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BLOG – John Maher’s Photography Blog

17 Mar 2013
La'al Bothy, scarista, self catering

La’al Bothy

LA’AL BOTHY Small but perfectly formed, La’al Bothy, on the Isle of Harris will be available to rent as self-catering holiday accommodation in time for the summer months. The compact residence has been designed and built by Alan and Ellen McDougall, next to their house in Scarista, on the west coast of Harris. The building was originally intended to serve duty as a garage and storage space. Plans changed and it’s now nearing the end of its transformation into a […]

23 Feb 2013
Jimmy Bullar's Tea Hut, 1947 Bedford

Jimmy Bullar’s Tea Hut

JIMMY BULLAR’S TEA HUT This strange contraption is living out the remainder of its days in the middle of a peat bog on the Isle of Lewis. I stumbled across it (almost literally), in February 2011 during a full moon night photography trek to the shielings of Cuishader. When bad weather cut my outing short, depriving me of a decent shot of this weird vehicle, I knew I’d have to return to complete unfinished business. In the meantime I dug […]

20 Feb 2013

Scalpay: land of the free takeover

SCALPAY: LAND OF THE FREE TAKEOVER In honour of the recent community take over of the island, I’ve dug out a few photos I shot in Scalpay last year. In November 2012, the residents of Scalpay voted to take over the running of their island. The then owner, English businessman Fred Taylor, had offered inhabitants the island for free. When put to the vote, 197 voted for the takeover, eight against. The island’s population is around 300. In 1997 a […]

12 Feb 2013
salston sea, mecca beach. southern california

“A Beautifully Awful Paradise”

“A BEAUTIFULLY AWFUL PARADISE” Salton Sea: a 21st century Twilight Zone – the place where the American Dream died, along with millions of Tilapia. Salton Sea was a thriving waterside resort in the 1950s and 1960s – a playground for aspirational post war fun seekers. But in 1976 the dream transformed into a desert wasteland, when Tropical Storm Kathleen swept through Imperial Valley, followed by Tropical Storm Doreen in 1977. Above average rainfall for the next seven years, along with […]

11 Jan 2013
yes and snow, snp, christmas card, scarista, isle of harris

Yes and Snow!

YES AND SNOW! Yes Scotland, the campaign group for an independent Scotland contacted me in November 2012, enquiring if I had a night photo suitable for their official Christmas card. Rummaging through my files I found a few images I thought might convey a suitably festive mood i.e. snow! Above is the original version of the one they opted for. After a bit of (spin?) doctoring, which consisted of adding the ‘Yes’ campaign logo subtly written in the stars and […]

17 Dec 2012
no job too small, handyman, derelict, abandoned, house, home

Torn trousers and moaning about the weather

TORN TROUSERS AND MOANING ABOUT THEE WEATHER Slim pickings from last month’s full moon period. All told, 2012 hasn’t been a great year in terms of favourable weather conditions for full moon night photography in the Outer Hebrides. I got a few shots in February but January, March and April were complete write-offs due to heavy cloud and rain. May, June and July are always a no-show due to the long summer days we see at our northerly latitude i.e. […]

18 Nov 2012
Blacksheep House, grand designs, strond, harris

Blacksheep House

BLACKSHEEP HOUSE Blacksheep House is a renovated black house on the Isle of Harris. In 2008 it won Channel 4’s Grand Designs Home of the Year award. I’ve photographed Blacksheep House a few times. Back in November 2010, Pete and Christine Hope, the couple responsible for transforming the roofless ruins of a former traditional black house into 5 star luxury accommodation, mentioned they had a rare week in their letting schedule where the house would be empty during the full […]

17 Oct 2012
newspaper cuttings from 1964 to 1966

The Writing on the Walls

THE WRITING ON THE WALLS I visited this house almost three years ago – right around the time I first started experimenting with night photography. It was a freezing cold January night. I took a look inside. Apart from a pile of broken crockery and several cassette tapes scattered across the floor there was little else of interest. Or so I thought….. I paid the place another visit last weekend. This time it was during the hours of daylight – […]

09 Oct 2012
sweet dreams, bedroom, abandoned

Sweet Dreams

SWEET DREAMS The image above (Sweet Dreams), is part of Nobody’s Home collection. Attending the opening of Steve Dilworth’s exhibition, Mortal Remains at An Lanntair on Saturday night I got into a conversation with one of the attendees. We discussed the subject of abandoned Hebridean homes and a shared interest in what these places tell us about islanders’  lives, past and present.  The following day I visited the subject of this post – a family home on Lewis, last occupied […]

26 Sep 2012
Ensay House, sound of harris, outer hebrides

Ensay House

A collection of photos from my trip to an unoccupied island in the Sound of Harris. The interior shots of Ensay House have sparked a wave of nostalgia amongst a group of people who used to travel to the island with their parents and grand parents during the lambing season. Thanks to those who’ve been sharing their memories and stories from the happy times they spent on Ensay.