“De ce terrible paysage,
Tel que jamais mortel n’en vit,
Ce matin encore l’image,
Vague et lointaine, me ravit.”
Skeleton of Giant Deer (Megaloceros giganteus), National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh
After attending a course on night photography, I couldn’t wait to put my newly acquired knowledge to use. Although normally I don’t like working with a tripod – I find it cumbersome and it takes away a lot from the spontaneity that is the most enjoyable part of photography for me -, this time it didn’t bother me.
At night you see everything differently, and through the camera you see everything differently, so in this case the two adds up to create a unique experience of your surroundings. And indeed, my surroundings were unique at St. Cuthbert’s Churchyard with an amazing view over Edinburgh castle.
I didn’t use very long exposures – there was plenty of light even in this dark graveyard, and my main subject, the castle was illuminated anyway. As I forgot to take a flashlight with me, I couldn’t try light painting. I really regret this as I am sure that the additional light would have created an even more dramatic effect on the gravestones. Next time!
The upper photo was taken just at nightfall at Playfair Steps, which is my favourite route when I am going to the Old Town for a photo walk.
2012, Gyömrő, Hungary
I took this photo on my birthday, the last one that I celebrated with my grandmother in Hungary. She died the following year and I moved to Scotland shortly after. Everything in this photo – the white damask tablecloth, the hand-painted porcelain plates, the silver cutlery and the heavy Czech crystal glasses – reminds me of her. This photograph evokes a peace in me that I think we only feel when we are children and we are watching our grandmother setting the table for dinner in a sleepy Sunday afternoon.
The original concept of this series was to capture how people react to/ interact with art in different settings; to show the typical patterns of human behaviour when faced with an object labelled as ‘art’ in the context of contemporary exhibition spaces.
However, as the project progressed, I became increasingly aware of how – by taking photos of them – I see these people from not only an anthropological-documentary but an aesthetic point of view, thus sometimes on the same level as the objects of art they share the same space with.
Moreover, this level of aesthetization increased or decreased depending on the context: the institution, the nature of the collection displayed and the space itself where they appear. This indicates a shift from my part: clearly the context in which I took the photos induce a – not always so – slightly different point of view in me.
British Museum, December 2015:
Scottish National Gallery & National Portrait Gallery, February 2016:
Opera House, Sydney, 2016