Highland Retro


Apart from a tent across the way from us, we were the only people in the Glen Nevis Holidays Campsite. The tiny two person tent was only about 30 metres away, but it was raining so hard that I could hardly see it. As it got dark I could start to make-out the figures inside the tent – silhouetted against the taut fabric. I couldn’t help feeling sorry for them, it hadn’t stopped raining for days… but maybe they’ll think twice before arranging a rambling trip to Scotland in November again. I drew the curtains in my camper van, turned the blow heaters on and sat back to watch ‘The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou’ with a steaming hot cup of tea.

It’s a good job the campsite was empty because at about 9pm I decided to wander around taking photographs… with a flash. The whole place reminded me of an outdoor centre I stayed in when I was a kid… a place called Fairbourne, in North Wales. Even though it was 35 years ago, the smell of the shower blocks here reminded me of my childhood. Something I do remember about that school trip was our teacher taking us out to the nearby beach one night. We all put our trunks on and swam in the rough Irish sea, in the dark. I look back on that, even now, and realise that the whole thing could have ended in tragedy (followed by an inevitable public enquiry).

I liked the Glen Nevis Holidays Campsite… I’d have stayed there longer, but we were there for the last two nights of the season. As we left on the Monday the workmen arrived to carry-out ‘modernisation and repairs’. I hope none of that involves changing the decor in the shower block…

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Developed and scanned at the excellent UK Film Lab


  1. Ray Harris

    Your repertoire as a photojournalist is beyond impressive – you are able to convey the feel of any situation simply by pointing your imagination and lens at it. I have no idea where that place is, I’ve never been there, but through your work I feel I have. I see the red haired lady crop-up in your work a lot, I assume she’s your partner? She’s really stunning and alluring!

    I’d like to see a collection in a book – I’d buy it, and I’m sure it would sell out pretty quickly!

    Congratulations on your very rare talent.

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. Charlie Gordon

    I find these images, and most of your work, dark, joyless and cynical. People don’t want this kind of photography in their lives at the moment. Just because something is there and you like the look of it, doesn’t mean you have to photograph it – photography isn’t about that, let’s leave that to the artists. I don’t ‘get it’, and I’m sure most other people don’t either. Sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Charlie Gordon

    You photograph uninteresting things, Phil, now I’m not saying you aren’t a good photographer – you’re obviously very accomplished and successful. But these shots? Those ‘The things I saw’ photos – dull, dull, dull.

    I wonder if your character is mirrored in your work?


  5. Charlie Gordon

    I wasn’t aware I was ‘getting personal’? I just find your work a bit trivial, pointless even. A photograph of a sink – why? What possible merit does this have?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the two problems we have here is that you know nothing about photography and I don’t care. If you don’t like my work, which you obviously don’t, then just don’t look, that’s what we have eye lids for. I see photography I don’t like – yes, I sometimes comment, but I never get personal. You know nothing about me, and you never will.


    • James Saville

      You are a joyless cunt. ‘Just because something is there and you like the look of it doesn’t mean you have to photograph it’. Surely that’s the point. Leonardo Da Vinci liked the look of his cleaner Mona Lisa so he decided to paint her.

      Wait, am I feeding the troll?

      Liked by 1 person

  6. At least you are honest about what you photograph, and explain exactly why you have been to the places you been, and photographed the things you have seen, wether its on a whim, or it was planned as such, I dont know a lot about photography, but I like interesting/different from the mundane, yes some of the images are not that interesting, maybe they are dull, but there is always something that makes you think, it might not be the same thought that inspired Phil to take the shot, but each person will see something in the photo that nobody else relates to, thats what makes Phil a fantastic Photographic Artist.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Finding beauty in something seemingly mundane reflects not only a great photographer but an appreciation of beauty in the most unexpected of places. I love that your photography is not generic, you can’t categorise it nor can you define it with the limits of someone’s seemingly limited imagination and vocabulary.
    You and the images you create are beautifully unique; I do love a good sink x

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Christian Ward

    Great work as usual Mr. Kneen. I always look forward to seeing your work. And as for the negative comments…I sometimes get similar comments on my blog, albeit I have more like 19 followers rather than 19000. The only difference is that I don’t approve the crappy comments I get; I don’t like to give them the limelight that these jealous people seek but can’t get through their own means!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Rob Wilkinson

    I think Mr Gordon has missed the point here…. The fact that hey are mundane and uninteresting is the point. We pass these objects everyday of our lives and not give them a second thought. Nevertheless they all have artistic merit as objects, and the images bring them to the fore and some people will see them in a different light and become more aware of our surroundings… Beauty in in the eye of the beholder, to the same degree that one mans meat is another’s poison.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Charlie Gordon

    I love the way that anyone who expresses an opinion that goes against the status quo instantly becomes a Troll. Am I not entitled to my own personal opinion? If you put your work out so publicly, Phil, then you have no right to get upset when you’re given honest criticism. I don’t understand or enjoy your photography – my opinion. Why do you never publish the negative comments you get? And you must get plenty.


    • I publish every single comment I receive, positive or negative. Obviously. I accept criticism, good or bad, but a lot of your comments aren’t criticism, they’re insults.

      Here’s what I think – You probably live on the Isle of Man, Charlie Gordon isn’t your real name, you’re a photographer yourself, but you lack the talent, motivation and imagination to gain any success or recognition. So you take it out on someone else, who through a lot of hard work and sacrifice is a bit more successful… because criticising someone else’s photographs is a hell of a lot easier than criticising your own, isn’t it.


  11. Andrew Marchment

    I stayed in that campsite when watching the World Championship mountain biking years ago. Had to put my tent up using most of a roll of duct tape as the pole elastic had snapped. Cant say I remember the shower blocks, but then again, I probably didn’t have a shower all weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Taking the ordinary, the mundane, the everyday things, framing them and making a statement. There is beauty and depth in every thing around us. A real photographer can photograph a shower head and make us think. Challenging the viewer to look, and look again. Provoking a reaction, positive or negative, that is art. That is photography. That is what makes it worth the effort. I salute you Phil.

    Liked by 2 people

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