Calum is a Project Manager at NB and joined the team in December 2020. He's had a wide and varied career to date, doing everything from working as a journalist in the Middle East and as a commercial photographer in Shetland to working in a youth hostel in the Lake District and as a painter/shotblaster for the oil and gas industry. Having trained in photojournalism, he is a passionate photographer and, in recent years, has juggled photography projects with web design and development work. In his spare time, he enjoys researching current affairs and has a particular interest in human rights. He also enjoys spending time outdoors – walking, cycling, trail running and kayaking. He an avid baker too, making bread and cakes.
We asked Calum a few quick questions, so you can get to know him better.
1. Tell us a surprising fact about yourself...
My surname isn't made up!
2. What are your top 3 life highlights?
Hitchhiking between monasteries during winter in Ladakh, India – I was working on a photographic project on Buddhist monasteries in the Himalayan region of Ladakh. I was often having to walk long distances and hitchhike in military vehicles or on the back of pickup trucks. Often the roads along the mountainsides would collapse and you’d have to wait hours for the roads to be rebuilt. I met some incredible people, all very hospitable, and stayed in very beautiful locations in the mountains.
Travelling around Europe with my partner and our dog in our self-converted campervan – My partner and I decided to convert a Transit van into our home for a year and a half. We stayed in the van in Shetland for a winter before going to the Lake District to work for a summer. We then toured around Europe for four months visiting France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Austria and Slovenia. The trip was in the winter months, and everywhere was very quiet. It was also amazing to spend this time of year among the mountains in the Alps. Also, our golden retriever, Alba, really loves the snow.
Working as a journalist in the Middle East – I spent three winters in Israel and Palestine. The first winter I was based in a town called Sderot in Israel, on the border of Gaza, reporting on the effects of daily rocket fire. The following two winters I was based in Ramallah in the West Bank, reporting on the Israeli occupation. At times it was quite challenging, sometimes scary and often very sad; but the people I met were very welcoming and I enjoyed the camaraderie with others I was working with.
3. Have you ever been told you look like a celebrity?
I used to get told I look like Paolo Nutini.
4. What did you want to be when you were a child?
A commercial pilot. I had a bit of a fascination with planes and flying when I was young. I had aspirations to train to be an airline pilot, despite also being terrified of flying for some time.
5. What are your most overused words or phrases?
I’m not sure. I generally don’t speak a huge amount, so I like to hope that when I do I’m not just using the same phrases over and over again.
6. What is your favourite aspect of your job?
I like that there is quite a large group of people all working together to achieve a common goal and that they all seem passionate – they’re not just turning up, everyone seems very involved.
7. If a friend came to visit Shetland, what would you take them to see?
I would probably take them out kayaking if the weather was nice – Boddam to Levenwick is a nice one that features some pretty cool caves. If not, I’d take them somewhere to embrace some stormy weather – probably the cliffs at Silwick.
8. What is the most important personal attribute that you bring to your job?
I think I’m quite quick at learning new things – I guess this is important for working in an industry that deals with constantly changing digital technologies.
9. What technology innovation has made the most impact on your life?
The creation of the photographic process. Photography has always been a big part of my life – I’ve owned a camera since I was in nursery. Digital photography didn’t really change much for me, so I’d have to credit the original creation of the photographic process or the invention of 35mm film.
10. What would you name your boat if you had one, and why?
I enjoy reading about polar exploration so I’d probably name my boat after one of the great polar explorers or after one of their boats - Probably Gjøa, this was the name of Roald Amundsen’s boat that he used to traverse the North-West Passage.
11. How would you convince someone to visit the place you love the most?
Through showing them mediums I know a lot about – photography and websites. Or creating my own for them... I recently imparted all of my knowledge and tips about Cairo (not the place I love the most, but somewhere I’ve spent a fair amount of time) into a basic webpage for a friend to have while they were in Cairo. This was to act more as a guide, but the same idea could be effective for convincing someone to visit a certain place.