Posts Tagged ‘Edinburgh

07
Nov
15

Exhibition: ‘Photography – A Victorian Sensation’ at the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

Exhibition dates: 19th June – 22nd November 2015

 

In our contemporary image-saturated, comprehensively mediated way of life it is difficult for us to understand how “sensational” photography would have been in the Victorian era. Imagine never having seen a photograph of a landscape, city or person before. To then be suddenly presented with a image written in light, fixed before the eye of the beholder, would have been a profoundly magical experience for the viewer. Here was a new, progressive reality imaged for all to see. The society of the spectacle as photograph had arrived.

Here was the expansion of scopophilic society, our desire to derive pleasure from looking. That fetishistic desire can never be completely fulfilled, so we have to keep looking again and again, constantly reinforcing the ocular gratification of images. Photographs became shrines to memory. They also became shrines to the memory of desire itself.

Marcus

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Many thankx to the National Museum of Scotland for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

Hill and Adamson

Dr Sara Stevenson, photo historian, talks about the origins of Hill and Adamson’s partnership and their photography skills.

 

Scottish daguerreotypes

Dr Alison Morrison Low, Principal Curator of Science, National Museums Scotland, talks about daguerreotype portraits in Scotland and the work of Thomas Davidson.

 

Amateur photographers: Julia Margaret Cameron

Anne Lyden, International Photography Curator, National Galleries of Scotland, talks about photographer Julia Margaret Cameron.

 

George Washington Wilson

Emeritus Professor Roger Taylor talks about George Washington Wilson’s life and work.

 

TR Williams

Dr Brian May, CBE, musician and collector of stereo-photography talks about the photography of TR Williams.

 

 

William Henry Fox Talbot. 'The Open Door' 1844-46

 

William Henry Fox Talbot
The Open Door
1844-46
Salt print from a calotype negative
Plate VI from the Pencil of Nature, the first book to be illustrated with photographs
© National Museums Scotland

 

William Henry Fox Talbot. 'The Ladder' 1844-46

 

William Henry Fox Talbot
The Ladder
1844-46
Salt print from a calotype negative
Plate XIV from the Pencil of Nature, the first book to be illustrated with photographs
© National Museums Scotland

 

Calotype images are not as pin-sharp as daguerreotypes, but they had one great advantage: more than one image could be produced from a single negative. Yet both processes were cumbersome and very expensive. What was needed was a faster, cheaper method to really fuel the fire of Victorian photomania.

 

 

• Daguerreotype camera, made by A Giroux et Cie, 1839

 

Giroux et Cie
Daguerreotype camera
1839
© National Museums Scotland

This camera was bought by WHF Talbot in October 1839.

 

William Henry Fox Talbot. 'Talbot's home-made camera' 1840s

 

William Henry Fox Talbot
Talbot’s home-made camera
1840s
© National Museums Scotland

Some of his early equipment appears to have been constructed to his design by the estate carpenter.

 

William Henry Fox Talbot. 'Talbot's calotype photography equipment' c. 1840

 

William Henry Fox Talbot
Talbot’s calotype photography equipment
c. 1840
© National Museums Scotland

Camera, printing frame, small domestic iron and chemical balance.

 

Platt D Babbitt. 'Niagara Falls from the American side' whole plate daguerreotype c.1855

 

Platt D Babbitt (1822-79)
Niagara Falls from the American side
c. 1855
Whole plate daguerreotype
Platt D Babbitt ensconced himself at a leading tourist spot beside Niagara Falls, from 1853
© Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland

 

Platt D Babbitt (1822-79) 'Niagara Falls from the American side' (detail) c. 1855

 

Platt D Babbitt (1822-79)
Niagara Falls from the American side (detail)
c. 1855
Whole plate daguerreotype
© Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland

Platt D Babbitt ensconced himself at a leading tourist spot beside Niagara Falls, from 1853.

 

Ross and Thomson of Edinburgh. 'Unknown little girl sitting on a striped cushion holding a framed portrait of a man, possibly her dead father' 1847-60

 

Ross and Thomson of Edinburgh
Unknown little girl sitting on a striped cushion holding a framed portrait of a man, possibly her dead father
1847-60
Ninth-plate daguerreotype
© Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland

 

D.O. Hill and Robert Adamson. 'Mrs Elizabeth (Johnstone) Hall, a Newhaven fishwife, famous for her beauty and self-confidence' 1843-48

 

D.O. Hill and Robert Adamson
Mrs Elizabeth (Johnstone) Hall, a Newhaven fishwife, famous for her beauty and self-confidence
1843-48
From an album presented by Hill to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland in 1850
Salt print from a calotype negative,
© National Museums Scotland

 

Robert Howlett, London. 'Isambard Kingdom Brunel Standing Before the Launching Chains of the Great Eastern' November 1857

 

Robert Howlett, London
Isambard Kingdom Brunel Standing Before the Launching Chains of the Great Eastern
November 1857
Carte-de-visite
Sold by the London Stereoscopic Company
© Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland

 

Calotype photographs from an album compiled by Dr John Adamson, among the earliest in Scotland

 

Calotype photographs from an album compiled by Dr John Adamson, among the earliest in Scotland

 

Photograph burnt in on glass, a group of workmen, Paris 1858

 

Photograph burnt in on glass, a group of workmen, Paris 1858

 

 

“A major exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland explores the Victorian craze for photography and examine how it has influenced the way we capture and share images today, when more photographs are taken in two minutes than were taken in the whole of the 19th century. Photography: A Victorian Sensation takes visitors back to the very beginnings of photography in 1839, tracing its evolution from a scientific art practised by a few wealthy individuals to a widely available global phenomenon, practised on an industrial scale.

