These images are the visual journey of a road trip I did through Scotland at the start of this year following the sudden death of my Grandmother, born near Glasgow in 1920.
I decided to set off with my partner, my 35mm analogue Nikon camera and enough film for a lifetime to capture the Scottish landscape over the course of two weeks in the height of European winter. I departed with the aim to uncover a history unseen – my personal family history. Allowing the possibility of getting lost in foreign land, I came to be enlightened.
Having come from a family of terrific storytellers, I grew up with a plethora of memories recreated for me from an early age. Memories of my Grandmother’s heartache and trauma associated with leaving behind her home country, never to be seen again. Memories of my Grandmother leaving her family for a future with a man barely known, memories of a strenuous voyage across the Atlantic Ocean and Southern seas to a country whose colonial history was new and unsettled.
I always recognized the pain those early memories of abandonment inflicted; the sadness induced when my Grandmother was asked for more information about her past – my past.
Based on the lack of information I could gather from my Grandmother personally, I ascertained I would have to experience her native home for myself. Following her abrupt death, I felt an immense sense of duty to uncover this foreign side to my heritage that I had failed to truly acknowledge in the past.
Trekking across the Highlands and Isle of Skye, I was shocked by the tranquillity of the surroundings – everything was still, silent and intrinsically romantic. Besides the occasional cottage placed on a hill or abandoned petrol station, there was hardly any civilization in sight. This sense of silence allowed me to stop and think, take in my environment in its full capacity and envision my family occupying this serene land.
When we originally set out it felt like we were the “blind leading the blind“. I had no real sense of purpose or place besides the roughest idea of locations I felt I needed to visit. Allowing myself the possibility to get lost in foreign land, I found the true nature of what I was seeking and trying to understand – the nostalgia of a past left behind for an unknown beginning.