Information and discussion on all aspects of British photographic history
As part of Photography Scotland’s Season of Photography which runs until the end of November Roddy Simpson, on the eve of the 2019 Robert Louis Stevenson Day, will be talking about the work of American-born twentieth century photographer Alvin Langdon Coburn, who helped illustrate a 1954 edition of Stevenson’s book Edinburgh Picturesque Notes with a series of photographs. Taken in 1905, Coburn regarded these photographs as some of his 'very best' work though he always regretted that he never got to meet Stevenson himself, who had died in 1894.
“I consider Edinburgh one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and Robert Louis Stevenson appreciated it as few have done. For over fifty years I have followed lovingly in his footsteps, endeavouring to see it as I thought he saw it, and I hope that he would have approved of what I have done in illustrating his Edinburgh Picturesque Notes.”
Coburn also said: "I never met Stevenson in the flesh. It is one of my great regrets that I came just a little too late to make his portrait, but I have all his books and have read them many times, so that I seem to know him better than some of my other friends. Through his Edinburgh and in his Edinburgh I seem to know him best of all".
This talk will explore Coburn’s admiration for Stevenson through the photographs he produced for the edition of Edinburgh Picturesque Notes and will look at the images and discuss the affinity they have with Stevenson’s prose.
Alvin Langdon Coburn in the Footsteps of Robert Louis Stevenson
Patrick Geddes Centre, Edinburgh
12 Nov 2019, 19:00 – 21:00
Image: © Alvin Langdon Coburn: 'A passage between tall lands', also known as 'Weir's Close, Edinburgh', 1905.
Image courtesy Library of Congress
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