"Tobermory" by Nic Davis, Sam Jones and Brian Swinbanks is a wonderful evocation of a beautiful and fascinating place. Tobermory, the village capital of the Isle of Mull, is one of the most attractive and photogenic settlements in Scotland. It wraps around a sheltered bay and offers what must be the most colourful collection of buildings anywhere in the country, as well as a harbour, a distillery and a ferry terminus.
This large format and nicely produced book offers a collection of photographs of Tobermory, taken by three locally-based photographers. Nic Davies lives on Mull, and is engaged in photography, wildlife guiding and the conservation of otters and marine species. Samantha, or Sam, Jones is a landscape photographer who also lives on Mull. She was RNLI Photographer of the Year in 2011 and has won a range of landscape and nature photography awards. Brian Swinbanks fell in love with Tobermory in 1974 and, as well as taking photographs, is Chair of the Tobermory Harbour Association. The photographs in the book are printed at a large enough size to allow the reader to appreciate their impact and admire their detail. Each comes with a caption and a paragraph of background. The images are not individually attributed, and the book is not subdivided into themes. Instead it is open to the reader, or perhaps that should be viewer, to browser at their leisure.
We've photographed Tobermory ourselves, though not for some time, and this book makes us want to return and repeat the experience. And perhaps that is its central point. A book of photographs can never be a substitute for a physical visit, but it can - and this one does - pique interest and prompt a desire to see more for yourself. The book opens with pictures of Tobermory itself and the surrounding area, including an excellent aerial shot printed over almost two pages. The collection then takes on a distinctly nautical theme, including assorted ships and yachts, and even a fishing boat carrying, intriguingly, a caravan. Then we move on to the natural world, including dolphins and otters in the bay, plus herons, sea eagles, falcons and (inevitably) gulls. The final major theme revolves around the people of Tobermory, whether it be participants in the Mull Highland Games, the lifeboat crew, fishermen, chefs, cyclists or others.
What shines through is that those taking the photographs in this book love their subject. The Tobermory that emerges from the pages of this book is one that we recognise, and one that we know rather better than we did before, thanks to reading it.