The exhibition showcases National Museums Scotland’s extensive early photographic collections, including Hill and Adamson’s iconic images of Victorian Edinburgh, and the Howarth-Loomes collection, much of which has never been publicly displayed. Highlights include an early daguerreotype camera once owned by William Henry Fox Talbot; an 1869 photograph of Alfred, Lord Tennyson by Julia Margaret Cameron; a carte-de-visite depicting Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as a middle-class couple and an early daguerreotype of the Niagara Falls. The exhibition covers the period from 1839 to 1900, by which point photography had permeated the whole of society, becoming a global sensation. Images and apparatus illustrate the changing techniques used by photographers and studios during the 19th century, and the ways in which photography became an increasingly accessible part of everyday life.

From the pin-sharp daguerreotype and the more textured calotype process of the early years, to the wet collodion method pioneered in 1851, photography developed as both a science and an art form. Visitors can follow the cross-channel competition between photographic trailblazers Louis Daguerre and William Henry Fox Talbot, enter the world of the 1851 Great Exhibition and snap their own pictures inside the photographer’s studio. They can also discover the fascinating stories of some of the people behind hundreds of Victorian photographs. These range from poignant mementos of loved ones to comical shots and early attempts at image manipulation. Photographs of family members were important mementos for Victorians and on display is jewellery incorporating both images of deceased loved ones and elaborately woven locks of their hair.

Sharing images of loved ones drove the craze for collecting cartes-de-visite. The average middle class Victorian home would have had an album full of images of friends and family members as well as never-before-seen famous faces ranging from royalty to well-known authors and infamous criminals. Such images sold in their hundreds of thousands. Also hugely popular were stereoscopes, relatively affordable devices which allowed people to view 3D photographs of scenes from around the world from the comfort of their own homes. On display are a range of ornate stereoscopes as well as early photographs showing views from countries ranging from Egypt to Australia. The increasing affordability of photographs fuelled the demand for the services of photographic studios, and visitors have the opportunity to get a taste of a Victorian studio by posing for their own pictures. They also have the chance to see typical objects from the photographer’s studio, including a cast iron head rest, used to keep subjects still for a sufficient period of time to capture their image.

Alison Morrison Low, Principal Curator of Science at National Museums Scotland commented: “Just as today we love to document the world around us photographically, so too were the Victorians obsessed with taking and sharing photographs. Photography: A Victorian Sensation will transport visitors back to the 19th century, linking the Victorian craze for photography with the role it plays in everyday life today. The period we’re examining may be beyond living memory, but the people featured in these early images are not so different from us.”

A book, Scottish Photography: The First 30 Years by Sara Stevenson and Alison Morrison-Low has been published by NMSEnterprises Publishing to accompany Photography: A Victorian Sensation.”

Text from the National Museum of Scotland website

 

Taken by a photographer of the London School of Photography, based at Newgate Street and Regent Circus, London. 'Portrait of a horse held by a groom' 1858-60

 

Taken by a photographer of the London School of Photography, based at Newgate Street and Regent Circus, London
Portrait of a horse held by a groom
1858-60
Quarter- plate ambrotype
© Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland

 

George Washington Wilson, Aberdeen. 'Balmoral Castle from the N.W.' 1863

 

George Washington Wilson, Aberdeen
Balmoral Castle from the N.W.
1863
Stereo albumen prints from a wet collodion negative
© Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland

 

Staff photographer of the London Stereoscopic and Photographic Company (probably William England). 'The Armstrong Trophy and Naval Court' 1862

 

Staff photographer of the London Stereoscopic and Photographic Company (probably William England)
The Armstrong Trophy and Naval Court
1862
Stereo albumen prints from a wet collodion negative
From the series of International Exhibition of 1862, No. 133
© Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland

It shows material lent to the exhibition by the Northern Lighthouse Board, Edinburgh, now in the collections of National Museums Scotland.

 

Mayall, London & Brighton. 'The Queen, gazing at a bust of Prince Albert, together with the Prince and Princess of Wales, married 10 March 1863' 1863

 

Mayall, London & Brighton
The Queen, gazing at a bust of Prince Albert, together with the Prince and  Princess of Wales, married 10 March 1863
1863
Carte-de-visite
© Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland

 

Cramb Brothers, of Glasgow. 'Dr E W Pritchard, His Wife, Mother-in-Law and Family' 1865

 

Cramb Brothers, of Glasgow
Dr E W Pritchard, His Wife, Mother-in-Law and Family
1865
Carte-de-visite
© Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland

Edward William Pritchard (1825-65) was notorious for poisoning with antimony his wife and mother-in-law, both seen in this family portrait in happier days. He was the last person to be publicly executed in Glasgow.

