Sophie Gerrard is an award winning Scottish documentary photographer. Recently I went to an exhibition of her work- Drawn to The Land- in Lacock, Wiltshire and was captivated by the beauty and exploration of the photographs.
The exhibition blurb:
‘Drawn To The Land is an ongoing and exploratory project which takes an intimate look at the contemporary Scottish landscape through the eyes of the women who are working, forming and shaping it. Working and living in a male dominated world, women have a significant yet under represent. More often than not, that perspective is a male one, I was curious to understand it from a female view point. Female farmers are underrepresented in the UK, and yet, according to the Office of National Statistics the number of women in farming has increased by almost 25% in the last 10 years. Drawn To The Land has become a long term ongoing contemporary “portrait” of a number of female farmers in Scotland who shape and are shaped by their landscape.
Sybil, Mary, Sarah, Minty, Patricia and Lorraine are 6 remarkable women, each of them hill farmers taking responsibility for remote and diverse parts of the Scottish landscape. They have their own stories, but all talk of being custodians, not landowners. They demonstrate a great empathy with the livestock they have responsibility for and above all else, they talk of being drawn to hill, drawn to the land, and often of being unable to imagine themselves doing anything else.
“Drawn To The Land” documents an emotional response to the subject of landscape. Each of these womens’ stories reflects a wider story of our national identity, and relationship with our landscape.’ – Sophie Gerrard’s website- 2016
The prints were very beautiful and once you read what the exhibition was about, you could see a clear representation of this in the photographs, they are very detailed in showing female farmers of Scotland. However, way the work was displayed did not do the prints justice, as the lighting was reflecting off the glass casing and the glass of the prints at an awkward angle the someone my height – this made looking at the prints difficult as I could not see the details within them.
This is a very interesting subject, and showed the harsh reality of being a farmer in Scotland, how bleak, empty and lonely job is.
Images are very respectful of the subjects; they show the details of the lives of these farmers, portray the dedication and hard work put into their livelihoods. The photographs are well composed, Gerrard has use a variety of techniques to keep the viewer interested, for example the depth of field and vantage point of very important to produces images, as it helps us -the viewer- to isolate and understand what Gerrard wants to convey.
More information about Sophie Gerrard, her images and her work can be found on her website: