One of My New Favorite Places: Chandler Borries Shoots Outdoor Imagery in Scotland for Arc’teryx
Even setting aside his work-related adventures, Chandler Borries is a well-traveled individual. The now-Sweden-based photographer was raised in Mississippi and has spent pretty much his entire life exploring the world. It was only recently that Chandler decided to parlay this wanderlust into a photography career, and in the past four years, the extent of his travels has only increased — especially when he began working with the brand Arc'teryx.
I’ve worked with Arc’teryx — a huge outdoor gear brand — before in places like Mexico, South Africa, and Alaska. I told Arc’teryx that I was heading to Scotland in October (about a month or so out) and they asked if I could shoot some of their new cold weather running gear for their social media platforms.
I pitched Arc’teryx on Scotland as it is relevant for their brand. I really love working with this client as they’re always quite relaxed on the creative freedom aspect. For inspiration on the shoot, they gave me images of a summer campaign that they were happy with. They wanted me to focus on the in situ of the product and the subject in the landscape.
If there’s any doubt as to the strength of this client-photographer relationship, look no further than the picture on Chandler’s bio page. Even amidst a global pandemic, the two parties linked up to get fresh imagery for the client. But not before Chandler had quarantine, as per the recently updated UK rules.
The quarantine was interesting. We actually didn’t know we had to quarantine until right before we arrived, so it put a bit of a delay on the shoot. The UK was pretty strict about staying indoors, too. If you were to leave the house and they found out, you could be slapped with a 10,000-pound fine (over $13,000).
In fact, many of the challenges Chandler encountered were due to COVID restrictions. There was an outside shot that these restrictions could’ve tanked the whole trip, but Chandler caught a break and headed out to the Isle of Skye. And those other challenges I’ve yet to mention? They’ve got something to do with getting to the remote area of Scotland.
The day we arrived in Edinburgh, they were going into a “Circuit Breaker” lockdown in which they were shutting down restaurants and pubs. We got lucky because they didn’t lockdown the provinces, which meant we were able to travel to Isle of Skye.
The shoot lasted two days in three locations. We drove from Edinburgh to Isle of Skye, which took roughly seven hours. It was especially dangerous because we drove through the night and passed at least 100 deer on the side of the road.
Ultimately, Chandler did his thing and got Arc’teryx what it wanted. Also of note: this was the photographer’s first trip to Scotland. That makes more than 40 countries visited during a half-decade photography career. I’m sure there are places Chandler will want to visit for the first time, but he’ll be sure to tell you that another Scotland trip is in the offing.
The whole trip was quite stressful, from the two-week quarantine, to the country going back into lockdown, to driving through the night to Isle of Skye. Saying that, shooting the images in Scotland’s dramatic landscapes and seeing Arc’teryx happy made the shoot all worth it.
This was my first time in Scotland, and I definitely plan to return one of these days. So much history in the cities and the landscapes in the highlands are out of this world. It’s one of my new favorite places!
See more of Chandler's work at chandlerborries.com.
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