I view a beautiful landscape that has one or more of those things in it, that sometimes I am still in awe, still amazed, and still cannot seem to get enough of it. The special ones are all over Redbubble and they make me shake my head in amazement every time. Why is that. Am I just weird. Answer: Yes, but that is not why.
    It is because even though many have traveled into that same spot on a different day, they have never seen those weather conditions, or the light hit the clouds or the trees in that way. There may be an image of that place that is familiar, but that image does not manage to touch the beautiful one in terms of special light and the 8 × 12 crop of the camera’s eye. It is how the photographer cuts that piece of pie in the sky and bring it down to earth, so to speak. And let’s face it, for many of us, there are so many places that we have never seen on this earth, that yes, it is all brand new to us.
    When that guy said “I’ve seen it all before”; that was harsh, but a wake up call. He may not have seen your best at that time and what you showed him may be images that did not capture that special pie in the sky that moved him.
    Which brings me to my dire plead for artists to share information and understand that we all have different things that move us and all have variations in taste. Your teacher may be starving for something digitally created or so unique that it does not fit the standard landscape image. The mind can get tired of seeing similarity and beg for something so unique that it does not care if it is beautiful and fits the rule of thirds and the classic style. Maybe he was tired of looking at Scotland’s landscape. Maybe you need to travel to another land for a short one day stint just to get out of your way of thinking and test yourself. Not that you don’t do that now. I really don’t know your travel habits and thoughts on that, but my point is to ask yourself, “Am I in a rut and do I need a change of scenery.” That sounds hurtful to a man that loves his land so much that it almost ruins the whole idea of your photography. I know. It is just a thought.
    Lastly, I totally agree with you on the “capture what made you stop and look” theory. I ran into a photographer in the field one day and he said the very same thing. He said that when you are walking around and you suddenly spot something that makes you say “Oooh”, that is the time to take the shot. I do that to this day. I still try different angles and heights with my tripod, but usually find out the “stop and oooh” shot was the best one of the bunch.
    The fact that your are questioning the comment and your whole outlook is healthy towards your work in my opinion. Keep up the great work Kevin.

  • Hey Adam,

    No, it’s not eating me up at all – merely curious about what others think about the Landscape Photography thing.
    I think he really hadn’t seen my most recent works (over the past two years or so) as my personal website hasn’t been updated for a good while – actually working the sixth incarnation which is going to revealed soon (I know, I know – never happy!).
    I have tried other places but I don’t feel the empathy like I do with the Scottish treasures. I went on holiday to the Lake District in Englandshire and came back with very little in terms of images. It is a beautiful part of the world but it wasn’t Scotland. Difficult to explain the feeling – even to myself!
    In some ways, I don’t feel I am in a rut or anything but I do wonder what else is there or can I see new things? It’s like I’m always searching – for what I don’t know that either.
    Thanks for the coming along on this wee journey and giving me some words of wisdom. Always appreciated!

    – Kevin Skinner

  • EvaAn68
    EvaAn68over 3 years ago

    Oh I don’t know myself… all I know is how I feel viewing them…

  • Karl Williams
    Karl Williamsabout 3 years ago

    “Capture what made you you stop and look.” .. I’ve not heard that one before, but it’s bloody good advice! Perhaps I do that subconsciously already .. but from now on it’ll be consciously!

  • Hey Karl,

    Great to hear from you! Yep, it’s something that I’m always thinking about with the camera in my hand. If you’ve stopped to look, the picture is there – just have to frame it properly :)

    – Kevin Skinner