Sam Stockman and his family return to a once familiar inlet on Scotland’s north-eastern tip.

“I always enjoy photographing areas that have the suggestion of a bygone era. Places that are past their best or stuck in a time warp. I love old seaside towns for this reason and have been to a fair few around England, so Cromarty seemed like a good place for a project. I found that the areas most interesting to me were outside of the village itself, the areas that hadn’t been cleaned up and renovated.”

“A little bit about Cromarty; it is a seaport that lies at the tip of the Black Isles in the Cromarty Firth, North East Scotland.  It was an important place due to its natural harbour and rich agricultural land. It became wealthy from trade and exports and also from thriving salmon and herring fisheries.”

“Cromarty went into a decline in the 1840’s. Since then it has been an important naval base in both world wars and its economy was revived once again in the 1970’s with the development of oil related industries.”

“There is an interesting contrast between the old traditional fishing and farming industries and the huge oilrigs that dominate the firth. The whole area is beautiful but then you have the massive rigs…I found this contradiction really interesting, particularly for taking photographs. A pretty view isn’t always an interesting photograph.”

“We visited several times when I was young. The last time I was there I was around 9 or 10 (now 32). The guest book at the cottage we stayed at stated “lovely cottage, shame about the beetles”. This has always stuck in my head and seemed typical of the place, picturesque but in need of a little attention. I was interested to see if my memories of Cromarty matched what it was like now.”

“My mother grew up there and left Cromarty around 50 years ago. When she left a lot of the buildings had fallen into disrepair and were looking tired, the old brewery, the old stables and a lot of the houses and seen better days. This is how it had been in my mind too. Today though most of the houses in the village seem to have been renovated and cleaned up.”

“The old brewery has been totally refurbished and the stables are now a gallery. The village looks really smart, almost too perfect considering the age of the buildings and the harshness of the climate.”

“All the pictures are shot with a Mamiya 7II, 80mm lens and either Kodak Ektar 100 or Portra 400.”

You can see more of Sam’s work in his online portfolio here.

If you’re a photographer with a story to tell why not head on over to our contributor page and share your adventures.


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