With pure luminosity reflecting on dark matter and vast expanses of sky, sea and land, Iain Stewart’s photographs have a dream-like quality that hovers on the threshold of consciousness. His landscapes are either familiar places he frequents often or special places that he empathises with immediately, like Cape Wrath. Born in Yorkshire of Scottish parents who were both doctors, he regularly visited Scotland while growing up, loved it and always knew that this was where he would eventually settle down.
He chose to study textile design at Edinburgh College of Art in the 1980s but was always drawn towards painting and photography which was not yet a full curriculum, and inspired by great photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank. He was however able to do a Master degree in photography, the only student on the course, and this is where he learnt his skills from his tutor and mentor Murray Johnson. This somewhat circuitous approach taught him not to let technicality get in the way and hinder his creativity.
He recalls that his first body of work was a series of portraits of his father’s patients from the newly born to the terminally ill. This assignment proved to be a determining experience that made him aware of that special connection between practitioner and patient. It was also to bring him some important commissions from the medical field later in his career.
Iain Stewart has works in the Sanctuary of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, a non-denominational space for reflection and prayer where his meditative and immersive seascapes fittingly welcome visitors, drawing them in with uninterrupted lines and colours. He exhibits widely at home and abroad and is represented in many collections including that of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
Iain Stewart's blog
Art in Healthcare's blog entry about Iain Stewart