Friday 8th March is International Women’s Day, and fully aware of the very high risk of being labelled a patronizing male git, I thought I’d give a big shout to a few of the many many many women out there in photography making a difference with their work.

I occasionally teach photography, have done for a couple of decades, and in most classes I’ve taught the majority of the attenders are women. But this ratio is not reflected in the world of professional photography. And that’s a shame.

Artwork & design © Zarina Holmes 2013
Artwork & design © Zarina Holmes 2013

The London Photographers’ Branch will be celebrating women photographers everywhere, and highlighting the sexism in the industry, by sponsoring a members’ T-Shirt for International Women’s Day (Friday 8th March). More information here.

As I’m somewhat unsuited to the t-shirt, I thought I’d celebrate on duckrabbit; so here’s a few individuals, and I stress they are in no particular order, whose work has moved me, amused me, surprised me and just taken me to somewhere I didn’t expect to go. I would love to mention more but the list would be very very long.


Maisie Crow has an uncanny ability to tell a story. Find somewhere quiet, sit down and prepare to be profoundly moved by A Life Alone. Touching, beautiful, heartachingly tender. Keep the tissues close.



Alicia Bruce’s work is important. Very very important.

Her record of the shameful events at Menie in Aberdeenshire and the rape of the Scottish landscape by The Trump Organization is culturally, environmentally and perhaps in time legally significant.

Her landscape work is inspired, and her portraits are…well….quite simply sublime. ‘Scottish Gothic’ indeed.

Mike & Sheila Forbes, Mill of Menie © Alicia Bruce
Mike & Sheila Forbes, Mill of Menie © Alicia Bruce




I stumbled upon the work of Lottie Hedley last year and was hugely impressed by both her photographic ability, and her storytelling. If I had a fraction of her skill I’d be content.

Her work on life in the rural landscape is insightful, and lyrical, with compelling compositions and well-observed lighting. There’s a rare sense of ‘connection’ in her work. It’s beautiful.


Road Trip USA © Lottie Hedley
Road Trip USA © Lottie Hedley




Japanese photographer Natsumi Hayashi: Yowayowa has ‘elevated’ self-portraiture to whole new level.

Her ‘levitation’ images are simply wonderful. To take one or two images like these is something a few of us have done (and if you’re like me probably not very well) but Natsumi has produced an astonishing portfolio of images, some in very disturbing ‘cross-eyed viewing’ 3D (let your eyes go out of focus and get the two images coincident and do away with the funky 3D glasses).

Every time I visit her blog I smile broadly. Inspired!


Image ©
Image © Natsumi Hayashi



Ciara Leeming’s Roma project continues to impress. This is work that challenges head on the institutionalized racism that Roma people in the UK must contend with on a daily basis. The disgraceful behaviour of sections of the UK press towards these folks is something we should all be ashamed of. There’s no place for it modern Britain. Ciara’s work provides much needed balance. But offers so much more than that.

‘Elvira and me’ is an apparently simple story, but which has at its heart a complex and thought-provoking insight into the world of migrants in the UK and the tensions they must wrestle with, aspirations for the new straining against the firm anchor of the traditions and expectations of their pasts. Poignant and memorable.


And my penultimate shout goes to Georgina Cranston. A gifted photographer, great storyteller, but crucially one with a desire to tell difficult stories. And this gives me an opportunity to flag up once more her powerful and moving piece ‘Be Myself’.

This is……..well…..watch and understand……..(warning: you may find some of the content of this film upsetting.)


And finally to the blog of Andrea Ingram. This is a treasure trove I’ve regularly visited for several years. “I want to have a photo blog” say many people, and eventually a half-hearted whimper graces the web, and with a pretentious artist’s statement about something or other. Yawn. Readers: this is how it should be done………………….

Want eclectic?

Want humour?

Want insight into rural Hebridean life?

Want some real photography using film and messy liquids?

Want mystery, romance, wonder, weather, people, sheep, roads, signs, blurs, and above all the sudden gasps that good art can free from you?

Head on over to Boxes & Bellows for all that and more, much more. So much more you’ll wonder where it all comes from, and where it might end. I hope it doesn’t. (End that is).

And Andrea writes too. Which makes it even better. A sample below from a recent blog post:

Before you read any further  I implore you to go to this site, turn on your speakers, point to a title of a track and listen to the superb sound – it’s Jean-Pierre Almy, an old pal of mine playing the, the stringy thing whilst the lady sings wonderfully. You can enjoy the sounds while you gaze lovingly here.

The pinhole camera had an outing recently. I still find it amazing how much information you can squeeze through a small hole. I managed a whole house! Having said that, there is a slight flaw in my ingenious shutter design incorporating a packet of fruit pastels – in that it seems to let the light in when it shouldn’t. Apart from that it’s brilliant. I shall try the chocolate box – I shall just have to consume the chocs first!

And the post ‘Sir Chris Hoy would be proud’ will afford you a compelling insight into the role of the bicycle in Lewis and its untapped potential.

This is a photographic cornucopia. And that’s a very good thing in my opinion: we need more of them. Much better for you than cream horns.


Lith stuff (The Crofter) © Andrea Ingram
Lith stuff (The Crofter) © Andrea Ingram


Ok that’s a few to get your danders up. And if anyone still thinks this is patronizing: I’ll see you outside. If you’re a bloke – I’ll give you a warm hug to say sorry (unless you could be employing women and make a point of not doing so, in which case no hugs big fella, sorry). And if you’re a woman I’ll buy you a pint, and offer my apologies.

Can’t offer much more than that. (Well if you’re REALLY offended, I’ll get you a bag of crisps with the pint.)


John MacPherson was born and lives in the Scottish Highlands. He trained as a welder in the Glasgow shipyards, before completing an apprenticeship as a carpenter, and then qualified as a Social Worker in Disability Services. Along the way he has cooked on canal barges, trained as an Alpine Ski Leader & worked as an Instructor for Skiers with disabilities, been a canoe instructor, and tutor of night classes in carpentry, stained glass design and manufacture, and archery. He has travelled extensively on various continents, undertaking solo trips by bicycle, or motorcycle. He has had narrow escapes from an ambush by terrorists, been hit by lightning, caught in an erupting volcano, trapped in a mobile home by a tornado, kidnapped by a dog’s hairdresser, rammed by a basking shark and was once bitten by a wild otter. He has combined all this with professional photography, which he has practised for over 35 years. He teaches photography and acts as a photography guide & tutor in the UK and abroad. His biggest challenge is keeping his 27 year old Land Rover 110 on the road. He loves telling and hearing stories.

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