An interview with Paul Kenny

I thought I’d try something a bit different on this rather too quiet blog. So to help celebrate the book launch of Paul Kenny’s O Hanami: The Celebration of Transient Beauty. I corralled the help of Graham Cook and we put together some questions which I hope not only enlighten you about the book, but also some of Paul’s thinking and working methods.


If you haven’t ordered a copy yet, it is published by Kozu Books, pricing starts at £40 with Special Editions available. The forward is by Francis Hodgson.


On Paul’s process

Q: You have developed various themes over 30–40 years. They are different, but do link. What is common seems to be the method of capturing them via a scanner. Do you ever get the urge to do something totally different and to try to realise your concepts using alternative methods of capture and reproduction?

A: I’m led in my methods and techniques by a possibility that appears in my head...the challenge is then to work out a way of achieving a perfect manifestation of that vision. I’ve investigated 3D printing to create a surface texture, but found it impossible to link to someone who can help make those visions real. Like so many things in my work, I expend energy pursuing something but flag and put it on the back burner until I see another opportunity or regain enough energy and space to go again.

HP were helpful and gave me some leads to the  University of West England but that lead went cold…next was a company in Madrid who specialise in 3D printing for museums...that went cold too.

Q: Taking that thought a little further, have you ever considered working at a larger format with ‘one-off’ works that are perhaps mixed media?

A: I’ve been developing my work on lightboxes for over a year. The idea to try this form of presentation is classically how my mind works; a cluster of thoughts amalgamate into an idea. I’d been pondering on the difficulty of getting work seen in a world where we are bombarded daily with more quality images every day. How can you stand out in such a bear pit of images?

On Twitter I see those overhead shots of the big photo fairs, Photo London, AIPAD New York, Paris Photo...hundreds of galleries showing thousands of people’s work. So I’ve been looking at presentation. For many years I’ve had an interest in the icons of the Greek and Russian Orthodox Church, masterpieces of maximum power in minimum form. The monks who made them call them “windows into heaven”. I’m in no way ‘religious’ but I love the idea that a small, largely two dimensional work can offer a portal to an amazing complex world.

In addition I’d seen some amazing work on Twitter by Clifford Ross around the same time I was very moved by seeing the Bill Viola installation in St Pauls Cathedral. Although these are both videos, I liked the idea of presenting digital work on screens treated like frames.

The final thread came from my love of the iPad, I use it all the time and the thought kept surfacing that my images looked better on a backlit display than in a print; all this led to my pursuit of making backlit works.

I’ve been down many blind alleys and invested huge amounts of time and energy in things that didn’t quite work but eventually after teaming up with a company in Gateshead and using 12v LED lighting lighting, I’m happy I can make them to the blueprint of my imagination.

Q: You’ve mentioned in the past that you like to see the nose-marks on the glass of framed images as the viewer tries to get as close as possible. Have you ever considered the possibilities of making your imagined dream-like world as objects that are more tactile allowing audiences to feel their magic?

A: The nose thing is about wanting the work to work in different ways from different distances. If you walk in a room or a gallery, I want the image to make enough impact to draw you to it and the closer the view, the richer the reward.

One of the downsides of the photographic medium is that people tend see it as understood in the most fleeting of glances. The whole meaning of a picture seen with the first glance.  I want my work to have that simple power but also to be intriguing, multi layered, complex and thought provoking.

Q: The explosion of digital image making has arguably liberated creativity for a huge number of people. Do you think the collateral damage from such an explosion has led to a complacency and lack of originality?

A: It’s a good question….I feel ambivalent…on one hand, yes, it’s a very crowded marketplace. Too many people chasing fame, recognition and possibly fortune. Look at the number of competitions, courses, “experience“ holidays and niche magazines and websites, it means you see the same images over and over. You have to remember, I am very clear that photography is JUST a medium, it’s not really very difficult to fathom and in truth, it has huge limitations. In that environment it’s very hard to be truly creative and make something that is special.

On the other hand I love the fact that tens of thousands of people are out there trying to be creative. I have thought that if you add RPS groups, camera clubs and other groups, photography must be the largest network of people involved in ‘creative pursuit’ in the land. And if we assume that having a creative element in your life is positive for well being and mental health, then it’s a huge positive. I love the fact that people do it.

Q: You work in series for very good reason. Do you think that the ‘artist’ as a photographer can only be taken seriously if he works in such a way?

A: This is a huge question! It needs a debate not a few words.  

