The reality of the Road, its ontology, is more than the physical strip of gravel, dirt and tarmac that winds its way around the lochs and hills of Skye. Its reality is also ‘enfolded’ in the laws, customs and practices that both describe and define its use. All of that, even our perception of the physicality of the Road, are a product of our mental agency but, are they just ‘ideas’, or do they reflect something existing beyond our individual or collective mental experience.
The second question is how we come to know the Road? This epistemological question intersects with, but is different to, the ontological question. Can we ‘know’ the Road to Elgol until we perceive it, like John Locke’s ‘slate’ wandering about blank until the stylus of perception writes upon it? Or, can we know the Road to Elgol, as a Platonic ideal through the exercise of our innate reason? The camera cannot solve the debate between empiricism and rationalism that has split western thought since the time of the Greeks. However, it can add a different dimension to knowing about the Road as experienced by those who use it and for whatever purpose.
The third question takes us into our own experience of the Road to Elgol. Edmund Husserl, building on the transcendental idealism of Emmanuel Kant, developed Phenomenology that takes as its starting point our individual experience of the Road in all its ontological and epistemological diversity. The camera is my chosen tool for both documenting and relating my experience of the Road to Elgol. Experience can be both veridical – in the moment – and reflective and my images will present both – some spontaneous, raw and uncut and some processed and constructed reflecting my life-world shaped and, indeed, transformed by the Road to Elgol.
And finally, an image of ‘The Misty Isle’ taken from the mainland, near Eilean Donan Castle.