While browsing the college library the other day I found a book called ‘Isolate’ by an artist/photographer I have never heard of before – Calum Angus Mackay. Its a thin book and the pictures really drew me in, the style of work is very unfashionable at the moment: monochrome, elusive, beautifully subjective and almost hauntingly poetic. I don’t know a great deal about Mackay but from what the book tells me he works as a crofter and makes his photographs in the farm buildings (often freezing his subject matter in ice before making his wonderful pictures). The pictures shown here are the ones I found on the internet, where Mackay is woefully difficult to find. This underlines the beauty of looking through libraries over searching on the internet, you can stumble over rare, overlooked gems.
In the essay by Ray McKenzie that accompanies the photographs in ‘Isolate’ is a lovely line that captures the possibilities of the photograph:
‘So often thought of as a means of duplicating what is objectively and factually there, the real art of photography lies in its power to transform fact into metaphor, material reality into poetic meaning’