Many people have asked me what happened to the old Stockscotland Photo Library? The answer is straightforward; with the advent of digital photograhy and the exponential increase in the availability of photographs on the web, I found that it could not compete as a general Scottish photo library. I didn't need uncanny powers to foresee the probable future for Stockscotland. Faced with a likely decline in the value of sales I'd begun to experiment with self publishing several years before I finally made the decision to close the library. The commoditisation of photography progressed quickly, more quickly than I'd expected. Stoked by a vast increase in the number of pictures available from inexpensive high quality digital cameras, and accelerated by their instant availability via the web, general stock photography, of the type that I supplied, became a cheap commodity. Pictures that I'd sold for fifty pounds in 1998 were available for five pounds in 2008 and the library finally closed in 2009.
I am pleased to say that my publishing venture has done well and that I now publish a range of thirty-four popular calendars which covers the whole of Scotland from Shetland to The Scottish Borders. The range also encompasses three areas in the North of England.
I always preserved the hope that I would, one day, be able to re-enter the stock photography market. Not as a general Scottish library like the original Stockscotland but with a library that would contain only my own work and which would have the struggle for quality as its founding principle. With this principle in mind I am currently attempting an unsentimental edit, prior to scanning, of my extensive back catalogue of large and medium format film photographs and of my more recent digital pictures. If any survive I hope to begin making them available via a new online library later this year.
The libraries title will be 'Escape To The Edge'. I hope this name successfully intertwines the essential strands of the venture. I'll be presenting pictures from rural and remote Scotland; her unique terrains of bog, moor, mountain, loch and coast. The Barbarian beauty of wild Scotland.
I also intend to sell a range of open edition prints from this site.
Hugh Webster, Lairg, Sutherland - May 2014.
If you'd like to get in touch please e-mail me at - firstname.lastname@example.org
I am also involved, with friend and writer Craig Moine, in a project we've called Pentland Sea. I am hoping that this project will eventually lead to the production of a range of very high quality limited edition prints. You may find the map of Pentland Sea vaguely familiar.