I heard Grayson Perry once say, ”it’s the job of artists to notice things”. He’s right but, for me, it only becomes art when the artist combines many things he/she has noticed into one image so that ALL those noticed things are potentially readable by a viewer.

I’ve noticed how beautiful black fir trees are against a snow field, but if I photographed it, for me, it wouldn’t amount to enough for it to be art. I want to know, what else did you see, what thoughts did it set off in you and how does it relate to other thoughts you’ve had.

So making art is a process, it’s informed by other images you’ve made, techniques you have mastered but moreover, by the thoughts you want to add into the next image. This inevitably leads to work being in some kind of series.

The other intriguing hand grenade in your question is that of ‘being taken seriously’…by whom?  It’s really important to know who you want to be taken seriously by and also to be unaffected by others who seem to wield power and influence, but don’t take you seriously.

On my workshops I try to get people to answer the fundamental question ‘why am I doing this?’. Often the stock answer is, ‘I just do it for my own amusement’. I don’t think that is often the truthful answer, I think in most cases it’s far more complex than that.

On O Hanami

Q: What took you to Japan?

A: Several senior curators and notably Andy Goldsworthy commented that my work would ‘go down well in Japan’, they thought its reliance on nature, simple reduction and its contemplative content would appeal. So I wrote to three funding bodies and one of them, The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation invited me to enter a submission.

Q: Did you produce work while you were there?

A: I’m afraid I reverted to the role of eagle eyed documentary photographer. I only took my Nikon FT2 with bog standard 50mm lens and some rolls of Ilford FP4.

While I was in Japan I stayed in Tokyo mainly and had managed to agree five meetings with institutions and curators.

My one trip outside was a three day trip to the town of Utsunumya (no, I’d never heard of it either). The curator at the Tochigi Prefectural museum invited me, he had been a leading light in organising a national touring Andy Goldsworthy show.

He took me to Mashiko. Home of the potter Shōji Hamada he is dead but had been designated ‘national living treasure’. He taught Bernard Leach and his style spawned all that Cornish Habitat look.


I did get to meet his grandson Tomu who was the seventh generation to work the pottery.

I did bring some material back, some leaves, some paper and some materials.

Q: How did O Hanami come about?

A: I saw one day, on the second day in Tokyo, a big group of people in the park, sitting on huge tarpaulins, drinking beer and cheering every time the wind showered them with pink cherry blossom petals.

Back at my hotel, I quizzed a receptionist who spoke reasonably good English, ‘O Hanami’, she said, I asked her to explain, ‘flower watching’, she said, seeing my puzzlement, she thought for a long time then said ‘the celebration of Transient beauty’….I couldn’t believe my ears.

I wrote it down in my notebook and the phrase played over and over in my mind until it became inescapable.

Concepts that were forming in my mind resurfaced in 2003 when I spent 3 months as artist in residence at Mere Sands Wood, a nature reserve in Lancashire.

The catalyst that allowed all these threads to join was a very harsh winter in Northumberland. We were completely snowed in for over three weeks around January 2011 and I was forced to stick close to home – trips to the beach were out of the question for about a month. This resulted in my field of vision being restricted; I was forced to work with the world around my feet. Teasing some scraps of natural material from under the snow or from the ice in the frozen garden pond, I began making a new body of work.

Q: What themes and inspirations do you feel are at the heart of O Hanami?

A: Truth
Power of nature 
Rhythms of the seasons 
Phases of the moon
Fragility of nature
Linkages between micro and macro
Destruction of Nature in pursuit of “progress”
Mapping the land 
Separation of the land for commerce (field and road patterns, grid lines)

While in Japan I developed half-formed thoughts and ideas about an English ‘Hanami’ – fleeting manifestations of natural beauty, of flowering Blackthorn, of paper thin sheets of silver birch bark, or the slow firework explosions of cow parsley and hogweed in the hedgerows. 

During the harsh winter, I sought out beauty and fragility in the scraps of gathered material from my garden and the hedgerows, mindful of my concerns about the landscape and the scars and marks left by man as the land is ordered and shaped, clipped and manicured.

As the winter moved on, dead hosta leaves evolved into relief maps; the wind lashed and stripped paper-thin sheets from the birches around the pond; the silver leaves of last summer’s bedding plants were flattened and creased by the weight of snow and ice; on a dog walk, the ash keys lay like an ordered shoal of goldfish on wet tarmac; the farmer clipped and levelled and straightened the few remaining hedgerows; at the entrance to my studio, blown from another garden, the dried heads of hydrangea flowers appeared; the slivers of windblown leaves sat frozen on the surface of the pond like scraps of maps or aerial photographs…these and many more layers were the roots of the winter’s work. 

