General > Andy Hall Interview
Andy Hall Interview
Andy Hall, photographer from Stonehaven who had great success with his book A Sense of Belonging to
My family moved to the North Lodge, Ury from Maryculter when I was 12. Unfortunately, my dad died within a few months and eighteen months later, my mum and I moved to
You are a schoolteacher by profession. When did you first take an interest in photography?
I broke my leg playing football at the tender age of 35 and while recuperating, I decided to take up photography to fill the gap. My wife, Sylvia, is an art teacher and an artist and we have always had a shared interest. In the absence of my having her drawing skills, I decided that photography would be the best medium for me. A footballing comeback was not an option!
Have you taken many photos around Stonehaven area?
Ever since I began to take photograph seriously, Iíve found inspiration in and around Stonehaven, particularly the Harbour,
Do you have a particular favourite?
I have a lovely winter shot of
Were you helped or inspired by any local organisations in Stonehaven
I attended Mearns Camera Club for 9 years. I learned a huge amount by entering competitions and listening to advice from judges and invited speakers.
Your book ďA Sense of BelongingĒ seems to have been a great success. Where did the idea come from?
To celebrate the Millennium, I published a modest book entitled ďThe Mearns at the MillenniumĒ. It was a super wee publication which highlighted the beauty spots of this lovely corner of
How did you persuade so many famous personalities to take part?
I sent them all a copy of the Mearns at the Millennium to establish the quality and integrity of my work and a letter outlining the idea. I was greatly helped by having Ewan McGregor as my first recruit. A friend of mine put me in touch with Ewanís dad whom he knew in Crieff. It certainly helped to have
There is some quite stunning photography in the book. What influenced you to specialise in landscape photography?
Probably the writing of Lewis Grassic Gibbon, the music of Dougie MacLean and the photography of Colin Prior. I have read Sunset Song many times and it always inspires me to go into the Mearns landscape and photograph it in all its diversity. Colin has become a friend over the years but when I saw his first book, Highland Wilderness, I felt I wanted to aspire to his inspirational and technically meticulous photography. Dougie is the most beautiful singer/songwriter in
There is an interesting variety of favourite places in the book. Which area did you enjoy photographing the most?
I think the variety is the key and I enjoyed them all equally from Grangemouth Refinery at Night and the sign above the Oxford Bar in Edinburgh for Ian Rankin to the most wonderful experience of photographing Glencoe by Moonlight for Ally McCoist. I found that such diverse choices and trying to see them through other peopleís eyes presented me with a real photographic challenge but one, which I relished.
You must have travelled many miles to complete your assignments. How long did it take you to complete the book?
I drove 15,000 miles to take only 50 pictures, often returning three, four or five times to get the perfect shot. It took three years from conception to the Launch in
You are now working on a follow up ďA Sense of Belonging to
This one has 55 including Colin Montgomerie, Dougray Scott, Emma Thompson, Marti Pellow, my hero Denis Law and ironically, Colin Prior, who chose St. Cyrus!
What have you learned from your experience in creating the first volume that has helped you on the new book?
The main thing is that there is no compromise on quality, no matter how many journeys are required or how long it takes. And there is always sunshine after the rain (if you wait long enough!)
If you were to include your own favourite place in
My own place of Tiroran on
When is the second volume being launched?
It will be launched at the
That is an ideal time for the Christmas Market. You will be hoping lots of Stonehaven residents will buy this to send to friends and relatives?
In all my photographic exploits, the people of Stonehaven and Kincardineshire have given me huge support. If I have produced something that they enjoy, it will mean a great deal to me. By way of thanks for the support and encouragement Iíve had, Iíd urge local people not to get a copy from a bookshop but to contact me on 07866762647 or email@example.com and Iíd be delighted to sign a copy for friends or family. I think it means so much more if I can personalise it with an apt inscription for someone at home or overseas. Please do not hesitate to contact me. It would be a privilege.
Andy, Stonehaven is proud of what you have achieved and this must be an inspiration to other amateur photographers. I am sure there are many budding photographers in Stonehaven that could learn from your experience. Do you have any plans to hold classes in Landscape Photography in the future?
I have taken several courses over the years and it is something Iím often asked about. If there were enough people interested, Iíd be delighted to run a course locally, perhaps over a couple of weekends. If anyone would like to put their name down, please contact me by the above methods. Once I know numbers, Iíll put an interesting course together using the local environment and pass on some of the things Iíve learned over the years.
George McGillivray Ė Stonehaven Guide - 5th August 2005