Lizzy Gadd: The Nature of a Self-Portrait Artist— SmugMug Films

We’re at the quarry and we were here
yesterday scouting some stuff. We fell in love with it and now we’re back
here at sunrise. Woke up at 4:00 a.m. to get here. It’s like a playground, playground for photographers. For me being in the wilderness brings a sense
of calm that I can’t quite find anywhere else. It’s a place where life’s frenetic pace
loses its grasp on my thoughts and become no more than simple distractions that
fall to the wayside and then I’m just simply there, present. It’s where I can
allow myself a freedom, a time without inhibition to reflect, replenish, heal. To
create. It’s a world where beauty is boundless and never fails to leave me
awestruck. I’m Lizzy Gadd, and I’m a photographer. When I think of Scotland I think of the
Highlands. The rugged mountains under wide dramatic
skies. Beautifully barren yet so full of story both past and potential. Its places
like this that draw me in and where I can lose myself to my imagination while
wandering through these wild, raw wondrous landscapes. We’re here on the
Isle of Skye. I’ve always wanted to explore this place and photograph lots
of these majestic locations. I love the mountains, the moss the trees. It can be
vast and majestic or just these little intimate spots and the forest and the
bluebells the lambs running around – all of it speaks to me. I love it. I guess I’d
call myself a self-portrait landscape photographer cameras low so I could get this
foreground grass I think it’ll be pretty cool I hope. Simply put I hike out into nature, set up my camera and I take
selfies but with an artistic spin, an ethereal twist. Literally sitting in sheep shit but, you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do. Since I was a kid I’ve always loved
being creative. I was into drawing and painting and when I started taking
photos when I was about 12, I not truly gravitated towards the things I love
most, my first love of Mother Nature – landscapes. About 10 years ago I took on
a year-long self portrait project. Towards the end of that project I
started using nature as a backdrop. I started venturing out further and
further into the mountains to take these self-portraits and in doing so something
clicked. As much as I love the purity of
landscape photos my imagination really starts to soar when I add that human
element. This was more than just a project I realized, this is something
that I needed to continue doing. When I’m out venturing exploring the
landscapes and various environments I encounter and differ drastically from a
small intimate feel to grand sweeping vistas. Much of that just comes from
spending the time and exploring immersing myself. My primary goal is to
be among the trees, the trails, the mountains and appreciate my surroundings
through my own eyes rather than a camera lens. But I still almost always go into
nature prepared. Today packing the typical red dress and gold dress just in
case also got green dress. We’ll see what we can do.. I think I’m gonna shoot it’s good here. I’m
just cutting out the best spot to shoot from. I’m thinking I gotta try a longer
lens and drop it in on that cliff so there’s just mountain in the background
and those guys. I’ll try some beach and sky too, you see what works. I certainly find a sense of freedom in
the solitude of self-portraiture. I’m most often alone when shooting these
photos and I find it to be a therapeutic sort of experience where I can channel
my emotions and my mood into my work. Then once I’m in front of the camera I
tend to forget about everything else it could be snowing or freezing winds or
hailing, but I sort of just tune out the discomfort and I accept and embrace it
all if anything it makes me feel more alive. And in a way that’s what photography
allows me to do, feel more alive. It allows me to really live wholeheartedly.
It’s opened me up to new ideas and new perspectives. It feels special almost
sacred to notice the things I would have otherwise missed with the wilderness, the world and myself. I’m Lizzy Gadd, and I’m a photographer.

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