 

Cramb Brothers, of Glasgow. 'Dr E W Pritchard' 1865

 

Cramb Brothers, of Glasgow
Dr E W Pritchard
1865
Carte-de-visite
© Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland

Cramb Brothers advertised this image, Price 1 shilling each. They stated: These Portraits are all Copyright, and bear the Publishers’ Names. Legal Proceedings will be taken against any one offering Pirated Copies for Sale.

 

Marcus Guttenberg, Bristol. 'Portrait group of four unidentified children' 1860s-1870s

 

Marcus Guttenberg, Bristol
Portrait group of four unidentified children
1860s-1870s
Carte-de-visite
© Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland

 

Elliot & Fry, 55 Baker Street, Portman Square, London. 'Alfred, Lord Tennyson' 1865-86

 

Elliot & Fry, 55 Baker Street, Portman Square, London
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
1865-86
Carte-de-visite
© Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland

Tennyson (1809-92) became Poet Laureate in 1850, after the death of William Wordsworth; his poems In Memoriam (1850) and Idylls of the King (1859) were hugely popular during Victorian times, but less so today.

 

Mrs Julia Margaret Cameron. 'Alfred Tennyson' 3 June 1870

 

Mrs Julia Margaret Cameron
Alfred Tennyson
3 June 1870
Albumen print from a wet collodion negative
© Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland

 

Henry Frederick Van Der Weyde, 182 Regent Street, London. 'Richard Mansfield as Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' c. 1888

 

Henry Frederick Van Der Weyde, 182 Regent Street, London
Richard Mansfield as Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
c. 1888
© Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland

Mansfield made his name in the title role of R.L. Stevenson’s novella, made into a play and shown in London in 1888.

 

Henry Frederick Van Der Weyde, 182 Regent Street, London. 'Richard Mansfield as Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' c. 1888 (detail)

 

Henry Frederick Van Der Weyde, 182 Regent Street, London
Richard Mansfield as Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (detail)
c. 1888
© Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland

 

Francis Bedford. 'Lydstep - the Natural Arch' 1860s

 

Francis Bedford
Lydstep – the Natural Arch
1860s
Half of a stereoscopic albumen print
From his series South Wales Illustrated
© Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland

 

Peter Harry Emerson. 'Gathering Water Lilies' 1886

 

Peter Henry Emerson
Gathering Water Lilies
1886
Platinum print
© Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland

 

Peter Henry Emerson. 'Gathering Water Lilies' 1886 (detail)

 

Peter Henry Emerson
Gathering Water Lilies (detail)
1886
Platinum print
© Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland

 

 

National Museum of Scotland
Chambers Street,
Edinburgh,
EH1 1JF
Tel: 0300 123 6789

Opening hours:
Daily: 10.00 – 17.00
Christmas Day: Closed
Boxing Day: 12.00 – 17.00
New Year’s Day: 12.00 – 17.00

National Museum of Scotland website

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21
May
13

Exhibition: ‘Edith Tudor-Hart: In the Shadow of Tyranny’ at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh

Exhibition dates: 2nd March – 26th May 2013

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Another photographer unknown to me, who “attempted to use the camera as a political weapon, aligning her practice with the wider worker photography movement” and produced “images that show a sophisticated realism, marked by their directness and capacity to communicate issues of inequality and deprivation.” In other words she was using photography to fight the good fight, producing photographs that interrogate issues of poverty, unemployment and slum housing.

But there is more to Tudor-Hart’s photographs than just social realism otherwise they would not hold us so. Beyond a perceptive understanding of light and the formal elements of the picture plane there is that ineffable something that a good photographer always has – the ability to transcend the scene, to capture the chance encounter – be it the look on a woman’s face, the ensemble of children preparing vegetables or the untitled man ‘In Total Darkness’ (with traces of Eugene Atget). The aesthetic of engagement, the ability of her photographs to speak directly to the viewer in a vital, dynamic way, also speaks to the life of the photographer: studied at the Bauhaus, an agent for the Communist party, I would have liked to have met this artist.

