Stuart Low, is a landscape photographer, instructor and master darkroom printer living and working in rural Perthshire, Scotland. Stuart’s photography is heavily concerned with conservation, the study of trees in the landscape and has been documenting them with his images for over 30 years. His compositions are influenced not by photographers but the pionering work of D’Arcy Thomson and Benoit Madelbrot on growth patterns and fractals that occur in nature. Stuart takes their historical findings and experiments with mathematical ratios in his compositions. Stuart is a firm believer in the printed image and considers this to be the completion of the photograph. His work is widely published and his limited-edition traditional prints have been collected and exhibited in national galleries, as well as being held in private collections.
Heavily involved in conservation and promoting up & coming photographers, Stuart is the founder and head judge of the Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year competition which is a not- for-profit competition, focussed on promoting Scotland, tourism and conservation photography. When time permits, Stuart also volunteers his time to teach workshops in central Scotland.
Stuart is a completely self taught photographer, and with over 30 years darkroom printing, colour, monochrome, lith and toning expertise to call upon, it makes him a true master printer in the every sense. His prints, and printing methods are all either sustainable and/or recyclable (reclaiming silver, using caffenol developers etc). Stuart’s expertise extends on the one hand to alternative process photography, shooting on large format cameras, and on the other, extending to 20 years expertise in Photoshop and a lecturer in digital editing and photography. Stuart has also worked in the in semiconductor industry, gaining expertise photo-lithography, scientific photography.
My equipment includes the following. It is important to note that my equipment (except digital) is in some cases over 85 years old and most of my cameras are 30-40 years old. I am a firm believer in buying the best engineered cameras which are robust and last decades. I am a firm believer in conservation and as far as digital is concerned, I do not believe in buying new cameras to keep up in the pixel race. My digital cameras are approx 5-7 years old and around 24mp in resolution. My experience in judging photographic competitions has taught me that there is literally no need for any camera larger than 24mp for print or screen. It has to be noted that the semiconductor chips inside digital cameras are harmful to the environment, therefore I prolong their life by shooting as if I were shooting a roll of film. This saves wear and tear on the shutter and is better for the environment.
Whilst I own a lot of equipment, I have to stress that these cameras are used by clients and students. If I were not teaching, I would only own and use 3 cameras – my Linhof, Rolleiflex and Hasselblad.
Large format cameras;
Linhof Master Technika 4×5 inch
Canham DLC 4×5 inch
8×10 Field camera
Medium Format cameras;
Hasselblad 501cm’s & various lenses
Rolleiflex automats & 3.5Fs
Bronica ETRSis and various lenses
Canon digital & film, Sony digital, Leica & Olympus film cameras with various lenses
Fully equipped and stocked darkroom with custom sink and Ilford chemistry.
Fully stocked for colour print, colour negated slide
Fully stocked for Lith
All chemistry for Platinum, Palladium, Kallitype, Dry Plate Ambrotype & Tintype
Durst Laborator 2000 4×5 enlarger
Meopta 6×6 enlarger
Leica 35mm enarger
RH Designs full range of analysers
Author of nine photographic books including; Scottish landscape photographer of the year, collections 1,2,3,4,5,6 & 7. Monoscapes volume 1 & Treescapes Collection 1
Widely published in magazines, newspapers and online.
My love of photography was the result of the path I followed during my early years. I was brought up in a small village where my father was a coal merchant and my mother was the daughter of a tomato farmer, so I’ve always had an affinity with the land. Music was my first love and being fiercely proud of my Scottish heritage, I became a world champion bagpiper with Boghall & Bathgate Pipe Band and this took me to many countries across the world – which I documented with an instamatic camera. But it was when I had to make the choice between studying art or science at university that my interest in photography took off in a serious way. Inspired by the land around me, I was more eager to learn why things were rather than to paint pretty pictures, so I chose to study physics & mathematics instead. The sciences taught me that beauty occurs throughout nature in the form of numbers and this became my obsession, to study those numbers in nature and record them as meanigfully as I can with my camera.