The June exhibition in the Art and Design Library is “All Things Must Pass”, a display of landscape photography by Hamish Hamilton.
Hamish is an Edinburgh-based photographer with a few years of exhibiting experience including a collaboration with an amateur theatre company, and contributions to several group shows in the National Trust for Scotland’s Gladstone Gallery, as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and at the Eastgate Arts Centre in Peebles. His photographic interests are broad-ranging, and he is currently working on a wide variety of projects and photo essays.
In his own words, this is how he contextualizes his new Art and Design Library exhibition:
“This new exhibition has its origins in a decision, made some years ago, to abandon digital photography in favour of using film, predominantly 35mm black and white. That was at the tail end of the transition from the kind of chemical, mechanical picture making that had been around since the industrial revolution to a new kind of electronic imaging, born of the computer revolution. The change had seemed so swift and so all-encompassing that for a while it looked as if film was in imminent danger of disappearing altogether. It would take a luddite to deny the many benefits that digital photography can bring – there’s no need to go into it here but suffice to say that there are good reasons why it became so dominant so quickly. Equally, though, the old ways haven’t quite yet vanished altogether, and there may still be some value in pursuing them while it’s still possible.
After working with film for a while, it began to appear that its demise could be seen as a metaphor for transience in general, and Susan Sontag’s well-known quote came to mind: “All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.” The pictures shown here, in one way or another, all “testify to time’s relentless melt”. From things as fleeting as a shadow, a reflection, or a passing cloud, through 19th century carved graffiti on a neolithic standing stone, back to rock formations created hundreds of millions of years ago, the images all address impermanence, change, decay, and the inevitability of time’s passing. As the photographer Richard Misrach points out, “Whatever else photography is about, it’s about time.” And as George Harrison noted, “Sunrise doesn’t last all morning”. If that sounds a little downbeat, think of the pioneering humanitarian photographer Dorothy Bohm, who died recently at the age of 98, who said that photography, “makes transience less painful.” She tried, in her work, “To create order out of chaos, to find stability in flux and beauty in the most unlikely places.” What photographer could hope to do more?”
The exhibition runs from 3 June to 29 June – we hope to see you there!