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Many thankx to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

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2---Unemployed-Workers’-Demonstration,-Vienna-WEB

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Edith Tudor-Hart
Untitled (Unemployed Workers’ Demonstration, Vienna)
1932
Modern silver gelatine print from archival negative
30.30 x 30.00 cm
Scottish National Portrait Gallery: Archive presented by Wolfgang Suschitzky 2004
© Photograph by Edith Tudor Hart

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3---Man-Selling-Fruit,-Vienna-WEB

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Edith Tudor-Hart
Untitled (Man Selling Fruit, Vienna)
c. 1930
Modern silver gelatine print from archival negative
30.30 x 30.10 cm
Scottish National Portrait Gallery: Archive presented by Wolfgang Suschitzky 2004
© Photograph by Edith Tudor Hart

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6---Caledonian-Market,-London-WEB

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Edith Tudor-Hart
Untitled (Caledonian Market, London)
c. 1931
Modern silver gelatine print from archival negative
27.70 x 27.50 cm
Scottish National Portrait Gallery: Archive presented by Wolfgang Suschitzky 2004
© Photograph by Edith Tudor Hart

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9---Drying-Room,-Pit-head-Baths,-Ashington-Colliery,-Northumberland-WEB

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Edith Tudor-Hart
Untitled (Drying Room, Pit-head Baths, Ashington Colliery, Northumberland)
c. 1937
Modern silver gelatine print from archival negative
30.30 x 30.10 cm
Scottish National Portrait Gallery: Archive presented by Wolfgang Suschitzky 2004
© Photograph by Edith Tudor Hart

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“The life and work of one of the most extraordinary photographers in Britain during the 1930s and 1940s is the subject of a major new exhibition at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. Based on extensive new research, Edith Tudor-Hart: In the Shadow of Tyranny, is the first full presentation of the Austrian-born photographer’s work. The exhibition presents over 80 photographs, many of which have never been shown before, and includes film footage, Tudor-Hart’s scrapbook and a selection of her published stories in books and magazines.

During the 1930s, photography became implicated in the vital political and social questions of the era as never before. The enhanced technological capacities of the camera and faster printing processes offered left-wing political activists new techniques for popular mobilisation. The medium took on a sharper social purpose, breaking down the traditional divisions of culture through its quality of immediacy and capacity for self-representation.

Edith Tudor-Hart was a key exponent of this aesthetic of engagement, with images that show a sophisticated realism, marked by their directness and capacity to communicate issues of inequality and deprivation. In a turbulent decade, she attempted to use the camera as a political weapon, aligning her practice with the wider worker photography movement. Tudor-Hart’s photography dealt with many of the major social issues of the day, including poverty, unemployment and slum housing. Her imagery is a vital record of the politically-charged atmosphere of inter-war Vienna and Britain during the Great Slump of the 1930s. After 1945, Tudor-Hart concentrated on questions of child welfare, producing some of the most psychologically penetrating imagery of children of her era.

Tudor-Hart’s life story as a photographer is inextricably tied to the great political upheavals of the twentieth century. Born Edith Suschitzky in Vienna in 1908, she grew up in radical Jewish circles in a city ravaged by the impact of the First World War. Her childhood was dominated by social issues in a culture acutely aware of the impact of the Russian Revolution. After training as a Montessori teacher, she studied photography at the Bauhaus in Dessau and pursued a career as a photojournalist. However, her life was turned upside down in May 1933 when she was arrested whilst working as an agent for the Communist Party of Austria. She escaped long-term imprisonment by marrying an English doctor, Alexander Tudor-Hart, and was exiled to London shortly afterwards. Notoriously, Tudor-Hart continued to combine her practice as a photographer with low-level espionage for the Soviet Union and was pursued by the security services until her death in 1973.

Tudor-Hart’s photography introduced into Britain formal and narrative features that derived from her training on the Continent. Her method initiates a dialogue with those she photographs, very different from the more distancing imagery of the photojournalists. Along with thirty or so German-speaking exile photographers, many of Jewish origin, Tudor-Hart helped transform British photography. After the Second World War, rejected by Fleet Street and the British establishment, Tudor-Hart turned to documenting issues of child welfare. Her photographs were published in Picture Post and a range of other British magazines. By the late 1950s she had abandoned photography altogether.

Commenting on the exhibition, Director of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Christopher Baker, said, ‘We are really pleased to be staging this thrilling retrospective of Tudor-Hart’s photography. It combines stunning images with an intriguing life-story and illuminates a turbulent period in European history. Tudor-Hart was one of the great photographers of her era.’ Edith Tudor-Hart: In the Shadow of Tyranny is drawn largely from the photographer’s negative archive, which was donated to the National Galleries of Scotland by her family in 2004. The exhibition travels to the Wien Museum in September and will form the first complete presentation of her work in Austria.”

Press release from the Scottish National Portrait Gallery

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12---Children-Preparing-Vegetables,-North-Stoneham-Camp,-Hampshire-WEB

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Edith Tudor-Hart
Untitled (Children Preparing Vegetables, North Stoneham Camp, Hampshire)
1937
Modern silver gelatine print from archival negative
30.20 x 29.80 cm
Scottish National Portrait Gallery: Archive presented by Wolfgang Suschitzky 2004
© Photograph by Edith Tudor Hart

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13---Basque-Refugee-Children,-North-Stoneham-Camp,-Hampshire-WEB

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Edith Tudor-Hart
Untitled (Basque Refugee Children, North Stoneham Camp, Hampshire)
1937
Modern silver gelatine print from archival negative
30.20 x 30 cm
Scottish National Portrait Gallery: Archive presented by Wolfgang Suschitzky 2004
© Photograph by Edith Tudor Hart

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5---Child-Staring-into-Bakery-Window,-London-WEB

