A photograph by Hamish asks two questions: do you want to be in the moment he captures, or is it so terrifying you would rather be anywhere else? It’s the difference between a lone skier gliding serenely down Aonach Mòr, or the gritted teeth of a climber, teetering on the edge of Ben Nevis’ Hanging Garden; the two locations are next door to one another, conjuring emotions that are miles apart.
Born in London and raised in Cambridge, Hamish moved to Glasgow for university. He studied engineering and played varsity rugby - until a spinal injury brought his playing career to a premature end. Suddenly, with time on his hands and the Highlands on his doorstep, he started exploring the rugged Scottish terrain, his injury? “A blessing in disguise.”
It was at this moment that photography filtered back into his life. “I invested in a good camera, and found myself going out before work, three, four, in the morning, just to scramble up some ridge and get to the top in time for sunrise.” Here Hamish was, at a crossroads, rediscovering a passion he had abandoned since his very first camera, a 35mm given to him as a child in the boy scouts.
His passion for adventure quickly morphed into something that would shape the trajectory of his life. “I found myself asking, could I make a living out of this? I knew in my head that if I didn’t at least try I’d spend the rest of my life wondering what if.”
Hamish trusted in his ability to drive a passion for photography into a career that involves his second love, adventure sports. He is an accomplished skier, climber and ultra-marathon distance runner, skills which allow him to coexist with his subjects and access a more natural state. He has a reputation for a “no faff” approach, never asking to stage a shoot, instead relying on his stubborn persistence to be in the right place at the right time.
Hamish had the courage to expose himself to the elements. Today, he travels the world capturing the exploits of athletes as they push their limits in harsh mountain environments. He is constantly toying with the idea of moving elsewhere, asking if Scotland is the best place for him to be at this moment; “I don’t know what it is, but there’s something keeping me here,” he says, “for now at least,” he adds. For a photographer this dedicated, anywhere is possible.
Watch General Tire and Hamish Frost tackle the rugged mountains of Scotland this Friday, click here to take a sneak peak.