Our one hundredth and seventh interview in this series of intimate interviews is with talented mobile photographer Ken Matthews, otherwise known as @dallachy1 on Instagram. Matthews work focuses on the gorgeous landscapes and nature that encompasses the wonderful part of the world that he lives, Moray, Scotland. From dramatic mountain scenery to a world-famous and award-winning coastline, incredible food and of course Speyside Malt Whisky, this is one fabulous photographic location. Enjoy!
To read the other published interviews in this series including artists, Adria Ellis, Rino Rossi, Mehmet Duyulmus, Alexis Rotella, Lou Ann Sanford Donahue, Irene Oleksiuk, Kerry Mitchell, Filiz Ak, Dale Botha, M. Cecilia Sao Thiago, Deborah McMillion, Rita Colantonio, Amy Ecenbarger, Jane Schultz, Anca Balaj, Joyce Harkin, Armineh Hovanesian, Kate Zari Roberts, Vicki Cooper, Peter Wilkin, Barbara Braman, Becky Menzies, Sukru Mehmet Omur, Sarah Bichachi, Michel Pretterklieber, Alon Goldsmith, Judy Lurie Wahlberg, Andrea Bigiarini, Sean Hayes, Oola Cristina, Kathleen Magner-Rios Linda Toki, Deb Field, Emilo Nadales, Lydia Cassatt, David Hayes, Jean Hutter, Frederic Deschênes, Mark Schnidman, Fatma Korkut, Fleur Schim, Rob Pearson-Wright, Dieter Gaebel, James Ellis, Marco P Prado, Jeronimo Sanz, Manuela Matos Monteiro, Bleu Chemiko, Manuela Basaldella, Stefania Piccioni, Luis Rodríguez, Marilisa Andriani(@mitrydate) Mayte Balcells (@artofmayte), Nicole Christophe, Jennifer Graham, Cathrine HalsørPaul Toussaint, Carol Wiebe, Julie Denning, Kim Clayton (@berleyart), Karen Messick, Serap Utaş, MaryJane Rosenfeld, Paul Suciu, Susan Latty (@pause.and.breathe),John Nieto, Phyllis Shenny, Joy Barry, Max Lies Derdonk, Rita Tipunina, Violet Martins, Nizzar Ben Chekroune, Lynette Sheppard, Paul-Andre Hamel, Rejane Rubino, Susan Detroy, Rosalie Heller, Wayman Stairs, Cintia Malhotra, Anita Elle, Juta Jazz, Cheryl Tarrant, Hanni König Kaoru Shintaku David Gilbert Jana Curcio, Mary Lorincz Amado Ergana, Francesco Sambati, Philip Parsons, Kathryn Garkut Massimo Bortolini Camilla Crescini Francesca Malagoli Sidonie Petit Dirk Fleischmann, Fiona Christian, Alastair Hooley Juliet Morris Lisa Cirenza Nayeem Siddiquee (Jabaz) Efrat Sela Jose Ramon Estrada Maria Moscoso Dimpy Bhalotia and myself, go here.
What was your first childhood ambition?
My first real childhood ambition was to become a film cameraman. My mother’s cousin worked for the BBC and I’d been to see him a number of times at the studios in Glasgow. When I was old enough, I applied to take an apprenticeship but just at that moment, they announced that they were closing the apprenticeship scheme. My ambition seemed crushed before it started. I never did become a cameraman although my love of photography has never left me.
I’ve played music since early childhood. Aged twelve, along with two friends we formed a band and played local community events. Music was to become a passport throughout my life. It led to opportunities to play Celtic music across Europe when I left secondary school. Our first gig in Germany was a hugely exciting playing for a Scottish Country Dance society. However, when we arrived at the venue, it was the Freiburg Institute for the Deaf!!
My first serious job was as a tour guide at a whisky distillery visitors centre showing folk around and explaining how the whisky was made. My love and appreciation of a wee dram was formed in those years. I’m still in love!
Private or state school?
State school all the way.
University or work?
I studied computer programming and systems analysis initially but by the end of the diploma, I knew that I was interested in people and not coding. Helping people to realise a solution to the problem they were trying to solve was way more interesting than writing line after line of code. I then moved on to study youth and community work eventually taking up an apprenticeship with a regional council. Learning on the job is an exceptionally powerful way to develop skills. I’ve worked with people ever since.
Who was or is your mentor?
The most inspirational person in my early years was my Scout Leader. He developed in me a keen love of the outdoors something that has remained with me throughout my life. I joined the Scouts when I was eight years old and am still a member. I’ve been a leader myself for twenty years.
How physically fit are you?
I run marathons so would consider myself reasonably fit. I took up running at the age of forty (yup midlife crisis!). My father died aged fifty one when I was only nineteen. I was determined not to see our two daughters experiences the same thing so I started to exercise seriously. I ran my first marathon aged fifty and have run two a year ever since (I’m now fifty five).
Ambition or talent? What matters more to success?
That’s a tricky one. In general I think you need both but of course it depends on your definition of success!
How politically committed are you?
I’m hugely committed to the politics of fairness and justice. I have been a member of a trade union for nearly thirty years and have worked as a trade union officer for the last fifteen. I’m extremely disturbed by the growth of hate and manipulation of truth that is prevalent in politics right now. I’m hugely against Brexit and an absolute advocate of Scottish independence.
What would you like to own that you don’t currently possess?
I think I’ve reached that stage in life when I don’t really need or want anything really. Having my family around me, good health and watching my two daughters grow is everything I want.
What is your biggest extravagance?
Probably coffee. I love coffee and good coffee at that. I love seeking out good coffee shops where ever I go.
In which places are you happiest?
We have a family Bothy on the shores of Loch Torridon in the Highlands. My mother’s cousin (as in BBC above) and his wife rebuilt an old one roomed building forty years ago. It is a magical place, off grid, water from the stream, stunning scenery and best of all, little by way of mobile signal and certainly no WiFi!
What ambitions do you still have?
My wife and I are looking to retire in five years time and we’d love to do some travelling. I was also passed in a recent marathon by an octogenarian at mile 19. If I can still run at that age, I’ll be delighted!
What you drive you on?
My Scout leader told me “you can do nothing about growing old, but nobody said you had to grow up!” I hold on to that!
What is the greatest achievement of your life so far?
Without a doubt this has to be bringing two wonderful daughters into the world with my wife. That and managing to keep up with the octogenarian in my last marathon…..
What do you find most irritating in other people?
People who are judgemental and selfish.
If your twenty year old self could see you now, what would he think?
I’d probably be shocked at how grey my hair has gotten! I’d also be fairly happy that I haven’t grown up too much!
What object that you have lost do you wish you still had?
Probably the guitar my father bought me when I was nine years old. I played that guitar for years and although I got another one in my late teens, I still played my original one all the time. I knew someone who wanted to learn but had little money so I leant him that guitar. I never got it back!
What is the greatest challenge of our time?
I think trying to reclaim some truth and honesty in our politics, and being serious about our environment for our children’s sake. We’re being pretty poor custodians at present.
Do you believe in the afterlife?
Not really. I do believe however that the good we do during our lives will live on in our children, in the people we meet and we can all leave a legacy in some shape or form.
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