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Edith Tudor-Hart
Untitled (Child Staring into Bakery Window)
c. 1935
Modern silver gelatine print from archival negative
35.30 x 30.00 cm
Scottish National Portrait Gallery: Archive presented by Wolfgang Suschitzky 2004
© Photograph by Edith Tudor Hart

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8---‘In-Total-Darkness’,-London-WEB

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Edith Tudor-Hart
Untitled (In Total Darkness, London)
c. 1935
Modern silver gelatine print from archival negative
27.70 x 27.50 cm
Scottish National Portrait Gallery: Archive presented by Wolfgang Suschitzky 2004
© Photograph by Edith Tudor Hart

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Scottish National Portrait Gallery
1 Queen Street, Edinburgh EH2 1JD
T: +44 131 624 6200

Opening hours:

Monday-Wednesday, Friday-Sunday 10.00 am – 5.00 pm
Thursday 10.00 am – 7.00 pm

Scottish National Portrait Gallery website

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22
Jun
12

Preview: ‘Night’s Ocean Shore’ by Andrew Follows from ‘Through the Looking Glass Dimly’ at The Old Ambulance Depot, Edinburgh

Exhibition dates: 4th August – 18th August 2012

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This sequence is part of a joint exhibition by blind photographers Andrew Follows and Rosita McKenzie titled Through the Looking Glass Dimly to be held at The Old Ambulance Depot, Edinburgh in August 2012. The exhibition is part of the Edinburgh Art Festival. On his first trip overseas Follows is travelling to Scotland with his trusty companion Eamon, his guide dog. The words below are an analysis of Andrew’s work, a photographer who only has 15% vision in one eye and is legally blind. This is the first time anyone has written about Andrew’s work in any depth. It has been great fun to work with Andrew on this project and it is a privilege to write some hopefully insightful words about his art practice.

The exhibition by Follows and McKenzie takes a twofold path. Firstly, work from both photographers will investigate the resilience of bush-fire prone landscapes in both Scotland and Australia. Secondly, work will portray the fluid spaces of the urban and natural landscape at night in both the Southern and Northern hemispheres. The exhibition is curated by Kate Martin from the Contemporary Art Exchange.

This is a beautiful, well resolved sequence that has a very intimate narrative, a journey of discovery from the stars in the night sky to our own star, the sun and on to the illumination of the earth at night. Under any circumstances, Follows’ vision is outstanding.

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Andrew Follows Night’s Ocean Shore sequence 2012

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The Eye that sees the Sun: Andrew Follows and his Tabula rasa

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“‘The world is my representation’: this is a truth valid with reference to every living and knowing being, although man alone can bring it into reflective, abstract consciousness. If he really does so, philosophical discernment has dawned on him. It then becomes clear and certain to him that he does not know a sun and an earth, but only an eye that sees a sun, a hand that feels the earth; that the world around him is there only as representation, i.e. only in reference to another, the representer, which is he himself.”

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Arthur Schopenhauer. The World as Will and Representation. 1818

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Please close your left eye and place your left hand over it; now make a circle with the thumb and forefinger of your right hand and curl the rest of your fingers to make a tunnel; now place this hand to your right eye and close the aperture until you can only see a small amount of the world. Imagine, seeing the world through this one eye with only fifteen percent vision. This is the field of vision, the line of sight of artist Andrew Follows.

The artist’s visual acuity (the capacity of the eye to see fine detail, measured by determining the finest detail that can just be detected) has been with him since birth. He has always seen the world this way and does not regard it as a disability. In fact, his highly refined sense of “sight” enables spaces of poss/ability (not dis/ability) within his artistic practice. The development of an abnormal keen-sightedness helps him record his impression of the world via the medium of photography.

His is not the vision of im(pair)ment as the rest of us see the world, through two eyes, but the holistic vision of a monocular eye that becomes the root of his photography. The lens of the camera becomes an extension of Self, the shutter his very existence and the digital screen on the back of the camera his tabula rasa, a “blank slate” upon which he writes his experience and perception, his knowledge of the world. His experience of vision and the evidence of his photographs become both the beginning and the end of the work, a place in which his fundamental nature resides.

In today’s polyvocal world, with the proliferation of visual protheses (such as smart phones and digital cameras) we are now seeing the encoding of increasingly mental images of the material world. Follows’ photographs are an amalgamation of these mental images and what he can physically see on the screen, for when taking a photograph he cannot see details in the image he is taking. Follows takes the ‘I can see’ of sight, located within his field of vision, and through his organization of the spatio-temporal field of vision and perception, he offers the viewer a unique ‘take’ on the world. His point of view is a collection of objects to which the eye is directed and on which it rests within a certain distance.

