The Herring Trail was commissioned by North Light, based on the poem The Herrin’ Trail by Rita Bradd as part of my summer residency at McArthur’s Store in Dunbar. I spent 3 months there over the summer, working with the fishermen using wet plate collodion (a photographic process from 1851), 120 film and shooting with 8mm and 16mm. This film has scant relation to that, as I’ve used film given to me by the British Council, which is deliberately digitally extrapolated.
To be able to find such a wonderful poet in Rita was inspiring and I asked her to compose for the filmpoem on the Clarsach (or Lever Harp, if you’re not in Scotland) and I read the poem so that she might play. We premiered this at Sally Evan’s Callander poetry weekend in early September 2012 to a full house, with Rita playing live while i read over the film. Lovely to read in my native Scots, though not quite in my natural Galloway Irish/ Ulster Scots brogue!
Alastair works predominantly with lens-based media as an analogue photographer concentrating on antique technologies and as a filmmaker using 8mm and 16mm film, combining these with digital technology to great effect. His award winning film and photography is driven by his knowledge, skill and experience as an architect: this mercurial work is rooted in place and the intrinsic connections between people, land and the sea. Alastair trained at the Glasgow School of Art then fled the country, returning after a dutiful spell in London and a more relaxed time in Amsterdam; he now lives and works in Edinburgh.
(Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find a good webpage for Rita Bradd.)