As winter led into spring, I saw the possibility of forming a coherent body of work encompassing the whole year cycle. A series made from the landscape, about the landscape around home and studio, using material which follows the seasons and their cyclical pattern of brief, but spectacular existence. 

Q: Is O Hanami related to Seaworks which has been your predominant project over your working life, or do you think it is a separate direction/project

A: I don’t really see a difference in the two series, they are about the same thing really, it’s just evolved that it splits into Land and Sea. There are references to my whole 40 years of work and comments about here and now. 

Q: Have you created new work for the book or are there plans to create new work with O Hanami in the future? (I found that working on my book gave me a nudge to push on with my project in a new direction)

A: There are some new works in the book, prompted mainly by two devastating storms which ripped through Northumberland about September last year.

I’ve also started growing and drying specific flowers with a view to making work in the winter.

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions Paul, and good luck with the book!

Paul is currently exhibiting at The Lowry, Salford in Expect the Unexpected 29 Jun–29 September and O Hanami: The Celebration of Transient Beauty at Gavagan Art in Settle Town Hall from 13 July–17 August

Video feature

Life is zipping past quickly at the moment, so I completely forgot to link to Greg Whitton’s Quickshotz video which contains a feature on The Prismatic Pond, my recent and current series looking at a small grotty pond in a local country park.

This may seem an unpromising concept for a series, but take a look for yourself. The piece about the project is at about 21:20 in, but why not watch the whole video!

London Independent Photographers 30th Annual Exhibition

Naturally this is an after the event post, but last week I had two Warped Topographies in the London Independent Photographers 30th (LIP30) Annual Exhibition.

The LIP30 exhibition is part of the vibrant Photomonth East London. And it was a real pleasure to have had a couple of images selected for it.

It was held at the Espacio Gallery in Bethnal Green Road, a gallery I really like and have exhibited at before.

The Private View was held on Thursday 4th October and was properly packed! Thanks to all who came along.

These were printed and mounted by Metro Imaging in London. I decided to print these at a larger size than I have previously, so the images were approximately 48cm square, printed onto Hahnemühle Photo Rag 308gsm and then mounted onto 5mm Foamex Board and they certainly worked presented like that. Aside from anything else there were no reflections from overhead lighting which can be a bugbear.


And here’s a pic of me with the image pair, looking pretty happy!

Warped Topographies – a Kozu Book

I am thrilled to announce that Kozu Books will be publishing my book Warped Topographies in July 2018.

Kozu Books are well known for their high quality small format Landscape Editions. This will be a bit different as befits the rich textures of this series.



Book Details

Size: 215mm X 268mm Portrait
Soft Cover: Fedrigoni Uncoated 300gsm - Matt Laminated Cover
Text: 64pp Fedrigoni Uncoated 170gsm
PUR Bound

Please note: This is a bigger publication than our Landscape Edition series.

UK Shipping via Royal Mail
International orders are sent via Royal Mail

You can pre-order the book now from Kozu for £14, it ships in early July

If you spend over £30 with Kozu before midnight Sunday (29/04/2018) you get 10% off with the Promo Code: PHOTOBOOK


Until May 6th, these three Warped Topography images are being exhibited at the Patchings Gallery in Nottingham as part of the #Connected2018 exhibition.


Each is available as a framed print for £95, of which £50 will be donated to Young Minds the #Connected2018 suggested charity.

If you would like to buy one please contact Patchings Art Centre or contact me via Twitter.

Alternatively unframed prints are available in the Print Sales section of this site. A donation of £30 per print will be made to Young Minds.

You can also visit the Connected Exhibition Charity Auction site and bid on a huge number of items and it all for a great cause!

2 years of Warped Topographies

Today (March 26th) marks the second anniversary of my first Warped Topographies post on Instagram, a series that has become something of an obsession ever since. It was a project that I’d begun about a month before and I decided to use Instagram as a diary and post it all.

Warped Topographies 0

Warped Topographies 0

But three years before that this Polaroid was the genesis of the project. I had been playing with a Polaroid camera and this image popped out. It was faulty, but I really liked it. Every so often it would reappear on my messy desk and I’d smile at it, thinking failures can be beautiful too. But it wasn’t until February 2016 that it all clicked.

