Richard Kearton

Gannet, or Solan Goose (Published 1905)

About this artwork

The gannet in this picture is nesting on Ailsa Craig in Ayrshire, Scotland. This is Richard Kearton's recollection of the circumstances in which it was taken: 'Towards evening I found myself at work on a narrow ledge of rock not one whit wider than the seat of a chair, with some five hundred feet of thin air betwixt me and the sea below...Noticing that the rays of the sinking sun coming aslant through a slight haze made a beautiful play of soft light and shade upon the pure white plumage of my subjects, I fired off my last plate'.

Richard Kearton

Richard Kearton

Richard Kearton and his brother Cherry were pioneers of nature photography. They liked to show birds and animals in their natural environment. Both were incredibly fit and enduring, lying in wait for hours at a time to get the picture they wanted. Sometimes their bodies would freeze to aching or their position on the edge of a rock would be extremely precarious but their enthusiasm was undiminished. Their photographs work both as a record of natural life and dramatic landscape - a worthy precursor of the nature programmes on television today.