Saturday, 5 June 2010

wanderings around Scotland

Browsing in a bookshop yesterday, I noticed this collection of works by the amateur photographer Erskine Beveridge entitled wanderings around ScotlandIn the 1960s, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland surveyors discovered an incredible collection of over 750 glass plate negatives. Taken between 1880 and 1919, the photographs show Scotland on the brink of major social and economic change. There are images which document ways of life which are almost shocking in their technological primitiveness especially when one realises they have been made in the relatively recent, photographable past.

But what struck me most about these images was the clarity and detail of the images rendered, as they are, in even high key tones, and in some instances, the convincing contemporariness of the photographs. They reminded me of a Scottish cross between the images of the American Photographic Survey, and the New Topographics photographers from the 1970's.

Looking over to the observatory on the summit of Ben Nevis, 1883

Vallay House in North Uist in 1901 shortly after construction - Beveridge's summer house.

The lighthouse at Corran Narrows where the Corran ferry currently operates between nether Lochaber and Ardgour. This image could have been made today rather than in 1886 when it was, in fact, created.

Archaelogical excavations on North Uist, with Vallay House in the background, 1919.

...a donkey. 1884

An image made in less than ideal conditions ion the Isle of Eigg - especially when working with large, glass plate negatives. Image made end of September, 1883

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