If you would like a print, then visit my store. Three framed prints will be part on the #Connected 2018 exhibition in April, so if you’re in the Nottingham area come along to that!

Thank you to everyone who has liked, encouraged, shared and bought this series, you are all wonderful 😄

Feature in the RPS Journal

2018 gets off to a nice start with a feature in the RPS Journal about Warped Topographies, click the thumbnail to read the full article.

Print Sales now live

The Royal Photographic Society is featuring my Warped Topographies panel in the Distinctions section of their site. This section is used to inform potential applicants of what is possible in the category and it is a real honour to be featured.

It's prompted me finally to get print sales live on this site. You can buy any one of the prints in the panel and there is a special edition custom-made image too.


The initial set of prints are the images that gained me my Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society. They are printed at 9" x 9" on Fotospeed Signature Natural Soft Textured Bright White 315, with a minimum 1" border for framing.
Each print in this category is presented in a Limited Edition of 10, signed and stamped by the artist.

They will be shipped as soon as possible after the order in a solid cardboard tube. Postage is included in the cost. (Note: as it is the holiday period and postage might be unreliable, prints won't be shipped until after Christmas)

Initial price for these prints are £50 + VAT. Currently shipping is to UK and Europe only. 




I am also offering a unique custom-made image.

I will shoot a Polaroid and apply the processes used to create a Warped Topography image. At some point it will be ready and I will scan it and produce a print.

It will be a limited edition of 1 print. I will only use a promotional image for marketing purposes but no further prints will be made.

This is a great opportunity to own something wildly unpredictable. Due to the nature of the process it could take 2-3 months to produce, depending on materials, weather and temperature!

As it is an extended process I will keep you informed every couple of weeks as to how it is progressing.

They are printed at 9" x 9" on Fotospeed Signature Natural Soft Textured Bright White 315, with a minimum 1" border for framing.
Each print in this category is presented in a Limited Edition of 10, signed and stamped by the artist.

They will be shipped as soon as possible after the order in a solid cardboard tube. Postage is included in the cost.

Initial price for these prints are £200 + VAT. Currently shipping is to UK and Europe only. 

22_Pot Luck.jpg



From the L to the A to the F

I am delighted and proud to announce that I have just been awarded the Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society with my panel of Warped Topographies Polaroids.

October 2017 Hanging Plana.jpg

This project has been my obsession for the last 20 months (as you might have spotted!)

As usual with a creative endeavour such this it doesn’t come without help, encouragement and inspiration from many sources.

So in typical Oscars fashion thanks must go to: Mark Gould for pointing out that this set of images could form the basis of a Fellowship Panel.

For general encouragement along the way, Sean McCormack, Rob Knight, Tim Parkin and Karl Mortimer.

For deeper encouragement during existential crises, Rob Hudson and Al Brydon.

Paul Mitchell who mentored me through the choppier waters of the Fellowship Process.

Instagram user Florintintin who provided some early technical advice!

Paul Kenny whose work provided huge amounts of inspiration and also showed that creative work needs time and patience (although I'm not sure any of my images took multiple months to produce!)

And of course, my wife Janette, and my children Charlotte and Harry, who have had to put up numerous Polaroids strewn around the house and lots of. "What do you think?…"

Happy Accidents on Pryme Editions

One of my newer Warped Topographies has been selected for Prime Editions' Happy Accidents September 2017 online exhibition.


The joy and frustration of shooting instant film is that you can't always guarantee what you will get. The process of my Warped Topographies series has been to use that unpredictability and  push it as far as possible.

The Happy Accidents exhibition highlights 40 images which have become works of art in their own right.



Warped Topographies featured on Inside the Outside

I'm delighted to announce that my project Warped Topographies has been featured this week on Inside the Outside.


Inside the Outside is a collective run by Al Brydon, Rob Hudson, Stephen Segasby and Joseph Wright.

"Whether we simply enjoy being in the landscape or are involved in its representation the question we will all confront at some stage is ’How do we relate to the landscape?’. There is the inescapable awareness that we are of nature and yet apart from it. And although we can see and even imagine nature, it is beyond our abilities to fully comprehend it. Plus we all become aware that the land is not only changed by the hand of people, it can also change us.

Being in the landscape (and representing the landscape) is to simultaneously inhabit two worlds, the one before us and the one inside us. And when those two worlds collide and intermingle the result can often surprise.

When John Muir wrote “I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” (John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir.) he expressed a key element of that two way transformative potential.

