This is the second post in a weekly series highlighting images featuring at the upcoming St Andrews Photography Festival ,1 August – 11 September 2016. You can read the first in the series here.
Hamish Brown, mountaineer and explorer, is one of the photographers featured in the St Andrews Photography Festival. Only a small sample of his amazing images from Morocco (only one of the many countries and places that he has visited) will be displayed in the Martyrs Kirk venue. Amongst the images chosen is one that I feel captures the style and philosophy of Dr Brown’s photographs –”Granny making couscous, Tagmout.”
In this photograph he has managed to capture a relaxed and natural image of an everyday life in a village deep in the Atlas Mountains. In an open-sided lean-to an older woman sits on a low stool and prepares large bowls of couscous for the main meal. She uses a simple clay stove and a soot-blackened pot to cook the couscous and Dr Brown has caught the moment she turns to talk to a person off camera. The scene has not been staged but the keen eye of the photographer has set his camera and composed his image to give a view that pulls the viewer into the scene – the eye being led past the couscous bowls to the fire and stove and then across and up to the face to the cook. He has then waited and caught the moment when she looks off camera and this movement of hers then draws the onlooker out of the photograph and back to themselves. A picture full of life and movement and yet showing a typical everyday scene.
This flow of movement in a picture is typical of most of Dr Brown’s images, as can be seen in other images displayed in the exhibition. What is also visible, in this picture, is Dr Brown’s ability to capture that instant when the subjects are relaxed and not “acting” or frozen for the camera that is about to take a photograph.
This exhibition of Dr Brown’s work shows how through his photography he has been able to capture a way of living that is beginning to disappear and he has done this not only for Morocco but also where ever he has been fortunate enough to travel.
Hamish Brown will be giving a talk about Moroccan Photography on 11 Aug 17.30 in the Napier Reading Room, Richardson Research Library at Martyrs Kirk, as part of the St Andrews Photography Festival, in conjunction with MUSA. You can see further examples of his Moroccan photography below, some of which will be on display at the talk.
Research Cataloguer and Database Administrator