British photographic history

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Celebrating the anniversary of the Scottish national collection - Review

Note has already been made of this exhibition under 'Events'. A review has appeared in The Independent newspaper on 25 March and written by Hannah Duguid and a small part is reproduced below. The exhibition is open until 19 April.

It took Thomas Annan three years to take 31 photographs inside the city centre slums of Glasgow during the late 1860s. Only rarely did the pale Scottish sun provide the light he needed for his large plate camera. Conditions may have been appalling but Annan very subtly tells us that the people were not.

In Close No 101, High Street, Glasgow, a pair of trousers hangs from a washing line strapped across the street. They are tatty – there's a hole in the leg – but they are clean. It was difficult to get water in the slums yet the people are able to uphold the Victorian ideal that cleanliness is next to godliness.

The ghostly face of a young boy – his face blurred by the long exposure – peeps out from a shabby doorway. Child mortality was high, and he is a reminder of all the dead children, but there is hope for him: the street leads down towards an opening filled with light. It is an exit; there is a way out.

The photograph belongs to the Scottish National Galleries, which is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its photography collection...


The full article can be seen here:

25 years of photography: Celebrating the anniversary of the nationa... from The Independent

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