Taking inspiration for their name from Muir’s words the Inside the Outside collective are a diverse group of photographers that share an awareness of that potential and for whom it has become an essential element of their work. It is a question they commonly explore, but in highly individual and personal representations of the land around them.

Dealing as it does with the reality of what is before us, and also with the often unspoken ability to express something of our inner selves, photography is the perfect medium to explore our relationship with the land. And it also the perfect medium to mediate between those two simultaneous worlds of being there experiencing and the revelations that occur when we open ourselves to the creative possibilities of that liminal space.

Our aim is to share ideas, derive greater insight and inspiration by working together, exhibit our work collectively and to run associated events, talks and workshops."

RPS Biennial 2017

I'm pleased to announce that one of my images, Flow, has been selected to be part of the Royal Photographic Society Biennial 2017.



From the RPS website:
"Members worldwide were invited to submit their images to an open call competition, which was reviewed by a selection panel. The selected work celebrates the diversity of imagery being created by our community of members, at all levels of photographic practice.

The exhibition tours the UK from March and also includes work from some of The Society’s Honorary Fellows, which has provided the selected photographers the rare opportunity to exhibit their work alongside some of the most respected names in photography today."

The exhibition dates are:
4–26 Mar,  Shire Hall Gallery, Stafford
1–16 Apr,  intu, Watford
22 Apr–3 Jun,  The Point, Doncaster
24 Jun–5 Aug,  Warrington Museum and Art Gallery, Warrington
18 Aug–21 Sep,  Washington Arts Centre, Washington
30 Sep–12 Oct,  Hull International Photo Festival, (Hull City of Culture)
4 Nov–7 Dec,  Royal Albert Hall, London. The exhibition can be viewed when attending performances or on a number of free public open days - dates TBC. 

2016 Lookback

Producing a list of favourite images of the year is a popular thing for photographers to do, in part it is a great way to assess what has changed over the year, but it's a hard job to sift through your work and choose a reasonable number. I failed to get it down to the 10 or 15 others have managed. 

This year was, for a few reasons, my most prolific year of photography since I bought my Canon D60 back in 2002. Unlike Doug Chinnery, I don't tend to delete images in an end of year cleanup and this year I have shot a lot of timelapses and taken the opportunity to get out and about with the camera as much as possible. Prolific doesn't always mean high in quality, but I hope that I'm learning and improving all the time.

Most of the year has been taken up with a big Polaroid project, Warped Topographies. I have used Instagram as the main place to post these. From March onwards (other than a few Facebook posts) it has all been Polaroids! I've chosen not to post any of them in this list as it might go on a bit.

2016 saw my first exhibition the RPS International Photobook Exhibition and I'm looking forward to showing some of the Warped Topographies at #CONNECTED in April.



A birthday trip to Iceland in February proved to be wonderful. We stayed at the end of the Snæfellsnes peninsula. It was fabulous; the colours, the isolation, digging out various people who'd got stuck off road with inadequate vehicles and my first sight of the Northern Lights made it very special.

Mountain Light

Mountain Light

Hellissandur Beach

Hellissandur Beach

Northern Lights

Northern Lights

Filigree Ice

Filigree Ice



We are blessed with plenty of green belt space where I live. Although it isn't spectacular there is plenty of scope for intimate studies, and I have kept revisiting the same spaces to see the changes over the year.

Osier Marshes

Osier Marshes

In April I went on my first photographic workshop with David Ward and met some lovely people including Karl Mortimer, David O'Brien, Paul MitchellGraham Cook, Alex Winser, Gary Lever, and Paul Davis. It was a beautiful day and despite losing my glasses, I had a thoroughly enjoyable time. I could post loads of images from the day but will limit myself to one. The workshop's focus on colour, texture, light and intimate detail was perfect! And I got to stand next to Karl as he made his shortlisted image for LPOTY!



Madeira was a beautiful place to visit in the summer. It had suffered from forest fires only a few weeks before and many places had been badly affected. Despite that the devastation proved very photogenic. 

Funchal's Botanical Gardens

Funchal's Botanical Gardens

Palm Leaves

Palm Leaves



A tipoff from the aforementioned 'Texture Twins'; Alex and Graham, led me to Faversham boatyard for some colour and decay.


The dreaded misty trees struck on an early morning trip top Cuffley Great Woods.

A day trip for some street photography and food!

I went to the OnLandscape: A Meeting of Minds conference and this was taken before the second day started. The conference was inspiring and it was also good fun to meet with 'online' friends and meet new ones.