From a visual point of view this resting facilitates in Follows’ work a particular serenity and beauty. His skill as an artist is to combine his imagination with what he sees through the screens of camera and computer to create ‘other’ worlds. These other worlds are evidenced in Follows’ love of night time photography, as though his view of the environment, the spaces and places that surround him, is enhanced through a doubling of perception: of light, at night, through tunnel vision. Our eyes rest upon the effervescent lights of an oil refinery on the outskirts of Melbourne; the star trails blazing across the night sky; the reflections in water at Corio Bay, Geelong. Most importantly, it is the quality of light that imbues Follows’ work that enhances the narrative, the journey on which the artist takes us.

Follows’ shows us his world, and our world, as we have never seen it before. What is important in the work is that he asks us to embrace his vision and incorporate his photographs into our collective memory. The world is his representation, a truth valid with reference to every living and knowing being, brought by us into reflective, abstract consciousness. We the viewer become his eye, his only eye that sees Schopenhauer’s sun.

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Dr Marcus Bunyan
May 2012

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Andrew Follows
Untitled
from the sequence Night’s Ocean Shore
2012
Digital inkjet prints

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“Contemporary Art Exchange presents Through the Looking Glass Dimly a unique collaboration and exchange project between Australian and Scottish photographers Andrew Follows (Melbourne) and Rosita McKenzie (Edinburgh). Drawn together by their shared passion for photography, their experiences of visual impairment, and a desire to share their knowledge and skills globally, Andrew and Rosita have embarked on an ambitious visual arts project to raise awareness about visual impairment issues, celebrate recent artistic achievements and create the first international network for visually impaired artists.

Digital photography is an excellent medium for reflecting and exploring blind or vision impaired artists’ life experiences. For Rosita it provides ‘a voice’ and dispels the myth that totally blind people cannot possess vision and artistic imagination or participate fully in the visual arts. For Andrew, who has Retinitis Pigmentosa – a degenerative eye condition leaving him blind in one eye and with only fifteen percent vision in the other – it is a tool that enables him to see small glimpses of his fading world.

Andrew and Rosita have been collaborating to develop an exhibition of previous and new work. Since 2009, Andrew has documented the effects of, and resilience to, the devastating Black Saturday bushfires in the Victorian Highlands. Rosita, although having never ‘seen’ Andrew’s work, has responded to it by embarking on her own documentation of the effects of and regrowth after the unusual forest fires in the Scottish Highlands earlier this year. Andrew has also been experimenting with night photography and has developed a number of photographs capturing the Southern Hemisphere by night. In response, Rosita will develop a new body of work capturing the night sky from a Northern Hemisphere perspective. Both artists will also showcase examples from their wide range of photographs dealing with similar themes from natural and urban settings.

The project will be registered with the 2012 Edinburgh Art Festival and the Year of Creative Scotland. Through the Looking Glass Dimly will also coincide with other major international events taking place in Edinburgh during August such as the first International Cultural Summit, the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Festival of Politics at The Scottish Parliament.”

Text from the Contemporary Art Exchange

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The Old Ambulance Depot
77 Brunswick Street
Edinburgh
EH7 5HS

Only open to the public during exhibitions and events

Andrew Follows Photography website

Edinburgh Art Festival website

The Old Ambulance Depot website

Contemporary Art Exchange website

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17
Sep
11

Exhibition: ‘Hiroshi Sugimoto’ at The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh

Presented by the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and the Edinburgh International Festival
Exhibition dates: 4th August – 25th September 2011

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Many thankx to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

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Hiroshi Sugimoto
A Stem of Delicate Leaves of an Umbrellifer, circa 1843 – 1846
2009
Toned gelatin silver print
93.7 x 74.9 cm
© Hiroshi Sugimoto

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Hiroshi Sugimoto
Leaves of Paeony, June 1839
2009
Toned gelatin silver print
93.7 x 74.9 cm
© Hiroshi Sugimoto

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Hiroshi Sugimoto
Louisa Gallwey and Horatia Feilding, at Lacock Abbey, August 29, 1842
2009
Toned gelatin silver print
93.7 x 74.9 cm
© Hiroshi Sugimoto

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Hiroshi Sugimoto
Wild Fennel, circa 1841 – 1842
2009
Toned gelatin silver print
93.7 x 74.9 cm
© Hiroshi Sugimoto

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“The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and the Edinburgh International Festival are delighted to announce a major new exhibition of one of the world’s leading artists, the renowned Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto. Consisting entirely of works which are being shown in Europe for the first time, this exhibition will feature 26 large-scale works from two of Sugimoto’s most recent, and visually poetic series, Lightning Fields and Photogenic Drawings. This revelatory exhibition will allow audiences to experience first hand Sugimoto’s exploration of the very nature of photography. The show has been extended by one week and will now run until 25 September instead of the 18 September as previously published.

Simon Groom, Director of Modern and Contemporary Art, National Galleries of Scotland said: “Sugimoto has developed an international reputation for the sheer beauty of his images, which are as thought-provoking as they are technically stunning. We are thrilled to be premiering work from his newest series in Europe, which demonstrates a master at the very top of his game, and are delighted to be working again in partnership with Edinburgh International Festival to bring the very best of contemporary visual art to Scotland.”

