Pushing The Darkness

For every bit of light, there is dark
For every bit of white, there is Black.
For every bit of colour, there is grey
For every bit of hope, there is a question mark.


It seems to me the more light in your life and the longer that light lasts, the darker it will eventually get. It’s as if we have an equal amount of good times and bad times, joy and sadness. Which could mean the longer and happier the good times, the more you better be ready for the bad. 

The further you coast downhill, the further you have to drag your shit back up the next hill. The warmer the summer the bleaker the winter. Could this be the way life and the universe works?

The past year has been especially bleak for the Clark family. It all started with my sister being diagnosed with a brain tumor back in November 2016 (Click here for my previous post on that news). That was followed closely by a couple of deaths in the family and then my dad was taken into hospital. Then came 2017 and a stroke for my dad, followed by two recent heart attacks within a week. There's more, but I don't want you reaching for the razor-blades. 

But at this point, my sister has completed a full round of radiotherapy and is now three-quarters of the way through a year of chemotherapy. It's too early to know just how successful both treatments have been, but fingers crossed for the best possible outcome. My dad had two stents inserted to prevent more heart attacks and he seems to be doing well.

But what has all this to do with photography? A lot it seems. Creativity doesn't like trauma and worries at all. Personal work is the first casualty, because that's the stuff that takes a good bit of 'get up and go' to produce, work that doesn't have any immediate consequence if it doesn't get done. Paid work is fine because you get the call, put your gear in the car and go do the shoot. Your worries fade into the background while you get into the zone on a job.

These pictures were made on a recent trip in the north of Scotland. I've been shooting in-camera black and whites recently using Fujifilm's Acros film simulation. My X-Pro2 and X-100F are set to a high contrast version of Acros as default right now and that's what I get when I turn the cameras on. I exposed for the light on these shots to avoid blowing the highlights, but it wasn't until later that I realized these pictures represent this past year. The darkness engulfs, and the distant hope of light feels so out of reach.

Derek Clark

Documentary photographer based in Scotland, UK. Winner of UK professional Photographer of the Year 2012 in the News category and member of The Kage Collective.