Renewable energy is a constant theme, which appears regularly in the new today, but Hydro energy has been prominent in Scotland for more than 100 years. The first Hydro-electric scheme was built by the Benedictine monks of Fort Augustus Abbey, on the west side of Loch Ness in 1890. It wasn’t until after the Second World War that the major Hydro schemes began construction. The Highlands of Scotland were recognised as an ideal place to build and develop Hydro power, as they have some of Britain’s highest mountains and largest inland lochs. By 1965 seventy-eight dams had been built, along with fifty-four main power stations, with a total generating capacity of 1000 megawatts.
These dams, born in a time of major post-war upheaval, cast geometric shapes in the landscape which contrast with the contours of the natural rocks and hills. Today I feel that the dams have grown to be part of and have even shaped and enhanced the land they occupy. They have become iconic landmarks in Scotland, sculptural artefacts which combine utility and grace.
These images question the notions of romanticism in nature and embrace the faith and optimism of the post-war years industrial intervention as part of the natural modern aesthetic of our landscape. They are a potent reminder of how nature and industry can, when considered carefully, work together in harmony.