This journal entry was made halfway through my outing on the Reul na Mara; We’d come back to Scrabster harbour to shelter from the storm which had chased us all the way from Orkney, a maritime rollercoaster ride that lasted 10-hours. Ross’ approach and entry into a turbulent and blindingly dark Scrabster harbour was an impressive display of boat handling and a testament to his 36-years experience at sea – he made it look as easy as negotiating a shopping trolly around Tesco.
‘Sunday 11th November
13.00 – This morning, we got a taxi from the boat mooring on Scrabster harbour into Thurso – Me, Dougie, Benjei and Jo-Jo. Benjei is sporting a huge fat lip, having fallen on his face last night.
The Y-Not cafe is a bit more modern and up-market than I’d anticipated when dressing for brunch – all of us are wearing the same clothes we’ve had on for the past week. We get a table and Dougie goes to order drinks, I’ve been looking forward to a proper pot of tea for days. Dougie returns and informs me that the cafe has run out of tea. What cafe runs out of tea? It’s like going into a pub and being told there’s no beer. I order a full Scottish breakfast and a latte, we all order lattes, Benjei spills his all over the table. The appropriately dressed clientele stare at us as though we’re patients on the run from a mental hospital. Fuck ’em – most people know we’re off a fishing trawler, and I enjoy it, I feel proud to be a member of this elite gang. Despite the lack of tea and the somewhat sterile surroundings, the Y-Not full Scottish gets a solid 7/10.’
These black and white images are experimental; I haven’t made a photo-essay on mono film for a very long time. Shooting Ilford HP5 became a necessity due to the lack of light and most of the time I rated this 400-speed film at 1600 and had the lab push it two stops (for the non-photo-nerds, this is what gives the images the grainy, high-contrast look). I feel black and white photographs work better as a series, rather than stand-alone photos. I will persevere with black and white because I do like the more serious reportage look to the images.