Photographer with an eye for the old styles

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MARK T Gibson has scooped The Art House Gallery’s young artist of the year award.

The photographer was presented with his title by Tony Huggins-Haig, owner of the Kelso gallery, ahead of his first solo exhibition in the Wee Gallery, also in the town.

Images in the show include Lady of the Manor, inspired by the work of Frenchman Camille Silvy, one of the pioneers of early photography.

Mark, 22, said: “I heard about Camille Silvy in a photography magazine and instantly fell in love with his work.

“Although his images are simple in terms of composition, they are extremely beautiful.

“I wanted to try to recreate this quality in my images so I challenged myself to take some Victorian-style portraits in this digital-driven world.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

“It was taken in the walled gardens at Floors Castle and shot in medium format film to try and keep the photo shoot as authentically Victorian as I possibly could.”

Originally from Glasgow, Mark became interested in photography at the age of 17.

He added: “I am the first one in my family to go down the art route with my career, but my late uncle kept up photography as a hobby. I was always encouraged to take pictures and often found myself taking pictures of pretty much anything.

“I moved to Kelso with my partner who is training as a pharmacist and was offered a position in the town. I have used the opportunity to start my career as a photographer and to start thinking about my first solo exhibition.”

The Borders is often a favourite destination for photographers and artists. While Mark is not one to take shots of the River Tweed or the Eildon Hills, he has been inspired by his new hometown.

“I have found Kelso to be very picturesque,” he said. “The town has such architectural beauty and I have loved taking some great cityscapes which I can use in possible future exhibitions.

“I have also managed to find my favourite building to photograph in Kelso which I am to believe was an old gym. The windows are all smashed and the place is surrounded by high walls topped with barbed wire.

“I absolutely love using photographic film and I am yet to find a darkroom in the Borders, but that has almost encouraged me to create my own.”

As for the future? “After my exhibition has finished at the end of April, I will go back to the Art House where I will continue to learn and be inspired by the work around me.

“I will also continue with my photography and maybe plan another exhibition to start in the next two years.

“Eventually I want to have my own gallery and give other young artists the chance that Tony and Yvonne have given me.”

My Wee Exhibition, which is a mixture of black-and-white digital prints and images printed onto canvas, runs until Saturday, April 30. The Wee Gallery is open Thursday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm, and Sunday, 11am to 4pm.