Participant portfolio

Jill Jennings

Jill Jennings is a professional photographer based in the north west of England. She joined us on the course as she wanted to get away and work on something creative which was not rooted in her commercial practice. Over the two days, she produced this lyrical and poetic piece. Here she explains the thinking and inspiration behind the work.


“Driving south from Oban I reach the coast, nothing in the weather up until now had prepared me for the wildness of the waves  pounding into the shoreline fuelled by the wind and scrawling showers.  I stopped the car, on the horizon an island lay with its point out to sea, – it must be Easdale.  I took my first photo though the rain splattered windscreen. It seemed like a huge leap of faith that I was to spend the next three days in such a place.

A day later and I’m looking from shore towards Mull and the mainland.  The crashing waves and wind are unrelenting, signs of erosion all around, e.g.  the the pier that was washed away, the slate mines that were flooded and stopped production 100+ years ago leading to the decline of the industry that once thrived on this tiny island.

Meanwhile the slate lays everywhere, black, glistening and forboding.  There are symbols everywhere you look – triangles, abandoned roofs, quarries, angles, corners, warning signs, there’s human traces, and nature reclaiming an industrial past .  There are whitewashed cottages, islanders going about their everyday and even sunshine.

Something magical about being on the island liberates my mind from everyday stresses and routines and I’m  free to create. I’m encouraged though the structure of the course to find visual narratives.  So I wander in this landscape open to interpretation and respond to it according to how I feel inside, thinking in part of my sons’ leaving home to pursue their lives and how that will impact, but also aware of the power of nature – am I looking out or looking in?

On the last day we are asked to make a slide presentation.  I call it Power Surge.

I find a poem in the Island Museum called Aftermath written by Wendy Blakey, an islander, about the ending of a storm, and read this out along with my work. ”

Aftermath by Wendy Blakey

“The silence
was unnerving, after the
of the last
three days.
And instead of
the day long gloom
the incandescent new light
washed gloriously over the rocks
some pink,
some blue of green,
no more dark grey
The storm was over.”

All images © Jill Jennings, 2019 all rights reserved.