Jonathan Mills, Edinburgh International Festival Director added: “Hiroshi Sugimoto’s extraordinary work presented at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art is an exciting part of Festival 2011’s exploration of contemporary and classical Asian artists and their long influence on artists in the West. These are stunning images created in fascinating ways and I urge people to engage with this exhibition as part of their Festival experience.” 

Hiroshi Sugimoto was born in Tokyo in 1948 and now divides his time between Japan and his studio in New York. He has exhibited extensively in major museums and galleries throughout the world, including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles; the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin; the Serpentine Gallery, London; and the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Paris. In 2009 he was awarded the Praemium Imperiale, an arts prize awarded by the imperial family of Japan on behalf of the Japan Art Association. His image, Boden Sea, Uttwil (1993) featured on the cover of No Line on the Horizon, the 2009 album by Irish rock band U2.

The Photogenic Drawings series was inspired by the innovative techniques of the 19th century photographer, Henry Fox Talbot. This pioneering artist invented ‘photogenic drawings’ by using light-sensitive paper to produce a negative in the early experimental days of photography. This process was especially influential in Scotland shaping the careers of Robert Adamson and David Octavius Hill, who went on to become one of the most famous collaborations in photographic history. Sugimoto has spent several years locating and acquiring Fox Talbot’s rare and vulnerable negatives from which to make his own photographs. The small scale of Fox Talbot’s work has been greatly enlarged by Sugimoto to reveal images that are haunting, almost painterly in their evocative power.

Lightning Fields is a series of dramatic and spectacular photographs produced through the play of violent electrical discharges on photographic film. Sugimoto moved his studio six times in an attempt to overcome a problem of static electricity which would often ruin his photographs with their tell-tale white flashes on the finished image. He decided to investigate further the phenomenon and to make ‘an ally of my nemesis’. Eventually, rather than try to suppress the random acts of nature, Sugimoto found ways to generate them by using a Van de Graaf Generator to induce electrical charges on the film. His large photographs expose in minute detail the remarkable effects of light particles not visible to the human eye. The results offer a fascinating range of interpretations, from powerful lightning strikes to images of weird and wonderful life forms.

This exhibition will be complemented by Towards the Light, a free display of prints from the National Galleries of Scotland collection that will examine the influence of 19th century Japanese colour woodcuts on artists working in Britain and Japan during the first decades of the 20th century. 19th century Japanese prints will feature as well as prints by artists using traditional colour woodcut techniques in the 1920s and 30s.”

Press release from the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art website

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Hiroshi Sugimoto
Lightning Fields 168
2009
Gelatin silver print
149 x 119.4 cm
© Hiroshi Sugimoto

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Hiroshi Sugimoto
Lightning Fields 190
2009
Gelatin silver print
149 x 119.4 cm
© Hiroshi Sugimoto

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Hiroshi Sugimoto
Lightning Fields 226
2009
Gelatin silver print
149 x 119.4 cm
© Hiroshi Sugimoto

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Hiroshi Sugimoto
Lightning Fields 236
2009
Gelatin silver print
149 x 119.4 cm
© Hiroshi Sugimoto

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Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
75 Belford Road, Edinburgh, EH4 3DR
T: 0131 6246 6200

Opening hours:
4 -31 August Open Daily 10am – 6pm
1- 25 September Open Daily 10am – 5pm

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art website

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27
Jun
09

Exhibition: ‘ARTIST ROOMS: Celmins, Gallagher, Hirst, Katz, Warhol, Woodman’ at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh

Exhibition dates: 14th March – 18th November, 2009

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Fancesca Woodman.'From Angel Series, Roma, September 1977' 1977

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Fancesca Woodman
‘From Angel Series, Roma, September 1977’
1977

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Francesca Woodman. 'Space², Providence, Rhode Island, 1975-1978' 1975-1978

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Francesca Woodman
‘Space², Providence, Rhode Island, 1975-1978’
1975-1978

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“Throughout 2009, 18 museums and galleries across the UK will be showing over 30 ARTIST ROOMS from the collection created by the dealer and collector, Anthony d’Offay, and acquired by Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland in February 2008. This is the first time a national collection has been shared and shown simultaneously across the UK, and has only been made possible through the exceptional generosity of independent charity The Art Fund and, in Scotland, of the Scottish Government.

The opening displays at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh this spring will include the work of Vija Celmins, Ellen Gallagher, Damien Hirst, Alex Katz, Andy Warhol, and Francesca Woodman. Highlights will include Celmins’ beautiful, delicate images of seas, deserts and the night sky, a complete series of landscape and portrait paintings by the American painter Alex Katz and Francesca Woodman’s intimate, surrealist-influenced photographs. Damien Hirst, the most prominent British artist of today, will feature in an expanded display across several rooms. This will bring together works from ARTIST ROOMS – such as the iconic ‘Away from the Flock’ (an early example of Hirst’s animals in formaldehyde) and a recent butterfly painting – with additional loans from further collections.

