View what a picture … what a series of photographs!

Sam McDiarmid

View what a picture … what a series of photographs!

HND Photography student Sam McDiarmid was exposed to the elements in the Scottish highlands recently to cover a new project promoting access to the outdoors to people with disabilities.

Sam (27) from Alva, was selected by Scottish poet and artist Alec Finlay to take photos for the Month of Access pilot - Day of Access - which took four disabled people to an altitude of 720m (2,362ft) on Meall Tairneachan in Perthshire last month (June).

He applied through an open invitation from the Travelling Gallery earlier in the year, which appealed for new Scottish photographers to send in their work to be assessed by the popular artist. Now Sam’s pictures from the day will be exhibited in the Travelling Gallery bus which will visit villages, towns and cities across the country from August to September.

A 4x4 vehicle was used to take the four disabled people as far up the hill as possible, and the pilot was supported by Forestry and Land Scotland, John Muir Trust and Dalchosnie and Kynachan Estate. The event has been so successful that a full Month of Access will be held to encourage more disabled people to reach heights in the highlands in June 2020.

Sam, who is also a time served mechanic, said: “To be honest I had forgotten about sending a selection of my photographs through to the Travelling Gallery, but they called me and I was told that Alec really liked my photos and wanted me to document the day.

“It was absolutely amazing to be asked. I was quite shocked, but very quickly I got really excited as it has been my first proper opportunity to be paid for taking photographs. I have taken photos of landscapes right from when I started, so to take these during the day and document the pilot event was a great thrill and I loved every minute of it.

“It was excellent to work with Alec and the Travelling Gallery and I want to thank them all for the opportunity to show what I can do and I was really happy with the images I took.

“It was great to be involved in such an inspirational project and everyone agreed that the conversations had on the day were just as good as the views. It was great just to be in the company of those up on the hill.”

Sam, who is gearing up to start the second year of his course in August, said: “My advice to new Photography students who start next year at the college would be to apply for every live project that is offered to them with both hands. Live projects are the key, no matter what it is, just as long as you are using your camera, as it will add to your understanding and experience.”

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