Pooley Bridge

Pooley Bridge

The 48
With these two I took some inspiration from the talk given by John Blakemore who talked about using multiple exposures to show time passing. He sometimes used up to 48 exposures (but never 50!) so I followed the master to the letter!

A lovely morning in the local playing fields; low lying fog with the sun burning through

The final image is of lichen taken up on the Cleveland Way in the North York Moors between Christmas and New Year.

Those Lost Souls

It isn't often that I get to shoot images when the weather is -3C, with 20m/s winds, in the middle of a snowstorm, while the sun still shines, but I'm mightily glad I did with this set.

They were all shot on a frozen lake in Rif in the Snaefelsness peninsular of Iceland using the Fuji 55-200 to isolate the elements.

I had noticed the lake the night before but  the light was too flat, but could see the potential of the shapes, colours and what it would look like in the right light. Despite the prevailing weather conditions, the next morning provided that light.

The title reflects my thinking that the shapes and forms reminded me of Tolkein's Dead Marshes from the Lord of the Rings (a book I detest - possibly the worst summer holiday ever was spent reading it!). But also these images took on a greater significance as I genuinely thought I'd lost them. Anyone who has ever experienced that knows just how sick you feel. Thanks to Rescue Pro the images were all there and all recovered. But not until i had returned to England

There are even elements of the cloud patterns of Jupiter to be seen in the shapes; so being lost, far away with the possibilities lurking below all helped inform this work.



My recent trip to Iceland provided numerous options for big vistas. But also quieter moments of more introspective imagery.

In the Snæfelsness peninsular there are some lovely fjords with magical pastel light. The contrast between freezing temperatures, wild winds and epic views and the gentle eau-de-nils, pinks and yellow pastel colours was unexpected.

Kolgrafafjörður provided great subject matter including large amounts of crushed ice, and thin ice coatings at the shoreline. As someone who loves the detail in a landscape I couldn't resist.

Here's a small portfolio titled Filigree consisting of 8 square images. 

The Fuji X-T1, a card, and a cautionary tale

A February trip to Iceland promised much winter weather and the possibility of Northern Lights and it duly delivered. But along the way there was a heart-stopping moment.

The Fuji performed almost flawlessly. Weather-sealing, no doubt, helps a bit (but my son’s X-T10 was fine too) until one day at 12:49 a messaged flashed on the screen as I tried to preview an image, "READ ERROR". Odd, I thought, I'd not seen a card problem on a camera since the days of my Canon D60 and 1GB IBM Microdrives.

As I was busy shooting in a snowstorm, I gave it no more thought; indeed I carried on shooting with the camera until late in the afternoon. During some downtime I checked again and received the same message. My son said he'd seen it too, but pressing the right command dial button would let you scroll through the images and sure enough there were some images on the card.

Again I carried on shooting for a bit longer.

When I returned to base and checked the card to my horror the images from 12:49 onwards were nowhere to be found. There is nothing like the cold sweat of realisation that you might have lost images. Certainly nothing I want repeated!

The card used was a San Disk 64GB Extreme Pro. Fortunately the card came with a free year's RescuePRO Deluxe. The two problems were I didn't have the serial number to hand and I was limited to a tethered 3G connection to download RescuePRO Deluxe.

An aside about data connections in Iceland - frankly they put the UK to shame. For a population of under 500,000; the smallest village and even wilderness generally has a 3G connection. In the UK you are lucky to have anything outside of a big city!

An hour or so later I had the software but oddly, even though the card mounted on the Mac, it wasn't being seen by the software. I resolved to leave it until I returned.

However some research suggested that there had been issues in the past with Fuji X-Series camera and Mac hidden files.

Mac OS X generally leaves some hidden files on media (they are named .DS_Store). It was alleged that they can interfere with the Fuji writing.
Alternatively it could be something to do with the size of the card. 

There were a couple of suggested remedies. Before inserting a card to grab the images, lock it. That way the Mac can only read the images and not write anything.
It seems that more regular formatting cards can help too - as that destroys the hidden files and means you don’t get a buildup of files and hidden files.

I kept the card locked for the remainder of the trip and then used RescuePro Deluxe in a Lexar Card reader on my return home.

Fortunately all the images were restored and apart from renaming them and removing files with the .tif or .pcx extension all was good.

Thanks need to go to Matthew Lee in Tech Support at LC Tech Support Services Ltd, who helped me through some worrying times!

Generally my card usage and backup regime is pretty good, but this has certainly given me cause for further thought.