Faces of Inverlael

Jim Dunn Art Gallery & Museums photographer for 30+ years working with the collections, social documentary, exhibitions, education, PR & marketing.

Recent Projects Include:

  • Highland Threads
  • Museum of the Highlands
  • Our Leanchoil Project

Part of re-engaging with the historic landscape of Inverlael and Balblair was getting to know the people who once lived there. Part of the appeal of this project is the number of people within the local community who descend from the ancient inhabitants of the glen. We felt that it was important to bring the past and future together as part of this project to bridge the divide that had been created 200 years ago.


We asked Jim what drew him to the project and the style of photography that has been used?

Having been lucky enough to work with Ullapool Museum on several previous projects, including the re-display, I was delighted to be asked to work with Siobhan and Helen on the Lost Inverlael: A’ Lorg Baile Bhlàir project. Initially my photography involved recording site visits by volunteers, museum staff and eventually the archaeology team. These visits around the Inverlael area through the forestry land, along the river Lael lead to a conversation about the possibility of recording the ancestors, young and old, of the displaced families. Duncan Bain MacKenzie, whose work on researching the Inverlael township instigated the Lost Inverlael project, agreed to reach out to the many families he knew still resided in the area and arrange for me to visit homes and workplaces to take photographs. Although I have worked for four decades in photography of the Arts and Culture in various parts of Scotland, it is social documentary and working with people that I find the most satisfying, portraiture in particular has always appealed to me. Being able to photograph so many interesting people with a direct connection to the area and in particular the clearances, is fascinating for me. I hope my portraits have captured something of the ongoing resilience in these ancestors of the people who suffered this tragic historic event.