Honoured that both my photo book The Old Kasbah of Illigh and The House of Illigh, a publication compiled by Bert Hogervorst, are to be included in the library of…
Delighted that my book, The Old Kasbah of Illigh; Photography by Annie Wright, has just been published by Maison de la Photographie de Marrakech & Cultural Heritage Publications. Located on…
I'm delighted to have been chosen as a member of the visual arts club Arti et Amicitiae. The name means art and friendship, which neatly encompasses the flavour of the…
When I first heard of the blue world of Chefchaouen in Northern Morocco, I wondered whether the buildings had been painted that colour as a gimmick to attract tourists. But the truth is far more interesting. After the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492, some of them settled in Chefchaouen. They brought the colour with them because, in Judaism, it represents the colour of the divine and the sky: the celestial. And although most of the Jewish community in Morocco left for Israel in the late 1950s and ’60s, Chefchaouen remains true blue to this very day.
Photographing this environment was an intensely spiritual experience and I felt like I was floating in an infinite blueness, a world without end. I also found myself thinking about the two artists who shared this azure obsession. The first is Yves Klein (1928-1962) who developed and patented International Klein Blue: a dark and saturated shade found throughout Chefchaouen although I suspect this has nothing to do with Klein’s influence.
The second artist is Derek Jarman (1942-1994) who, along with me, was one of the participants in “Coming Out, Sexuality, Gender & Identity”, a recent exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool and Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery. He first wanted to make a blue film in 1974 because he was inspired by both International Klein Blue and Yves Klein’s desire to transcend reality so as to reach an immaterial, mystical beyond. Jarman was also a mystical artist and often used religious imagery of tormented beauty and heroic suffering to represent aspects of homosexual identity. Diagnosed with HIV in 1986, he returned to his idea of a blue film idea once he started losing his eyesight and medication caused him to see the world through a dense blue filter. “Blue” was completed in 1993 and Derek Jarman died the following year of AIDS-related complications.
Tempus fugit memento mori – time flies, remember death – is a sentiment found in every historic, Scottish graveyard through graphic renditions of skulls and crossbones. In fact, you could be forgiven for thinking that here lies the remains of pirates. This photo shows an example of this, a 17th century gravestone located at St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall, Orkney. (more…)
A crown, the enticing offer of the Kingdom of Heaven adorning a 17th century tomb at St Magnus Cathedral on Orkney. What I particularly like about this is the tomb’s three dimensional realism where the extended arm neatly balances the crown on its dainty finger tips. Naturally there is a Christian message here, which aims to cajole the viewer into sticking to the straight and narrow rather than succumbing to devilish delights.
St. Magnus Cathedral – the red cathedral – dominates the skyline of Kirkwall, the largest town of Orkney, a group of islands off the north coast of mainland Scotland. It is also the most northerly cathedral in Britain, a fine example of Romanesque architecture built for bishops when the islands were ruled by the Norse Earls of Orkney. It is owned not by the church, but by the burgh of Kirkwall as a result of an act of King James III of Scotland following Orkney’s annexation by the Scottish Crown in 1468. It has also its own dungeon, presumably for those indulging in sinful practices. (more…)
Fisherman’s hut and nousts at Skibo Geo. Location: Birsay, Mainland, Orkney (Scotland).
Skiba Geo has been in use since Viking times. It is a sheltered beach allowing easy access for landing fishing boats. In the winter, the boats were pulled up to the nousts at the top of the beach for protection. Moreover, the 19th century fisherman’s hut next to the nousts provided a safe space for storing equipment.
Ultimately, the site fell into disrepair through lack of use in the 1960s. However, it was renovated by the pupils, friends and parents of Class Six of Dounby Primary School in 1989
Inside the Broch of Gurness is an elegantly curved staircase dating from somewhere between 500 BC and 100 AD. People lived here and fought off attacks on the remote island of Mainland (Orkney), where the known world mainly comprised Norway to the north and Scotland and England to the south. (more…)
Vital details for the reconstruction of Palmyra are contained in every photo taken before the ancient city’s destruction by ISIS in 2015. For that reason, I’ve contributed a number of photographs to a collection set up by France’s National Museum of Archeology. Very proud to play a small role in the restoration process. This collection is also part of Souvenirs Sites Éternels, an exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris. (more…)