3-30 March 2014; Harbour Cafe, Tayport
Peter Gregor’s first exhibition of some of his landscape photographs takes you aback with the strength of beauty of the pictures and the sheer quality of the finished prints. A lifelong love of photography and a strong eye for what makes a picture special have come together in this exhibition. In his own words: “I have been taking photographs since my Dad gave me a Kodak Brownie 127 for my birthday when I was 7! Since then I have always taken pictures, of all sorts of subjects and particularly of people and nature. I have taught myself over the years how to use available light to its best advantage, how to process black and white and colour film pictures and how to take and process digital for a variety of purposes.”
Boldly and beautifully mounted, the photos communicate the insignificance of humanity’s efforts and structures, in comparison with the power of nature. Unrestrained by frames, this natural power is emphasised by the large scale prints which reach to the core of the viewer and take your breath away. The quality of the prints is evident, yet understated. A rich depth and range of colours, light and textures runs throughout the exhibition and heightens the beauty of the prints, drawing you in again and again.
The strength of the sea is emphasised in the centrepiece ‘Tayport Pile Light’, where the weathered wooden structure is shown standing defiantly against the elements, as it has for over 170 years, although it stopped acting as a lighthouse in the 1960s. The aging beauty is deeply moving set in a magical scene which captures a sense of time and the overarching strength of nature. The photo draws you in to the detail of the houses beyond and a tiny seagull flying through the sky – human and animal life living and working in a gentle synergy with nature. The power of waves is the main focus of the Scurdie Ness lighthouse picture, where the lighthouse itself stands with a fragile strength in the distance.
The ‘New Moon over the Tay’ gives a wonderful panoramic view of the Tay Bridges at night, with an almost ethereal light rising from the water. The detail of the houses in Dundee and the Tay bridges with the depth of light and colour intensify the sense of humanity working with nature, with the Tay itself as the centrepiece of the picture.
Photographs of the fields around Tayside highlight a love of work on the land with straw bales, some snow covered, standing in a beautifully crafted formation. Some of the photographs of Inverdovat show these set against the architecture of Dundee over the Tay, giving a contrast between human endeavours in both urban and rural settings. The date of December 2010 for two of these also highlights the impermanency of the urban aspect of the photograph, where the landscape has changed considerably over the past four years.
While most of the prints are rectangular in shape and of differing lengths, a study of the Tay Valley from Kinnoull Hill experiments successfully with a large square shape. The power of the river running through the picture reminds us of the power of the water as formed by nature beside the fields and roads next to it which have been built and formed by human endeavour. The hills in the distance and Kinnoull Hill in the foreground seem to be tenderly bringing the elements of this landscape together, with the depth of green showing a healthy symbiosis of the water and the land around it.
I hope this will be the first of many such exhibitions and that these prints can be shared with as many people as possible over many years.