Scottish photographer Malcolm MacGregor will launch his photography book Wilderness Oman at the Bait Muzna Gallery on October 15, 2002.
Having fallen for the beauty of our landscape while working here, Malcolm MacGregor returned armed with a Mamiya 7 camera and a mission to capture the raw beauty of the land. Now he has returned again to launch his beautiful coffee table book of images that has taken over two years to produce.
‘The photography project began in November 2000 over six weeks. I decided to shoot in November and December because this is the time of year when Oman has the best light,’ he said.
The first location was Musandam where it had rained the day of his arrival, but the atmosphere cleared allowing him to start shooting immediately. After a week in Musandam, he went south to Dhofar and the Empty Quarter.
‘The Empty Quarter is a photographer’s dream. Lines, shapes and form are perfect and the complete silence makes the mind very creative,’ Malcolm told Oman Today.
From Dhofar he went north to the Western Hajars and Jebel al Akhdar – a destination the photographer describes - and camera reveals - to be ‘truly magnificent.’
‘Looking for lone trees and strange rocks made for an exhilarating experience. This, combined with clear light and fantastic sunrises and sunsets, makes great pictures. Rocks on fire and light delineating stratification in rocks meant no end of compositions. There was such a lot of scope for inverse scale which is when near objects such as rocks are rendered large against large objects like mountains that are rendered small,’ he said.
In 2001 Malcolm returned to Oman to visit Dhofar during the Khareef. ‘At last the green Oman. What an amazing transformation from arid desert to lush savannah. After this I went back to the Empty Quarter and went in search of the big orange dunes which I found.’
After shooting the exquisite dunes of the Empty Quarter, he moved along the coast from Salalah to Duqm and up to the Wahiba Sands. ‘Once again, the contrasts of Oman were fixed on my mind – going from the desert to the sea was a remarkable feeling. Camping one night in the desert in absolute silence and then the next night being next to the crashing surf near Shuwaymiyah. I remember just sitting, looking and listening to the sea as the waves rolled in one after the other.’
He spent two days in Wadi Shuwaymiyah and then visited the legendary pink lagoons and onto Wadi Tiwi and Shab. ‘Shab was great for photography. Aquamarine water – so still and silent, looking like some enormous lost jewel.’
He wanted to find something other than sand in Wahiba – to do something different.
‘I knew I had my desert shots from the Empty Quarter so in Wahiba I captured images of the aeolianite rock formations against dunes. They give off a pink hue in the evening. Again, great for photography – soft shapes and lines amongst the sand.’
His tour then took him to the Eastern Hajars – Wadi Daiqah and Wadi Ban Khalid where he found flowing water.
The final location was Jebel Shams via Wadi Ghul and Jebel Misht and the beehive tombs. ‘There were amazing rock creations using Misht as a backdrop. That was where I ended my second trip to Oman with my project.’
The results of this extraordinary journey through the Sultanate can be viewed at Bait Muzna Gallery. The book Wilderness Oman is also available at the gallery and costs RO22.