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Andy Warhol. 'Trash cans' 1986

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Andy Warhol
‘Trash cans’
1986

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Vija Celmins. 'Web # 1' 1999

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Vija Celmins
‘Web #1’
1999

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American artist Vija Celmins makes paintings, drawings and prints. Using charcoal, graphite and erasers she produces delicate images based on photographs of the sea, deserts, the night sky and other natural phenomena.

The ARTIST ROOMS collection comprises 24 works on paper by Celmins, including three unique drawings. ‘Web #1′ is typical of her fragile images and is the first of nine works on the theme of the spider’s web. It is accompanied by a series of four ‘web’ prints which echo the web-like construction of the universe. Other works in the collection include an important series from the entitled ‘Concentric Bearings’ which explores different images of turning space.

Celmins works focus on something small and individual in the context of vastness. The images they depict seem fragile because they record a specific human glimpse through a telescope or camera which is temporary and frozen in time.

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Vija Celmins. 'Untitled (Web 1)' 2001

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Vija Celmins
‘Untitled (Web 1)’
2001

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Damien Hirst. 'Controlled Substances Key Painting (Spot 4a)' 1994

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Damien Hirst
‘Controlled Substances Key Painting (Spot 4a)’
1994

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Damien Hirst is the most prominent artist to have emerged from the British art scene in the 1990s. Hirst’s work forces viewers to question their understanding of issues such as the fragility of life, our reluctance to confront death and decay and other dilemmas of human existence.

He is best known for his ‘Natural History’ works – large-scale sculptures featuring dead animals floating in Minimalist looking vitrines – but also for his mirrored pharmacy cabinets lined with shelves full of evenly spaced drug bottles, pills, sea shells or cigarette butts, and his paintings, which he produces in series.

An example of these, included in ARTIST ROOMS, is the early ‘Controlled Substances Key Painting (Spot 4a)’. Also included in ARTIST ROOMS is the key work ‘Away from the Flock’, featuring a sheep floating in formaldehyde. The large butterfly diptych ‘Monument to the Living and the Dead’, 2006 was made specifically for ARTIST ROOMS.

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Damien Hirst. 'Away from the flock' 1995

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Damien Hirst
‘Away from the flock’
1995

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Francesca Woodman. 'Eel Series, Roma, May-August 1977' 1977

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Francesca Woodman
‘Eel Series, Roma, May-August 1977’
1977

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American photographer Francesca Woodman has eighteen rare vintage black and white photographs in ARTIST ROOMS. They have a timeless unique quality. The artist began taking photographs at the age of thirteen and though she was only twenty two when she took her own life, she left behind a substantial body of work.

Francesca Woodman’s photographs explore issues of gender and self, looking at the representation of the body in relation to its surroundings. She puts herself in the frame most often, although these are not conventional self-portraits as she is either partially hidden, or concealed by slow exposures that blur her moving figure into a ghostly presence.

Found objects and suggestive props are carefully placed to create unsettling, surreal or claustrophobic scenarios. Her photographs are produced in thematic series’, relating to specific props, places or situations. In combining performance, play and self-exposure, Woodman’s photographs create extreme and often disturbing psychological states.

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Francesca Woodman. 'Untitled, 1975-1980' 1975-1980

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Francesca Woodman
‘Untitled, 1975-1980’
1975-1980

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Francesca Woodman. 'Untitled, 1975-1980' 1975-1980

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Francesca Woodman
‘Untitled, 1975-1980’
1975-1980

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Andy Warhol. 'I am blind' 1976 -1986

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Andy Warhol
‘I am blind’
1976 -1986

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Andy Warhol is one of the most influential American artists to emerge in the post-war period. ARTIST ROOMS includes an impressive selection of 232 works which span the artist’s entire work. This display focuses on a group of stitched photographs from the collection.

After graduating and moving to New York in 1949, Warhol quickly became established as one of the city’s most sought after commercial illustrators, working for magazines such as Glamour and Harper’s Bazaar. However, it was in the early-sixties that he began to produce the work for which he is most celebrated.

As the most famous proponent of Pop Art, his earliest ‘pop’ works depict consumer goods and images from the press. This evolved to reveal his enduring fascination with celebrity and mortality, with many of his most powerful images touching on these themes.

ARTIST ROOMS comprises a superb array of important works representing all phases of Warhol’s career and a cross-section of media. Warhol explored the medium of photography extensively and began producing stitched photographs in 1986. Returning to his earlier predilection for repetition, Warhol used multiple prints of the same photographs that he then had sewn together to form a composite work of art. By repeating the same image, Warhol could extend the abstract design to the whole work and emphasize the broader significance of what might seem to be peculiarly singular and oddball.”

Text from the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art website

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Andy Warhol. 'Venus in Shell' 1976 -1986

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Andy Warhol
‘Venus in Shell’
1976 -1986

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SCOTTISH NATIONAL GALLERY OF MODERN ART
75 Belford Road, Edinburgh, EH4 3DR

Open daily, 10am-5pm.
Admission free

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art website

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Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘England’ 1993

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes the Art Blart blog which reviews exhibitions in Melbourne, Australia and posts exhibitions from around the world. He has a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently studying a Master of Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne.

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