April 16, 2023

Scotland With Francis Mallmann - Satopia

If you have done anything long enough, you may start to take it for granted. The things that may have initially inspired you to pursue a life path, over time may become mundane. I, like many other creatives, spent my adolescence thinking, “Once I get ‘here’, then I will be happy”. But over time... one milestone to another, you realize that nothing is ever really enough… continuing to reach for that thing that is just out of grasp. This becomes a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it forces you to perpetually move forward, but on the other, each accomplishment leaves you always wanting to achieve more. It is a constant internal battle trying to decide if what you have managed to do with your career is enough, or if you should strive for more.


I bring all this up because for years I questioned whether I was making the most out of my career path. So many years of practice and areas of study have shaped my own niche in where photography has brought me. All the areas where my interest lies... photography, travel, food, adventure, meeting interesting people, etc. led to one of the best trips of my life.

I guess I need to start from the beginning. Seven years ago, after being inspired by his episode of Chef’s Table, I reached out to Francis Mallmann saying that I would love to come document his theatrical way of cooking on his private island in Patagonia. If you don’t know that backstory, you can read about the experience here. Long story short, I have worked with Francis ever since. Five years ago, the luxury travel agency Satopia found that article about my trip and approached me, saying they had several clients who were interested in doing a trip hosted by Francis, and wanted to see if I could put them in touch with his team… which I happily facilitated.

Fast forward five years later, due to this connection, they have curated a number of trips for their guests down to his island in Patagonia. As a thank you, they invited me to come along on the trip they built around Francis at Alladale Wilderness Reserve in the Scottish Highlands.

There is so much I could say about this adventure… from the meals, to the people (guests and staff included), to the landscape, and the challenge of trying to do it all justice by documenting it all through photo and video simultaneously by myself. But for now, I will let the images do all the talking.

It is experiences like these that remind me why I became a photographer in the first place… as a vehicle to experience things I would never have access to otherwise. And furthermore, a validation of all the work I have put in to form a career that revolves around the things I am truly passionate about. Don't get me wrong... Not all the work/shoots I do are as special as this… but when they are, I need to make sure I take a step back and pinch myself.


I will end this by saying, figure out what REALLY turns your gears and makes you feel like you are floating a few inches above the earth when you are engaged in it. Once you’ve figured out what that is, stop at nothing to turn that into the thing you are paid to do. In the words of Georgia O’Keeffe, “To create one’s own world takes courage.”... find yours.