Bauchaille Etive Mor I - Charles-Emerson-Antlers Gallery

Bauchaille Etive Mor, Scotland

Omu, Bucegi Massif - Charles Emerson - Antlers Gallery

Omu, Bucegi Massif, Romania

When Bristol-based photographer Charles Emerson was a boy, he made the trek to his grandparents’ house near Glencoe, Scotland, where he could see the looming silhouette of Buachaille Etive Mor, a mountain that carries still centuries of Gaelic folklore, stories of giants, lovers, and ghosts. Two decades later, he returned the peak as part of Myth and Mountains, for which he photographed the hallowed rocky pyramids of Jordan, Romania, and of course, Scotland.

For the photographer, mountains carry with them the fables of generations, are engraved by the forgotten allegories of eons of human history. His goal was not to capture the mountains as they stood in stark reality but rather how they emerged from memory and legend. These were the sites of sacred pilgrimages, the receivers of prayers, and the seats of the gods. For this reason, he chose to use double exposures taken from various angles to illuminate the phantom quality of mountains, to highlight the evanescent in rock formations that paradoxically have withstood the test of time.

Emerson crafted each image with a digital, high resolution frame composited with a number of film shots, some of which had been exposed multiple times or exposed directly to the light from the site itself. In each location, he battled the feral elements that dominate these wild monoliths, from the beating sun of Jordan to the wild dogs and bears of Romania.

Ultimately, suggests Emerson, it all comes back to his family and the stories of Buachaille Etive Mor. In the mountain, the photographer and his own father, an abstract expressionist, found their mythical counterparts in the Fingal and his son Ossian, born from the deepest caves. After we leave, the mountains remain, housing the ghosts of whispered tales told long ago.

As part of his online print launch at Antlers Gallery, the gallery will host a free talk with the artist, entitled ‘Experiencing Mountains: Charles Emerson Artist Talk’ on Wednesday, September 9th, at 6:30 PM. See the catalog here.

Beinn Dorain - Charles Emerson - Antlers Gallery

Beinn Dorain, Scotland

Jebel Um Ishrin Massif - Charles Emerson - Antlers Gallery

Jebel Um Ishrin Massif, Jordan

Mouth of Ossian's Cave - Charles Emerson - Antlers Gallery

Mouth of Ossian’s Cave, Scotland

Jepii Mici, Day - Charles Emerson - Antlers Galley

Jepii Mici, Day, Romania


Ossian’s Cave and Ben Nevis, Scotland

Peak of Bauchaille Etive Mor - Charles Emerson - Antlers Gallery.jpg

Peak of Bauchaille Etive Mor, Scotland

All images © Charles Emerson, courtesy of Antlers and Institute