‘The contradictory or paradoxical thing is that in documentary the real things depicted are liable to lose their reality by being photographed and presented in that “documentary” way, and there’s no poetry in that. In poetry, something else happens. Hard to say what it is. Presence, let’s say, soul or spirit, an empathy with whatever it is that’s dwelt upon, feeling for it – to the point of identification.’ – Margaret Tait
Drawing on a wealth of unseen archival material, including sound recordings, film rushes, offcuts and unpublished notebooks, Luke Fowler’s new feature film focuses on Margaret Tait, one of Scotland’s most enigmatic filmmakers. The film takes one of Tait’s unrealised scripts for Channel 4, entitled Heartlandscape: Visions of Ephemerality and Permanence, as its starting point and considers Tait's life and work grounded within the landscape of Orkney. Tait was not interested in filming the scenery but instead looked at the precise details that constitute a place, the small things that are often overlooked. Exploring the process of filmmaking itself from the perspective of a fellow artist sensitive to Tait’s understanding of film as a poetic medium, Being in a Place pays tribute to the strengths in her method, the importance of fragmented bodies of work, and the intrinsic value in failure.
All images courtesy of Luke Fowler, The Estate of Margaret Tait and The Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd, Glasgow.