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Richard Gaston | Johnstons of ElginRichard Gaston | Johnstons of Elgin

Kindred Spirits

Richard Gaston, Landscape Photographer

Throughout our 225-year history, we have developed and celebrated our craftsmanship, heritage, innovation, and communities. We feel drawn to individuals and brands that share our core values and are moved to champion them and recognise their success. This season, we begin a journey of collaboration with our Kindred Spirits – talented and skilled creatives whose ethos mirrors our own.

We begin with Landscape Photographer Richard Gaston, who is as in love with the Scottish countryside as we are. Ahead of our AW22 collection launch, we asked Richard to capture our Scottish mills’ incredible natural surroundings, which inspire our exquisite designs. Richard looked to our earthy Autumn Winter colour palette as a reference point and pictured stunning local scenery to complement this season’s capsule. He also visited our Elgin weaving mill, where he discussed his love of nature and his life behind the lens.

Behind the Perfect Picture

Creativity. Patience. An eye for detail. In a world attuned to instant gratification, these traditional skills still have their place. And never more so than when capturing the perfect image in the wilds of Scotland. Self-taught photographer and outdoor adventurer Richard became hooked on hill walking after joining a friend who already had the bug. For many years now, he has enjoyed enriching walks and overnight stays in mountain bothies – simple shelters in remote locations intended to benefit anyone who enjoys being outdoors.

The wild and lonely hillsides have proved the ideal environment for Richard to perfect his art, and he continues to favour considered compositions from Scotland’s most rugged yet beautiful landscapes. The process isn't always easy, as the weather and wildlife can be unpredictable, and a lengthy journey can often be fruitless.

‘You can go up in the dark and come down when it's dark again and not get the perfect shot. Other times things just fall into place,’ Richard explained. Earlier this year, Richard waited patiently until dusk on the Stac Pollaidh mountain in the Northwest Highlands, finally capturing an image of a stag for our AW22 campaign. The stunning composition perfectly reflects the nature-inspired colours of this season’s collection.

‘Descending Stac Pollaidh during the blue hour, a stag emerged at the iconic viewpoint of Assynt,’ said Richard. ‘I persistently pursued the creature until it eventually settled into a favourable composition.’

"The beauty of Scotland lies in the nuanced and ephemeral nature of the relationship between it's unique and varied landscape and the constantly changing weather systems.

- Wild Guide, Scotland

Richard Gaston

The great outdoors is not just a photographic subject for Richard; it’s his passion. The book he co-authored, ‘Wild Guide, Scotland’ is a compendium of little-known gems of the Highlands and Islands, from idyllic mountains and glens to secret waterfalls and lost ruins. second edition of this guide to Scotland’s hidden havens was released this year, five years to the day after the original best-seller. A change in weather can vastly change a person’s experience of these special destinations, and the guide suggests what to bring for each adventure.

Ayrshire-born Richard created Wild Guide, Scotland, with photographer, writer and content producer Kimberley Grant, from Glasgow, and photographer, writer and mountaineer David Cooper, from Orkney. The project promotes considered exploration of the beautiful Scottish countryside, respecting the somewhat unpredictable local elements and the environment itself. While the suggested trips might require planning and the appropriate equipment, the book overall celebrates nature.

And it was a nod to nature that caught Richard’s eye when he visited our weaving mill. ‘It’s amazing to see the juxtaposition of nature and technology in the mill,’ he said, ‘such as the natural teasels used to raise the nap on the Cashmere.’

Richard Gaston | Johnstons of Elgin

Community Spirit

Richard also commented on the sense of community he experienced when he visited us, another value shared by seasoned walkers. While Richard is no stranger to a solo trip to capture the perfect picture, he is also well-versed in collaborative adventures. The Wild Guide’s section on bothies and wild camping advises, ‘The Scottish elemental experience wouldn’t be complete without the rewarding feeling of arriving at a bothy or the humbling experience of sitting by the campfire.’ The book suggests keeping groups small, staying for only one night and being mindful of the environment.

As we draw parallels between Richard’s approach to the countryside, his craft and our own balance between technology and nature, perhaps we can find good advice for life, as well as for the mountainside. Tread lightly, be mindful of others and above all, find joy in the beauty that surrounds us.

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