Have you seen our Love Letters?
Last summer, Mrs L365 had the bright idea of placing wooden letters spelling the word “love” in the beautiful Skye Scenery and photographing them. As with all her bright ideas this one was passed on to someone a little dimmer to carry out. We bought some letters, I painted them white so they would stand out and we started carrying them with us whenever we went out on shoots.
At first we tried to shoot the letters free standing. But it’s a rare day in Skye that doesn’t have a “breeze”. A good Skye breeze can appear quite high on the Beaufort Scale. So a stand was added to each letter. This created the need for a small amount of post production work to remove the stand. Though we found that we spent quite a bit of time setting up the letters so the stands didn’t show. The whole point was that it was real letters really in the real landscape. Many people were surprised when they saw the real letters. They expected them to be digital.They half expected us to fake it. Maybe that’s a reflection of our electronic age but to us it’s lot easier, and more real, to take our letters out into Skye and photograph them than to spend hours getting a manipulated image just so.
It was a bit of a surprise to us that many people presume the letters were photoshopped into existing images. So if you did too, take a fresh look at the Love Letters and imagine what went into making most of those images. Imagine a photographer carefully placing the letters and retreating to the camera, all the while making sure not to disturb the grass/snow/sand/ and removing as much sheep poo as possible from the scene and then a dog charging through the shot or dropping a ball on the letters or – and this happened more times than you would expect – digging a huge hole in the sand right in front of the letters. Then imagine all the consequent re-arranging and swearing. Sometimes the wind would spot what the photographer was up to and puff out its cheeks so as to gust dramatically just as the letters were being placed. This meant a quick dash behind the camera to take a picture before the letters were blown over. At the time the photographer would be so involved that it all seemed perfectly normal, but looking at it in writing it must have been very curious and entertaining behaviour for other people to watch, except for the swearing maybe.
The Assistants have been most confused by the Love Letters. Senior Assistant sees them as another impediment to me throwing her ball and Junior Assistant wants to pee on them
We took shots of the letters on the beach, on rocks overlooking the sea, with mountains behind them, in long waving grass on a croft. We even took their picture in the sea using an ultra long exposure.
Once we had enough images we unveiled them to an unsuspecting public with Twitter and Facebook under bombardment by Love Letters. There were Love letters everywhere, magazines took notice (due to the great work done by Spot PR on our behalf) and published pieces about them.
All this proved rather successful, with prints, canvases and cards being ordered. The popularity of the Love Letters led to commissions for images of favourite parts of Skye containing personal messages created using our wooden letters. With this little burst of excitement over we sat back on our laurels and life went on. We had thought of doing other word combinations like “Love Skye” which we had used as a hashtag on Twitter, but we had that idea during the wettest winter since the last wet west coast winter so we shelved it.
An example of a Love Letter canvas print. Striking we think
Until a TV programme gave Skye some really bad press.
The Matt Lucas Awards decided it would be funny to have a “Ghastliest Holiday Destination” award and trotted out Sue Perkins to stick the boot into Skye in general and The Skye Serpentarium more specifically.
I was incensed and leapt into action I tweeted and blogged about it and was even quoted in the local paper (fame at last – though they got Landscapes365’s name wrong). The outcome of all this was that we thought this was an opportunity to say something positive about Skye so we dug out a couple of four letter words and started taking some pictures.
A team effort. My eldest daughter adjusts the letters while my son goes off to find stones to throw at the letters. That went down well.
We will visit as many of the famous and not so famous beautiful places on the island and photograph the letters. We hope the Love Skye images will be as popular as the Love Letters and we will be able to use them for greetings cards, postcards and calendars etc too.
So please take pity on the frustrated sweary guy wrestling with a bunch of wooden letters. He’s trying not spend ten minutes balancing eight letters on rocks so he can take a picture of “LOVE SYKE” like he did last week.