Peter Cattrell, Highlands and Lowlands, 2002-2003

Series of 16 specially commissioned silver gelatin prints

Peter Cattrell (b. 1959 Glasgow) Lives and works in London

Peter Cattrell was commissioned by the Parliament to produce new works for the Collection. For this commission, he photographed many locations across Scotland, taking an almost investigative approach to the subject of the landscape, choosing locations that held personal meaning for him as well as being well-known for their historical assocation. Many of the images, while being recognisable as aspects of our natural surroundings and of areas where humanity has intervened in the environment, veer towards abstraction. 

"The locations I chose for this commission have historical or personal association. I have a fondness for Scots words that describe points such as rig, muir, scar, knowe, moor, brae, shiels, and law, that suggest a distinctiveness of place and language."  Peter Cattrell


Sand Patterns at Low Tide, Findhorn Estuary, Moray, 2003
"This evening light emphasises the pattern in the sand at low tide. The empty spaces of the sands are a place of solitude for walkers, or contemplation for those at the 'Findhorn Community' on retreats."

Marker Posts, Findhorn Estuary, Moray, 2003
"At low tide these marker posts reflect in the pools, while at high tide they are invaluable navigation aides. The vertical posts divide the otherwise horizontal lines of the coast and stand out like sculpture defining space. This marks the entry to Findhorn Bay which is a large protective harbour for leisure and fishing boats. The River Findhorn has a long journey from its source in the Monadhliath Mountains to the estuary in the North Sea by the scenic Findhorn fishing village."

Coastline at Burghhead Bay, Findhorn, Moray, 2003
"This striking coastline is by the North Sea, and has the mountains of Easter Ross in the background. This photograph was taken in early morning sun to emphasise the diagonal lines with shadows. The nearby RAF base of Kinloss can disturb the tranquility with aircraft noise, and there are concrete blocks to protect the coast from invasion dating back to World War 2."

Sand Dune, Lossiemouth, Moray, 2003
"This detail is from one of the huge sand dunes that protect the estuary of the River Lossie from the North Sea. Nearby are rows of old fisherman's cottages, in one of which was born the first Labour Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald."

Fenced in Gulley, Moorfoot Hills, 2003
"On the hillside of a river valley in the Moorfoots is this plantation of fir trees, which surrounds a burn in a gulley causing erosion. Sheep may have been falling into the gully, but the farmer has fenced it off and taken a grant to plant firs. I have photographed this scene over eighteen years and watched the tree growth. The plantation only stands out from the hillside under snow in winter. There is a sense of ambiguity in the perspective of the photograph, as the shape floats in the white background."

Stubble in Snow, Roslin Glen, Midlothian, 2003
"The fields in the farmland near Roslin Glen are at steep angles as they fall towards the gorge. The stubble in winter is stark and textural, emphasised by the snow. The land is rich and undulating, interesting but undramatic, formed by the agricultural revolution, and the rotations of land use. It is very typical of the lowlands of Scotland and has a quiet, but inherent beauty."

Shape on Hillside, Moorfoot Hills, 2003
"I like the shapes and textures created by the snow, and the ambiguity of space and shape. This abstraction is on a hillside in a river valley in the Moorfoot Hills. These glacial valleys have steep sides and are incised by meandering rivers."

Wall in Snow, Moorfoot Hills, 2003
"The Moorfoot Hills are a natural barrier between the farmland of the Lothians and the Border region. They are rounded hills with sheep farming and forestry plantations, and under snow in winter are very graphic, the stone walls describing the fields and contours."

Artist Biography

Peter Cattrell studied at St Andrews University from 1977-8. He then studied photography at The London College of Printing from 1979-82. Many of his works explore his interest in humanity’s impact on our surrounding landscapes. He has exhibited in Britain and the United States.

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