Scotland Through A Lens: Annette Forsyth – June 2023

Chief Sub-Editor Rosie Morton speaks with Annette Forsyth about her landscape and macro photography, as featured in the June edition of Scottish Field magazine. 

You’re based in Crieff, but you’re not originally from Scotland, are you? That’s right, I’m based in Crieff but I’m originally from Germany. I’m from the very south of Germany near the Swiss border, near Lake Constance. It’s really nice and definitely beautiful there, but it’s not as wild as Scotland (which is what I like!) I’ve been in Crieff since 2000. I love Perthshire. Crieff is basically my ‘comfort landscape’, but the landscape that inspires me more is the West Coast.

If you hadn’t become a photographer, what would you have been? I was a teacher for a while. I taught English, Geography and Biology. It was secondary level teaching in Germany.

At what point did you make the shift to full-time photography? I studied Biology, Geography, and also English as a foreign language. But I’ve always loved being in nature. When I moved over here I stopped teaching and started working in our hillwalking company which is called Wandern Schottland [a hillwalking and photography tour company for German speakers] and got to know Scotland extremely well. It was a natural progression to go into photography from that. I also run photography workshops for Germans. People come to my workshops from all over. Basically, it’s German-speaking so I’ve got customers from Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg – you name it! We go all over the place. I’ve got a new tour coming up on Arran, and we go to Mull, Skye, Torridon, Assynt, up in the north towards Durness, and Glencoe.

What is it about landscape and macro photography that you enjoy? I guess it comes down to my background in Biology and Geography. What I like about the macro is getting in close and getting to see all of the minute details. I really enjoy that. But of the two, landscape photography is more important to me. I just love getting out into nature and being inspired by all of the experiences, the views and the light. Scotland is just an amazing country because it has so much beauty in it and it also such a variety of landscapes in such a short space. If you go somewhere like America, you can have the same sort of landscape for 100 or 200 miles – nothing changes. Whereas in Scotland it’s amazing how quickly things change.

What’s the main aim when you’re taking photographs? For me, it has to be a moment that inspires me. It can be either the light or the landscape, or even the mood. Ideally, if everything comes together then that’s perfect. I think it’s more about capturing my experiences.

Tell me about one of your most memorable photography trips in Scotland. My St Kilda trip was a few years ago now. It is just so remote and it’s quite a special landscape. I hadn’t seen many pictures of it and I quite like that. Nowadays with social media, sometimes it feels like you’ve seen everything before you get to a place, and it’s really nice to get that surprise and have a sense of discovery. Another trip that was very memorable for me was a summit camp which is something I quite like to do as well. I had a summit camp up Stob Bàn in the Mamores. That was just amazing. I could see that there might be an inversion from the weather forecast, and I was lucky – there was an inversion both for sunrise and sunset and it was just absolutely stunning to be up there.

Is that your favourite location in Scotland? I don’t really have a favourite location. My favourite location is really the one I’m in (if the weather is good and I’m inspired!) It changes. Generally, I would say that I love being in the mountains. I love being high up and having that aerial view. I quite like the physical challenge that goes along with it as well.

What’s the best bit about your job? It’s about doing what I love. It allows me to have all these wonderful experiences and I feel it combines all of my skills. I’m a trained teacher so I can still use my teaching skills in my workshops, and I can live my love of nature and I can hopefully try to pass that on.

To see more of Annette’s work or to find out about her workshops, please visit her website