Entry Title: "Winter sun over Glen Etive"
Name: Damian Shields , United Kingdom
Category and Expertise: Landscape, Non-Professional


Entry Description: This was one of those rare situations where conditions I had always imagined as the perfect compliment to a landscape came together before me. During the summer months the sun dips over the back of Buachaille Etive Mor much further to the right and I had always visualised the ball of the winter sun would be ideally cradled in the scoop of Glen Etive to the left. Stob Dearg was looking fierce with its winter coat and the biblical cloud formations set the perfect tone for the sun's burning light.

About the Artist:

I was born in Toronto, Canada, on July 1 1970 and moved to Scotland when I was about three years old. The earliest influences on my artistic development were my father and late grandfather. My Liverpudlian father Dennis, a practising artist (like his father before him), had taught in higher education since graduating in sculpture from Ontario School of Art in the early 1970s. On my mother’s side, my Grandfather Silvio Rossi was also an established painter and teacher. Being exposed to impressionism, abstract expressionism and sculpture in their work gave me an early grounding in the importance of form, line, composition and emotional response to the environment without and within. Initially more at home with charcoal and oil paint, I began exploring the creative possibilities of photography in my mid- twenties. I acquired my first film camera (a cheap Miranda 35mm SLR) in 1992 and, during a portfolio presentation course at Strathclyde Arts Centre, became involved in darkroom processing and printing black-and-white film. This sparked the beginnings of a love affair with the medium which subsequently gained me acceptance to the Fine Art Photography department of the Glasgow School of Art, then headed by the renowned landscape photographer Thomas Joshua Cooper. When I was younger I loved to explore on foot or by bike the many country back roads that surrounded the town in central Scotland where I grew up, with each wander I explored a little bit more of my boundaries. There was something in these early travels that opened up a deep love for the landscape and instilled a sense of adventure and wonder at the natural world. The need to remove myself from familiar environments, contrasty escapes from the gritty urban streets and towns of my youth would be fodder for my Imagination. The views north from my hometown of the distant hills always intrigued me. I used to spend a lot of time imagining what vista and adventure lay waiting beyond. Apart from my family the movies I watched as an impressionable child were the main early influences upon my visual imagination, the sprawling American landscapes of the frontier depicted in epic westerns, utopian cityscapes of the future and fantastic voyages through mythical legend. Landscape became a visual metaphor for human emotion and aspiration that taught me that the landscapes of the mind had as much to bear upon my life as the physical landscape before me. Today my need to engage with this visual language has become like a hunger to me. Landscape photography is my nourishment. I love big weather, ever in abundance the further north of Scotland you travel. Standing in fast changing conditions witnessing the drama of nature’s theatre fills me to the brim. Anticipation and excitement accompanies forays into the wild, the majesty of venerable mountains looming large over ancient moors, the clamour and rush of a river in spate rampaging its way through moist glens, the sun dappling the scene with shafts of silver light through the breaks in an ever-changing sea of cloud. This is where I am happiest. The image I will produce of a scene is my attempt to convey and elucidate these emotions and resonances through the photograph into the viewers’ subconscious hopefully stirring up even a fraction of my experience.