It is a coming together of people, putting aside personal gain to work as a singular unit, realising the risk that may be involved to help people in their time of need.
I’m a lifeboat crew member with the East Sutherland Rescue Association (ESRA) based at Dornoch. We are all volunteers and raise funds independently to provide this lifesaving service. We respond to a variety of challenging emergencies, necessitating a diverse skill-set and we embody people hailing from a wide range of backgrounds.
In the context of my commission, the Spirit of the Highlands is our willingness to put ourselves in harms way to protect others and effect a rescue, should we be tasked with one. It is a coming together of people, putting aside personal gain to work as a singular unit, realising the risk that may be involved to help people in their time of need.
With this, comes a deeper understanding and connection with our environment in the Highlands, our weather, our wind and sea conditions. We are united in our appreciation of these things and we aim to help others experience its magnificence in a safe manner.
I wanted to capture the spirit of our crew and our endeavours by taking wet plate collodion tin type portraits using the traditional method first invented in 1851 by Frederick Scott Archer (who did not patent his invention, or benefit monetarily from it, instead, he gave it freely to the people).
This ethos translates well to ESRA as each individual crew member gives their all for the safety of others, both in the community and those who visit our beautiful waters.
Project Images by Simon Riddell
Wetplate Collodion was the first photographic process to be truly invented and harnessed in the 1800’s. It involves long exposures and capturing a portrait of someone in a combination of silver and light, held on an emulsion of collodion, which is poured onto a piece of glass or tin. The images are incredibly high resolution and will be infallible for centuries when they are varnished.