Aberfeldy’s Watermill Gallery is hosting a second solo exhibition of new work by award-winning photographer James Millar, who works between Leicestershire and Highland Perthshire. The Gallery has followed James’ career, having stocked his 2016 book A Winter Journey: Aberfeldy, Kenmore and Glen Lyon in Photographs in its bookshop following his solo show that year. Representing nearly five years documenting this corner of Highland Perthshire, this show comprises forty digital and tintype photographs of the lochs, hills, townscapes and people that characterise this rich, creative area of Scotland.
James’ 25-year career has seen his work published internationally, with four books to his credit as well as a nomination for the 2021 Scottish Portrait Photographer of the Year for his tintype image of singer-songwriter Foy Vance. He says, ‘I’m fascinated with how the landscape shapes the people who inhabit it, and the passing of the changing seasons in this timeless and wild place. I’ve been coming to Perthshire my whole life, and, having spent 40 years taking pictures for newspapers, magazines, clients and just for the joy of it, being drawn to the left-field, the slightly strange, is what excites me. The camera has been the way I make sense of the world.’
He is one of only a handful of practitioners in the UK of the photographic technique of tintype, which throws up “maker’s mark” accidental artefacts and through its unpredictable nature can be seen as a less literal form of photography, and closer to painting. The photo needs to be coated, sensitised, exposed and developed within 15 minutes, requiring a portable dark room; the tintypes in this collection are rendered in pure silver, making an exposure on a large-format camera and developed while the plate is wet, resulting in a unique image that cannot be replicated.
The Gallery is holding two special longer-than-usual all-day free openings 21st and 22nd Jan to help ensure the gallery will not be too crowded at one time. The Watermill’s resident curator Zanna Wilson will host on Friday, with James himself hosting on Saturday, offering an opportunity to find out more about him and the processes. Light refreshments will be served on both days.