Mike Shailes


What led to this

Time has flown since we came to the Hebrides and I have had an absolute ball with so many fabulous people, but there’s a limit to how much a body can take. Plus there are many things I want to do that are still on my list and I need time out for.

For many years, my grandfather walked the Lake District and Scotland’s Borders, capturing the landscape on early colour transparency film. My father, too, produced a fine collection of photographs documenting life in West Africa.

So it was hardly surprising that I inherited a passion for photography.

Art or Science?

At the time I studied photography at Gloucestershire College of Art and Design, professional practice was generally considered to be a craft rather than an art form.  This meant that much of the three year’s study was taken up with scientific technique, the physics of optics and light control, plus the chemistry of silver halide technology.  Compositional and other artistic matters were important but, in keeping with many other artists, I found the technical grounding has given me the understanding required to successfully develop artistic style over ensuing years.

Weddings and other professional practice

In following employment, I was employed as a professional landscape photographer, producing large format images for books, calendars and picture postcards and a little later joined a wedding photography agency as a freelancer.

Along the years, I continued to work closely with photographic, technology and tourist industries, in sales, marketing, advertising, consultancy and hands-on photography.

A local friend and editor referred to me recently as a retired publicist – quite an apt description that had not previously occurred to me.

Perhaps ‘communicator’ would be a better word.