21 Jan 2011

Fantastic Landscapes: the Photography of Gary McParland.

The Fairy Ring - (c) Gary McParland

Good photographs are inspiring. They speak to our emotions, like good stories do.

I love taking pictures but I am not a photographer. I would like to be, but my heart and mind are set on writing. Instead of light and a camera, I have chosen words and a laptop (and paper and pens) as my tools.

And I am happy. Day by day I get to experience the joys and pains of learning my trade. I feel alive, perhaps more than ever. The more I read and write, the more I see what I can't do yet. But I improve, and the journey itself is exciting, exhilarating and rewarding. Most of the time.

Light & Legend - (c) Gary McParland
Deciding to be a writer has only increased my respect for people who have acquired skill and craftsmanship, regardless of what kind. From raising or educating our children to helping us sleep at night. From growing food to presenting it on a plate in the most beautiful and seductive way.

I love men and women who have a passion, and the desire and perseverance to learn their craft and improve. Their work has a soul. It speaks to our emotions, tells us stories and inspires us to come up with our own.
The Poisoned Glen - (c) Gary McParland
One of my most recent discoveries is photographer Gary McParland. When I saw his picture 'The Fairy Ring' (see above), I was smitten. My mind took flight. I wanted to write stories and create characters to populate those fantastic landscapes.

What I especially like about his pictures, besides the great choice of scenery, is that he manages to capture not just the beauty and wonder, but also the timeless elemental power of our surroundings.

Based in Northern Ireland, most of the landscapes Gary photographs are situated there, in Ireland, Scotland and the UK. I also really like his nature close-ups, and the boats/wrecks.

His style of photography evokes a fantasy atmosphere, but don't expect candied new-age imagery with purple moons and elves riding unicorns. Instead, he presents the raw, natural strength in nature and interprets it in a full spectrum of emotions that feels very authentic to me.  

Morning Mist - (c) Gary McParland
Sometimes his photographs are gentle and dreamy, like a misty coastal morning or filtered sunlight in an autumn forest; sometimes they are fierce reminders of how fleeting and mortal we are, like ever-changing waves pounding on unyielding rocks. 

His landscapes are no backdrops for frail, winged fairies and pastel butterflies. They inspire to create characters that live, breathe and survive. The fairies who live here bite and laugh and love and fight to preserve what's theirs. These are lands where humans live with dragons. The fire-breathing kind.

I tip my hat to Gary McParland's skill in capturing atmosphere in light, and I can only admire the dedication and the patience it must have taken to create these works.

Thank you, Gary, for the wonderful images and your kind photo permission!

Dunluce Castle at Twilight - (c) Gary McParland

For more information and images, visit http://garymcparland.1x.com/ or http://www.garymcparland.com/ 

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