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In the final instalment of our three-part Highland Collective series, photographer Merlin Kafka reflects on his life in Scotland and what connects him to the landscapes he photographs.

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When did you first become interested in landscape photography? Ever since starting with photography, I have always been interested in landscape photography, however in the beginning I was more focused on working in urban environments which was what I shared online back then. In recent years I have become increasingly drawn to the outdoors - there is just nothing like witnessing magical light on a remote stretch of mountain.

In what way has living in Scotland influenced your style? Moving to Scotland a few years ago was one of the pivotal moments that has shifted my style towards capturing more natural scenes. I was immediately captivated by the Highlands and even today I’m still on a constant search to find its hidden gems, lochs and bothies.

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You're well known for images that convey a sense of quietude, be it in the far reaches of the Scottish Highlands or the midst of a Singapore street. What attracts you to this style of photography? Through my images I love to create a sense of calmness and order, images that are not overloaded visually as well as pleasing to the eye - Composition is the most important thing for me. I enjoy experimenting with clear leading lines, and centre-point perspectives. My images definitely have a sense of quietude to them, which is something I have noticed throughout the years. Strangely, this sense of darkness and melancholy is something I am not actively trying to capture or create - it’s a natural result of my creative process.

In what environments do you feel you take the best photographs? Anywhere the mountains meet the water, be it lakes or the ocean. I’m particularly drawn to rugged and isolated environments, lonely cabins, still lakes. Generally, it’s hard to pinpoint it to a specific environment - personally I find that light has bigger influence than the location. Soft morning light can turn even a simple scene into a beautiful photograph.

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How does unpredictable weather impact your work? Scotland’s unpredictable weather means I’ll always leave with at least one photograph that I had not envisioned before. The element of surprise can definitely be a challenge; it forces you to work with whatever you get. In that sense it teaches you to be patient.

Describe your favourite image from this series, and what inspired you to take it? Road-tripping through Scotland remains one of my favourite things to do, especiall. This particular photo (above) was taken in January this year during a trip to the Isle of Skye, and it reminds me of the good times we spent on the road.

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Visit Merlin Kafka to explore more.

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