Ceannan-tailen (pronounced Kintallen) is small bay on the West Coast of Scotland near to the mouth of West Loch Tarbert. The bay is exposed to the Sound of Jura and the prevailing westerly winds. The sand in the bay is continually shifting such that each year when I returned it always seemed different. I liked to spend much time on this shore observing the tidal world and the photographic pieces here are a result of ideas developed on this beach.
It was never my intention to make any permanent sculpture which I feel would have been too much of an imposition on this beautiful sandy bay, but to use photography to record my arrangements of objects. I used the beach rather like a studio except that because everything is done between the tides no traces remain of my activities. I used the mirror in my work because it is only just visible, and reflects a small section of it’s environment. The image of the rectangular mirror is also fitting for the end product - the photographic image. The mirror’s shadows and reflections photographed at different times of day and at different states of the tide give an impression of the rhythm of the beach. I am fascinated by the sea shore and the creatures that have adapted to live with the rhythm of the tides.
Placing mirror structures in specific landscape situations and observing the movement of their shadows and reflections on the ground creates an awareness of the movement of the earth in relation to the sun and the seasonal changes. These natural rhythms and cycles of change were studied by our megalithic ancestors; the construction of stone circles and alignments enabled them to determine the motions of the celestial bodies and gain insights into their complex configurations. They were able to understand the changing declinations of the sun and moon and thereby the progress of the seasons and the movements of the tides. If today we could be conscious of these natural rhythms and changes we might restore our diminished sense of unity with nature.
Click each image here for an enlarged view.