Book Review: Out of the Ordinary: A Journey Through Everyday Scotland | Vol. 1 by Iain Sarjeant

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Inverness – 25/10/2011

Book Introduction by Iain Sarjeant:

Much of my photography is spontaneous in nature – I enjoy wandering, exploring, discovering, observing – often in everyday places. It’s a way of working that I find very fulfilling – just drifting and seeing what is round the next corner.

Out Of The Ordinary has developed from this approach, and reflects my interest in people’s relationship and interaction with their environment. The series explores the kind of places that most of us walk or drive past every day, without really noticing – places where the infrastructure of human habitation interacts with the natural environment. These are dynamic landscapes, constantly being altered, and part of the fascination for me is the element of chance involved in the photographs – coming across scenes that may look very different the following week or month.

I try not to have any plan or pre-conceived ideas when exploring. Sometimes I am simply drawn to the play of light and shadow, or colour and form, but often I am looking to create images that have an element of ambiguity, hopefully leaving the viewer with questions. By playing with composition and balancing visual elements, I hope to transform the ordinary and common-place into something interesting and unusual.

The project is ongoing and for me has become a journey through everyday Scotland.

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Macduff, Aberdeenshire – 04/05/2016

Sarjeant’s images of “everyday” Scotland are not ones you might find gracing the pages of glossy travel magazines trying to attract visitors to his country. Rather, these images would be more likely to be found in the galleries of Edinburgh or Glasgow, attracting many people nonetheless. His book, Out of the Ordinary: A Journey Through Everyday Scotland | Vol. 1 was published in the summer of 2016, and quickly sold out. A second printing of 100 copies was done, and a limited number of copies are available hereAn anticipated Volume 2 is in the works for 2017.

His views of his everyday surroundings are largely devoid of people. In the few images that include people, Sarjeant has carefully chosen to include them as elements in the scene to give us either a sense of scale, or mystery and inform the viewer that the spaces are not without use. The collection of images in this project are landscapes where the structures and infrastructures of the people of Scotland are revealed – often with blocks or lines of saturated color that punctuate the scene.

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Hawick, Borders – 03/04/2015
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Balerno, Edinburgh – 17/07/2015
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Dunbeath, Caithness – 21/05/2015

His visual lexicography includes vehicles in all manner of use and function (or disfunction), buildings both commercial and residential, markings on pavement, graffiti, shadows and shipping containers. Sarjeant’s wanderings take him through areas of Scotland that, in his words, “often look very different the following month, day, or even hour.” The decisive moments he choses are ones worth taking in and really looking at.

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Cowdenbeath, Fife – 14/04/2016
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Selkirk, Borders – 19/03/2013
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Lossiemouth, Moray – 01/11/2013

“Ultimately all photography is about light and I am fascinated by how it interacts with the lie of the land, whether in wild places or, as in this project, in man-made places. Light can create interest from the most ordinary of subjects.” Iain Sarjeant

These landscapes, communities, structures, and the geography created by them, reveal what exists beyond the ordinary. The way Sarjeant frames the images to draw our eyes through the scene, the way he juxtaposes forms, shadows, blocks of colors, and even tire tracks in snow covered lots, reveal a Scotland of beautiful repose; places for us to stop, and become drawn into the scenes.


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Iain Sarjeant is the founder and editor of Another Place, and Another Place Press which showcases contemporary landscape photography. He is a member of Documenting Britain, and works as a stock photographer.

For more information, or to view his personal work; please visit:

http://iainsarjeant.tumblr.com/

http://www.iainsarjeant.co.uk/

http://www.iainsarjeant.com/

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