A brief business history

Not long after buying my first camera, a Minolta X300 with a 24-35mm f/3.5 zoom, I had my first photograph published. After that I was hooked!

My story as a photographer is one of continual learning, overcoming setbacks and adapting to new technology. In the heady days of the early 2000’s I was lucky enough to make my living from photographing in Scotland, shooting with my favourite camera of all time, a Mamiya RB67. With my wife, Sarah – the better half of our team, I have also worked in many countries in Europe. Slovenia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Norway, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain to list just some of them.

The arrival of digital on the professional travel photographer’s scene squeezed my income and so too did the financial crisis of 2008. The former I overcame as I embraced new technology, buying, what was then “the best” digital 35mm SLR, the Canon 1Ds and a Flextight/Hasselblad scanner to scan my library of 6x7mm transparencies. Photo agencies tried to adapt to digital, some failed including my best earner at the time, the Edinburgh based Still Moving Picture Company. Around this time Scot-Image was born!

Enduring the crash of 2008 was much harder as publishers budgets were cut, more agencies fell by the wayside, and opportunities diminished. Tough times!

Eventually though, the attractions of digital fell stale and for a quite a while I took no new photos. I was becoming quite automated in my photography, both in what I was taking and how I was taking it. It was a successful process, but that is what it was becoming, a process and it was getting boring. So I took some time out and found other work.

Thinking about my photography I realised that I was missing the manual focusing, manual metering, the knobs and winders of my RB67 – it was mechanical and tactile and satisfying in a way that firing a remote release can never be. But returning to film was just going to be too expensive and impractical in this digital world. And then I discovered the Cambo Actus Mini View Camera!

Liathach and Loch Clair, Torridon, Wester Ross, Scotland. Panoramic.
Liathach and Loch Clair, Torridon, Wester Ross, Scotland. Panoramic.

Cambo Actus

This mini view camera changed everything and gives me the best of both worlds. Using older, manual focus lenses with aperture rings and a Sony mirrorless camera acting as a digital back, I have stepped back in time but still have the digital advantages that I have come to love and need. With the Cambo Actus, I have lots of lens and back movements to play with which enables me to have greater control over perspective and focus. I just love it!

Today, I am not reliant on photography for all my income and probably as a consequence I am enjoying it more than ever.

The Future?

Who knows? I certainly don’t. But photography and Scot-Image will be a big part of it.