I spent the latter part of 2012 following Mark, a gamekeeper in the Western Highlands of Scotland. His work is part of a much wider land management debate, something that I felt was poorly covered in the media as a whole, where the stories published only serve to illustrate the polemic nature of the subject.
Gamekeeping, as it was originally intended in the 19th and early 20th centuries, was actually quite detrimental to the land and to the biodiversity. The conservational movement, coupled with various farming issues (not least the use of DDT) has led to a dramatic increase in legislation that directly affects Mark and his work.
The aim of the project was not designed to show support or to criticise, but to humanise the gamekeeper, and to demystify this figure that public perception holds. The debate is as much socio-political as it is conservational, which only serves to deepen the opposing beliefs.
As for Mark, I found that he had a deep respect for the wildlife and game in his care, borne through an equally deep knowledge of the natural world. The situation is far from perfect though.
I plan to serialise small parts of this story through this blog over the coming months. There is a book for sale, for £25. Contact me if you want a copy, or keep an eye on here to get a taster. Check out a few spreads below in the meantime.