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Outdoor photographer Ed Smith reveals some of his favourite Scottish landscape images ahead of new gallery opening

On the 1st of December, Eleven41, a new photography gallery, will open in the former Co-Op store in Kingussie, near Aviemore. The building has been converted into a gallery dedicated to mountaineering and Scottish landscape photography – intended to create a ‘hub’ for lovers of photography and the Scottish outdoors, and a place where locals can admire stunning works of art.

The owner of the gallery, professional photographer Ed Smith, lives with his partner Emily above the old Co-Op and has overseen an extensive refit since the store closed three years ago. The Co-Op first opened on the High Street in the 1930s.

Where supermarket aisles once stood there is now a spacious, contemporary gallery and photography studio where Ed can work. For visitors who’d like to stop awhile to enjoy the artwork, the old shop tills have been swapped for soft sofas and a newly installed wood-burning stove within the original 130-year-old fireplace that was discovered during the refit.

“The idea was to create something all under one roof,” explains Ed. “All the images on display in the gallery are printed, mounted and framed in-house, then hung so they can really be appreciated properly. Landscape and adventure photos are posted regularly on Facebook and social media but it’s nothing like seeing an image on high-quality paper, with enough space to really admire the scale and detail.”

The Lairig Ghru:
“The northern entrance of the Lairig Ghru pass is a fantastically imposing feature as a gateway through the Cairngorms. Springtime in this location offers a view of such polarity that stopping to take it in is a joy to the senses. Whilst surrounded by a lush green landscape of Scots Pine it is easy to imagine the extreme winter conditions that prevail beyond the walls of the pass.”

The gallery is a chance for Ed to combine two of his passions: adventure sport photography and the Scottish outdoors. He’s been working as a photographer for over a decade, after being inspired as a child by his father and uncle’s photos of kayaking and hang-gliding. After studying photography in Cornwall, Ed has exhibited his award-winning work around the UK and been widely published in British newspapers and supplements such as The Telegraph and The Sunday Times Magazine.

Ed has also teamed up with Irish comedian and outdoors enthusiast Ed Byrne, photographing him white-water canoeing last year as an assignment for The Great Outdoors.

“Setting up the gallery has been an adventure in itself. I like to take on a project and really go for it. There isn’t a gallery like this, so I’m excited to think that people with a shared passion can cross paths here.”

The Cairngorm Plateau – Coire an t-Sneachda:
“Experiencing a winter sunrise over the Cairngorm Plateau should be on everyone’s hit list. I love the definition of the exposed rock following some of the first snowstorms of early winter. I ski toured to the summit with my landscape gear, hunting for a vantage point with some foreground overlooking Coire an t-Sneachda. This shot reminds me of what I love about the outdoor world; within an hour of sunrise I had bumped into numerous friends on the hill getting out on their skis before work, resulting in the bonus of a few action shots to go alongside my landscape work.”

The gallery’s name – Eleven41 – is a reference to a large cairn in the Cairngorms National Park at 1141 metres. It’s a marker point known amongst mountaineers and walkers as ‘1141’, and for Ed it’s a place with special associations.

“It’s a place where different people cross paths; climbers, mountaineers, runners, skiers and photographers. The 1141m cairn is a point where adventures into the Cairngorm plateau truly begin; looking into the wilderness beyond. You’re either experiencing feelings that you’re off into the unknown, or else the 1141 cairn is a rewarding sight marking a final descent to civilisation. You know that you’re not far from the car, and nearly home!”

Eleven 41 Gallery, 35 High Street, Kingussie PH21 1HX

Twitter: @1141gallery / @edsmithphoto

edsmithphotography.com

Website launching soon www.eleven41gallery.com

Header image: Stob Coire nan Lochan © Ed Smith

Ramsay’s Round:
“I got a fairly last minute call at the start of summer from an ultra running friend and journalist, Damian Hall, who was keen to do the Charlie Ramsay Round; 24 Munro’s (Scottish mountains over 900m) in 24 hours. Despite the fact I wouldn’t be doing the full round alongside them – with 5-10kg’s of camera gear and also playing a support role – this challenge not only offered a test piece for the guys running but also for me as an adventure sports photographer. The remote nature of many of the hills combined with tracking two ultra runners on a mission, half of it in the dark, with no time to pause and the requirements of a magazine to fulfil created a great mission. I ticked off some Munro’s and followed the guys by hopping between key locations and joining them for stints where I could power through a ridge or over a hill before having to drop back.”