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Scottish landscape photographer of the year - Chatelherault

Published: Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Scottish landscape photographer of the year - Chatelherault

Scottish landscape photographer of the year - Chatelherault

Winning South Lanarkshire’s own photography competition was an important first step on the route to the title of Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year for one Hamilton man.

Dylan Nardini has taken the prestigious crown after coming top in the annual competition. His winning entry of three outstanding images included two taken local to South Lanarkshire - one a wintery scene in the imposing Southern Uplands near Leadhills, the other a close-up of a rock formation in Chatelherault Country Park.

The third picture in his award winning collection was taken on the island of Arran.

Dylan is a previous winner of South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture’s own photography competition, taking the top prize in 2015 and 2016 . Those awards were presented at the annual exhibition in Chatelherault Country Park Visitor Centre.

Dylan said: “I had first entered the SL comp in 2014 as well and I think that was my first competition. I found it a great way to assess my work. I felt very lucky to win it in the following two years and it certainly gave me encouragement that I was not only creating images that I liked but ones that others enjoyed too.”

Coincidentally the Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year (SLPOTY) competition was launched in 2014 by photographer Stuart Low, it now attracts a global audience and provides a showcase for Scotland. Winning works can be seen on the SLPOTY competition website.

David Booth, General Manager of South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture said: “We are absolutely delighted by Dylan’s success in the Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year and thrilled that his winning portfolio included a stunning image of Chatelherault.

“It is wonderful to hear someone as immersed in the natural environment as Dylan championing our park as a place to experience nature and enjoy the outdoors. We hope his success will encourage more people to enjoy all that South Lanarkshire’s parks and outdoors have to offer.”   

Aside from pursuing his own photography Dylan is a passionate advocate for encouraging others to be creative. He is a regular contributor to online photography groups and even started a weekly competition with the unusual arrangement that one week’s winner is the following week’s judge.

He said: “I wanted to create an environment that allowed much more room for different opinions, each new judge brings their own preferences and criteria and I think in turn that helps people realise judging photography is very subjective and taking part in competition can be more about your own growth rather than just winning or losing.

“The setup also means I can enjoy the competition while it largely runs itself. I have been able to publish four not for profit books of the 52 winning images over the course of a year which are a fantastic celebration of the diversity of work being produced.”

A train driver by profession Dylan gets to view Scotland from his cab and travels far and wide to capture his unique takes on the natural world, but what he finds on his own doorstep can be just as inspirational.

He said: “Chatelherault is a great place to explore. For one it’s local so there is no travelling meaning I can there when I have a small window of opportunity. With that I get to know it quite well with all the little quiet areas with some fascinating woodland and areas where light can get in at different times of the day and it’s differing effects. It also has variety with the Avon Water at the foot of the gorge, there are always things to shoot along its shores.

“Most of my work tends to be small intimate scenes like ‘Vice Versa’, it’s something I've grown to love. It’s easy to think of a photograph as a big vista of a grand landscape which we all love but within that big landscape is lots of little areas that make that image up.

“It like a play or a book, the whole story is captivating but only if the characters are interesting or intriguing and if you take those characters on their own and study them then we can create something equally engrossing. There is also the point that sometimes you can only work with what is around you and in that regard it is very much about looking and learning to find things that are right in front of you.”

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