Introducing Simon Butterworth

Simon Butterworth is a renowned landscape photographer based in the Scottish Borders. Simon travels around the world scouting various locations of interest to immortalise through his photography. Splitting his creative efforts between landscapes and architecture, his meticulous style lends itself perfectly to examining close up detail of far-flung destinations and towering cityscapes.

We have selected works available from Simon’s Red Road, Propinquity and Blue Fields series, taken in Glasgow, Hong Kong and Australia. Browse the collection here.

We had a chance to catch up with Simon to find out more about the inspiration behind his work and what drives him to capture the scenes he does.

What made you want to be a photographer and how did you start out?
I studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London and pursued a career performing classical music for several years. In 2003 I took a big decision and moved to Scotland so I could spend more time in the Highlands and Islands. It was at this time that I became interested in photography, I wanted to capture the amazing sights I witnessed whilst exploring this stunning country.

Can you tell us a bit about your style and how you decide on the places you visit?
I don’t consciously think about style but the pictures I produce have a graphic quality that seems to happen whether I want it or not! I have been extremely lucky to have travelled to many parts of the world as a musician, playing concerts in many different cities has given me an overview which has been incredibly useful when planning photographic trips.

You get to travel a lot for work, which must be very exciting! Can you name a few favourite locations you’ve photographed so far?
My three favourite photographic locations have to be Scotland, Hong Kong and India. Scotland because it’s a country of huge contrast, fabulous wild scenery contrasted with gritty urban and industrial landscapes. Hong Kong because it’s a city of the future….but happening now! Lastly, India because it stimulates every sense in a way that no other location can.

It’s nice that your images often have an interesting story behind them, the Blue fields for example are so beautiful! How did you find out about them?
I have to thank my Australian friend Rob for the trip to Shark Bay. He organised a fabulous tour ‘Down under,’ which included many spectacular locations across the continent.

How did it feel having your Blue Fields series shortlisted for a Sony Photographic award?
The Sony World Photographic Awards are the biggest photographic awards in the world. The Blue Fields series was picked from 173,444 entries from 171 countries so naturally, I was absolutely thrilled!

The Red Road set of images are of the remains of what used to be homes, how does it feel to see such large empty structures that used to be home to a lot of people?
Red Road is an awe-inspiring set of structures, particularly when stripped back to the bare bones. It had a reputation for serious social problems, but many ex-residents I have spoken to whilst taking photographs told me how much they enjoyed living there.

The Propinquity series is so amazingly detailed, you almost can’t believe that many people live in such close proximity…Was it just as crazy in reality?
The high-density, high-rise housing schemes in Hong Kong have to be seen to be believed. I find these buildings situated in such a spectacular landscape utterly fascinating. It’s hard to believe they are full of thousands of people living their lives in such close proximity….or propinquity!

What projects do you have planned next and where else would you like to visit?
I have become interested in the ultra-complex structures of large scale industrial production. It’s a tough subject to photograph because of permissions and security issues. I would also like to spend more time in China looking at some of the large scale infrastructure projects China has such a talent for.

A curated selection of Simon's photography prints are available to purchase in our photography area here.  

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