Artists of Orkney: Rebecca Marr

Seeing beauty in unexpected places, and turning glimpses of nature or history into elegant jewellery, is one of Ola’s hallmarks. It’s a talent possessed in abundance by Orkney photographer Rebecca Marr. Her photograms are eye-catching, intriguing, and beautiful – almost jewel like. But what do they depict? That most mundane of natural substances: seaweed.

Mirkyoo Circle


Rebecca arrived in Orkney in 2007 on a residency organised by the Pier Arts Centre. Based in Edinburgh at that point, she’d grown up in Beauly in the east Highlands. Maybe that’s why she immediately felt at home here, quickly becoming a much-valued member of our island community.

Although trained as a photographer, and exhibiting and publishing across a range of photographic media, Rebecca is also active in other creative disciplines. With her husband, film-maker Mark Jenkins, she runs Kolekto, which works on an array of artistic and heritage projects. Last autumn, Kolekto produced a fascinating ‘audio ballad’, collaging Orkney voices recorded over the past 50 years, exploring various notions of ‘Home’ – from buildings to bairns to bannocks. These memories – evocative, humorous, startling – were all found in the Orkney Library & Archive, and woven together with specially commissioned music by fiddler James Watson.

Droo Circle


Rebecca has also collaborated with, amongst others, Mark Jenkins on films, writer Valerie Gillies on a project that looked at grasses through photography and poetry, and with several archaeologists, including Mark Edmonds and Antonia Thomas on both books and exhibitions.

But photography is her first love. ‘My interest in photography and darkroom work started when I was still at school,’ she says. ‘I made a makeshift darkroom in my bedroom (and had to move my bed to the middle of the room to hide the chemical stains on the carpet from my mum.)’  Rebecca is generous with praise for Orkney photographers of earlier generations: Keith Allardyce and Gunnie Moberg, for instance, both of whose archives she has helped preserve.

Paddy Tang Circle


She now works with digital cameras as well as analogue ones. And she produces striking work by using photograms, lumen prints, and other unusual techniques, resulting in the most everyday objects – seaweed, cabbages, oatcakes – assuming surprising and spectacular beauty.

Find out more: 

  • Rebecca’s website is here.
  • Read about the rich history of Orkney photography here.
  • The Home audio ballad can be found here

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