I am delighted, and a little nervous, to announce news of this. For the last year I have been working on a documentary with award-winning film-maker Mike Webster from Inverness, supported by Petzl.
‘Down the Rabbit Hole’ is an adventure film, but it is also an honest exploration of mental illness and recovery. In 2018, aiding my recovery from a relapse of mental illness, I set out with Mike Webster on the ambitious task of trying to produce the best photographs yet seen of some of Scotland’s most recently discovered caves.
I don’t want to reveal too much here. But in this film we say some things that are not often said, and we shine a light on the subterranean world that most people don’t realise exists beneath Scotland.
An ambitious task
If any other film-maker had approached me about this, I would have immediately refused. This is a film which could only be made with trust and friendship, as I really bare my soul. Mike Webster and I have been friends for 4 years, and he possesses exactly the right combination of qualities to make him the right person to direct this film. Not only is he open and willing to talk about subjects such as mental illness, he is also adventurous, fast-learning, and willing to endure a fair amount of suffering in the name of filming and photography.
He had never been caving before our first trip together, let alone shot a film inside a cave. Thankfully he proved to be a natural, much to my relief. It is hard to over-state just how difficult it is to shoot a film inside the caves we visited – in general they are tight, strenuous, and prone to flooding. To our knowledge, he is the first film-maker to have shot inside these caves, some of which have only been discovered this decade.
My interest in these caves started a few years ago when I read about a remarkable discovery made on the Applecross peninsular. Cavers from the Grampian Speleological Group had been searching for un-discovered cave entrances, when they came across a tiny hole beneath some trees. After removing some rubble from the hole, they squeezed down a tight slot to find a sizeable cave passageway stretching into the distance. The cave revealed itself to be unlike anything else yet found in Scotland, containing thousands of stalactites and pristine calcite formations.
Since the discovery in 2011, several other spectacularly beautiful caves have been found in Scotland. To my knowledge no other professional photographers have been into most of these caves, so the potential for a photographic project was immense. It is still a very much ongoing task, but ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’ provides an insight into what is involved.
We are delighted to have the world premier of ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’ at Inverness Film Festival on the 10th November at Eden Court cinema.
A solo photography exhibition
I am also delighted to announce that I now have a solo exhibition of the images I shot for the film, in the 1st circle gallery of Eden Court, Scotland’s largest combined arts venue. The exhibition runs throughout November.
A huge thanks to Petzl for their support and providing caving equipment for the making of the film. Also a huge thanks to Inverness Film Festival and Eden Court.