In 2000 I had two jobs, the day job was Course manage on courses from FE to HE in graphic design. The night and weekend job was freelance designer, illustrator and photographer.

I listened to a BBC Radio 4 interview with someone called Chris Stewart, he talked about his experiences living in Las Alpujarras ? Never heard of I but it sounded interesting and he had just published a book “Driving over lemons” which went on to top best seller lists for year.

Fast forward to 2001 and I read an article about Chris in either The Guardian or The Independent on the same topic, thought Hmm.

Fast forward 1 month and I got a call form a division of what was then Thompsons and is now Tui offering me a contract to photograph “Las Alpujarras”

Off I went with my friend Janet for four whirlwind exciting days which including making friends with an Adalucian Giant donkey called Burika who guided me on a 10km walk on treacherous mountain paths and my first encounter with La Alhambra

I was driving around the countryside and found a spot with incredible views one of which reminded me of Vietnam or the foothills of the Himalayas. With terraces adorned with flat topped villages and in the background snow capped mountains, (years later did guided walks in the area)

Exactly opposite to this view was on very steep drop into a gorge which I learned later was where Chris Stewart lived. To the right was a receding mountain view in that kind of etherial light you find in mountainous areas.

I was hooked.

One month later I got a contract to go to Italy for two weeks which were spent arguing with my friend about which place would be better to live.

One year later we were living in an Alpujarran village and I met Chris Stewart when he visited a small exhibition I held he walked for 2/3 hours through the mountains to see the exhibition.

I met Chris several times, supplied photos for one of his books and designed a web site for him.

Perhaps the most memorable meeting was when he rang up to invite me for a meal and proudly said “I have killed a sheep and am cooking the testicles”

He also visited several exhibitions I had in Granada.

So from hearing a person I had never heard of talk about a strange land I had never heard of, I found myself living in the area and getting to know Chris.

Below are a selection of images taken on the trip using and early low resolution digital camera and film, the photo of Chris Stewart on the right is by my friend Johnnie Whitehead

living in las alpujarras-viviendo en las alpujarras

To say it was a baptism by fire is an understatement!

Swapping cosy UK life with all its trimmings for a remote village with no shops, TV and the things we all get accustomed to, swapping central heating for open log fires and realising that SPAIN in winter is as cold and at times a lot colder than the UK.

We spent 6 months full of excitement and fun , riding mules down mountains, fiestas, incredible walks and meeting lots of lovely people like Inger(Danish) Sepp Italian, Adrian (American) and Soilei( Finnish).

Whilst there Fernando Columbo was directing a film entitled Al Sur de Granada based on the time spent in Yegan by Gerald Brennan in the early part of the 20th century, but Yegan had been modernised so they used Ferrirola as the main set which was where was living

Throughout the period we looked for houses to buy and one day a neighbour said she new of a house in the Valle de Lecrin and which was about 1/1.30 minutes away, so one fateful Sunday we set off…Chapter 3

the wild east - el salvaje este

I grew up in the 1950’s in northern England watching cowboy films and the place names, landscapes and drama stayed with me. When I first came to Spain I had no idea that Sierra Nevada, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Fe had meanings other than in my childhood fantasies and let alone place names in Spain. In 2002 I moved to Andalucia in 2002 after falling in love with the area whilst on a travel shoot. The area has captivated my heart and imagination for 20 years and stimulates my creative juices every day.

Andalucia, Granada, Murcia, Alicante and Almeria

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