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Images of Orkney inspire the imagination

Travel to Orkney is restricted at the moment which means anyone longing for a trip to the islands has to rely on their imagination instead.

Orcadian contemporary composer Erland Cooper has spent the last few years helping people around the world get a sense of Orkney from afar through his beautiful music, inspired by the sights, sounds and the people that call this archipelago home.

Now he has released a stunning series of limited-edition books featuring photography from the islands – the perfect accompaniment to his trio of Orkney-influenced albums.

'An Orkney Triptych' is a set of hardback books billed as travel companions curated by Erland and his long-time collaborator, photographer Alex Kozobolis. “I’ve worked with Alex across my trilogy of Orkney albums for several years now,” says Erland.

“Along with shooting nine short films together, he has taken hundreds of photographs on our trips to the islands. It's been a joy to curate these together into three rather special peedie books.”

All the images were shot by Alex during his time in Orkney, including visits to places like Stromness, Hoy and the wild coastline of the West Mainland. “It is often difficult to answer the question of what catches a photographer’s eye as I do find there is something to photograph everywhere,” says Alex. “In Orkney, the constantly shifting light and weather conditions do regularly re-contextualise pretty much everything you can see on the islands.

This means you are very rarely looking at the same view twice over. That in itself is inspiring.

The books have been designed by Kathy Kielty and all include a map of Orkney. Only 100 copies of each have been printed and they are all numbered, signed and dedicated. The first book is sold out, with only a few copies of book two available. Book three is available to pre-order now. 10% of the proceeds will go to RSPB Orkney to help with the charity’s conservation work in the islands.

For Erland, the creation of his music and these books through a global pandemic have helped keep Orkney in his mind, until travel restrictions are eased and he can set foot on the ferry to cross the Pentland Firth once again.

“An Orkney Triptych is a picture companion or travelogue. It holds memories to me, while also showing Orkney through the lens of a different, perhaps more abstract perspective.”


Visit Erland Cooper’s website to find out more about his work. You can also follow Erland on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Watch Alex’s Orkney films ‘Skreevar’, ‘Haar’ and ‘First of the Tide’, and visit his website to see more of his imagery.

All Orkney images by Alex Kozobolis


The Promoting Orkney project has been part financed by the Scottish Government and the European Community Orkney LEADER 2014-2020 Programme.

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