Hebridean Overture

The Outer Hebrides are the chain of islands that mark the outer north-western boundary of the British Isles – beyond them lie only St Kilda, whose last remaining population decamped in 1930, and Rockall, which is a rock. Heading due west after that, you’d skirt the southern tip of Greenland before arriving, like the Vikings of a thousand years ago, on the coast of Labrador & Newfoundland. So these are northern islands – the oldest rocks on Earth, shaped by aeons of Atlantic storms. The harshness of the environment is in turn reflected in the human artefacts: from the ancient standing stones of Callanish and fortified Brochs like Dun Carloway to the black houses of the Norse and later eras. From a photographer’s perspective, this creates a dramatic combination of textures and strong shapes, which suit rendering in black and white, especially when there’s a stormy cloudscape as backdrop.