As I Found her
As I Found Her
A Portrait of Eigg by Photographer Danny North
As I Found Her is a story of my search for Eigg, opening her up and the discovering of my Island. Each photograph I have taken of Eigg’s inhabitants felt like a gift, an opening, an access, peeling back layers, gaining entry through the lens and circumnavigating the actuality of a place as you can often only do as an insider, you can better see the land and the faces that open up to you.
Additionally, as Eigg opened up to me I opened up to it. In gaining access, I found it layered with an unexpected connectivity and insight into my own sense of longing and belonging for my West Yorkshire playing fields and battlefields and my isolation felt within them.
Eigg is far-flung from the small village I grew up in and yet the cohesive and proximate nature of its inhabitants and their island have given me a chance to study my position as a human island, growing up not quite belonging. Floating, coming to terms with loss and being misunderstood, untethered as musician, photographer, son, brother, member of a community I hadn’t quite found yet.
Through music and photography I searched for my place in the world, although having began as a musician fighting with guts and teeth, even now, being on the ‘other’ side of the camera makes me at times feel more isolated rather than being part of any gang or tribe. I didn’t really understand it at the time, but I was looking constantly for a place where I belonged. Ten years after first being paid to take photographs, I had begun to understand who I was as a photographer, and finally started to work on a personal project that would realise my search for community. My Eigg.
When I heard about the Isle of Eigg in late 2015, how the people first bought their island from a rogue Laird, and then becoming the first place in the world to run entirely from three sources of renewable energy, it became an obsession of my curiosity. Over the past year I have visited the island in Summer, Winter and Spring completing a sort of pilgrimage with each 24 hour drive, over 5000 miles journeyed. In June 2017 I returned to complete the project, exhibiting the work for the people of Eigg on their island. They will be the first and only community to date to see the completed project.
Sometimes it can take a remote Hebridean island, and its community of close-knit, far-flung strangers so seemingly distanced from our own territories of youth and bones, to make visible the sense of being the island and looking from afar. This sense of longing and belonging in the resultant photographs of the land and its flesh is instinctive, something I hope that anyone who has felt themselves disconnected at any point could connect to.