NEWS: Artist Simon Riddell Battles Psychological Well being in Cuillin Mountain with Moist Plate Collodion

Simon Riddell, an artist and first responder from the Isle of Skye in Scotland, has confronted the tough components of the Cuillin Mountain vary to finish his documentary Peak Perseverance. Utilizing the risky moist plate collodion method to seize pictures of the gorgeous panorama, he’s additionally documenting his journey via PTSD and goals to lift extra consciousness in regards to the psychological well being situation via his work.

“The movie goals to encourage individuals to get out of their consolation zones, to not be afraid of creating errors, however to be taught from them, and develop into higher variations of themselves.” – Simon Riddell

The Cuillin Ridge Annotated
Picture courtesy of Simon Riddell – The Cuillin Ridge Annotated

Simon Riddell - wet plate collodion portrait
Picture courtesy of Simon Riddell

Battling PTSD after responding to his father’s deadly coronary heart failure in 2016, Simon skilled acute nervousness, melancholy, and flashbacks for years afterward. It wasn’t till Covid that he was identified with PTSD and shortly afterwards he found the photographic course of known as moist plate collodion. Simon says within the documentary that moist plate collodion helped him utterly give attention to the current second as it’s an immersive, hands-on, risky, and time-sensitive method of making pictures that makes use of doubtlessly explosive chemical compounds.

To start with, it usually took about 8 hours to create a single picture. Mastering the method, he started a venture specializing in psychological well being known as Psychological Collodion. You’ll be able to see extra press protection of this venture right here.

Simon says about utilizing moist plate to seize his feelings and states of thoughts:

“To have the ability to seize these emotions and moments of despair on a chunk of glass is tough sufficient, however properly definitely worth the effort to carry in your arms a marker, so to talk, of the place you have been and to then understand that you just made it via, that these emotions have been, in actual fact, momentary and that primarily there’s all the time hope, is an extremely highly effective factor” – Simon Riddell

Simon Riddell - Many Minds wet plate collodion image
Picture courtesy of Simon Riddell – Many Minds

Double glass self portrait on wet plate collodion
Picture courtesy of Simon Riddell – Double Glass

Simon Riddell Father taking pictures with a film camera
Picture courtesy of Simon Riddell – Simon’s Father

Regardless of the compelled isolation of Covid laws, Simon discovered methods to collaborate with others to make their portraits through video chats.

“I needed to discover a manner of connecting individuals in that point of full isolation and with the ability to mix a Victorian course of with a digital technique of communication felt very satisfying, as these plates we made collectively will all the time be round and can by no means fade” – Simon Riddell

After discovering a sequence he manufactured from moist plate collodion portraits of his Lifeboat crew group members in 2022 (commissioned by Artistic Scotland and a part of his Spirit of the Highlands venture), the BBC featured his story in a current documentary on The Tradition Scene which may be considered on iPlayer or Youtube, respective hyperlinks right here and right here. The documentary follows Simon’s journey via PTSD and his use of artwork such because the moist plate collodion course of as remedy.

wet plate portrait of Simon's lifeboat team member Christine
Picture courtesy of Simon Riddell – Christine

Peak Perseverance Documentary

Peak Perseverance focuses on Simon’s journey via PTSD to restoration, together with current EMDR remedy but in addition shifting from his Psychological Collodion venture to his mountaineering adventures within the Cuillin Mountain vary in winter.

I requested Simon how he obtained into mountaineering:

“I have been exploring the outside for so long as I keep in mind, actually. I obtained into climbing and mountaineering in my 20s after which began working as a steeplejack for a couple of years. I used to rock climb all around the Highlands every weekend.” – Simon Riddell

Loch Coruisk Waterfalls
Picture courtesy of Simon Riddell – Loch Coruisk Waterfalls

He tells me that the documentary is wrapping up with the intention to complete filming by the tip of this coming winter season.

“I have been taking pictures solo, which has been actually arduous, however I’ve managed to get some nice footage, and the drone content material is epic.” – Simon Riddell

Simon’s adventures within the Cuillin have additionally included an expedition with David ‘Heavy’ Whalley to a spot the place Heavy led a rescue effort in 1982 for an American Fighter jet that had crashed. After making a plate {photograph} of Whalley, the 2 first responders then paid their respects to the crash victims and their households. It was December 2022 and temperatures had plunged beneath zero.

David 'Heavy' Whalley wet plate portrait
Picture courtesy of Simon Riddell – David ‘Heavy’ Whalley

The following Could (2023), Simon returned for a 2-day expedition to the identical place, this time, there was no snow and temps have been sweltering. Carrying a 35kg pack, he created moist plates of “Loch Coruisk, the Cuillin ridge, the ‘Mad Burn’ and Scavaig river.” One of many pictures he made options Captain Maryon’s monument at Sgùrr na Strì, a monument made by one in all Maryon’s shut pals. Captain Maryon’s stays have been discovered right here, however he went lacking from a Sligachan Resort in 1946 so it is a thriller what occurred to him. In Simon’s plate, oddly sufficient, fairly a couple of individuals have talked about that they will see the outlines of two skulls.

“I am unable to assist however marvel what occurred to the Captain, however there is no such thing as a doubt that the extremely distant view epitomizes Scottish magnificence.” – Simon Riddell

Captain Marion's Monument
Picture courtesy of Simon Riddell – Captain Maryon’s Monument

There’s a GoFundMe for Simon’s documentary, Peak Perseverance, which is linked right here if you want to assist the making of the movie!

Lately, Simon has additionally returned to his first responder service within the Coastguard. Discover extra about him and his work at his web site linked right here.

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