As I mentioned in a previous black|white|copper story, when posting these photos on Instagram I wanted to ‘free up’ my captions. I often get stuck wondering to write on my main account, so with this project I share one word (occasionally two) and the b+w VSCO preset I’ve used. The word isn’t always literal; it’s just what comes to mind when I consider an image. So here, I thought I’d expand on a few photos and give a little context.
Heavy | B4
I needed to clear my head. I’d had a week of being mostly indoors, and I needed to get out. I wanted to walk with Harris, but he wasn’t interested, so I went solo, walking along the sea front below this leaden sky. It was damp; that raw damp that seeps into you, a taste of winter ahead. Looking out over the Forth, it felt as if the sky was hovering so very low. Those days when you long for light, and a walk that will inspire your mind. And you find neither, so you take a photo of the heavy sky. Because taking photos helps your mood and your mind, whatever the weather.
Up | LV2
This is the opposite feeling to heavy. Walking through the woods, being struck by the light filtering through the tall pines. That canopy shielding you from the glare of the sun. That feeling of being small alongside the scale of the woodland. That soothing sense of shelter, of security. Of peace.
Some houses - some buildings - always catch your eye, right? This one does for me. It stands on the banks of the Water of Leith at Stockbridge in Edinburgh. I always wonder about the two additions, particularly that wee conservatory up top. I imagine walking in here on a winter morning, pulling up those blinds, and just soaking in that light and the view.
Layered | 01
Oh Bracken… how did you get to become such a ridiculous wee nugget? That firm, steady gaze and small determined mouth. You know exactly who you are. Those jaunty whiskers. I always think of you as being big, but then here, held aloft by your Dad, with your little paws, you look so wee. A wee serious, wise, determined, nuzzle-able nugget.
Nugget | KX4
Walking through the Quarry Garden at Belsay Hall, back in 2017. The garden was created from a quarry, and the stone from the quarry was used to build Belsay Hall. It’s lush, damp and humid, and the towering rock walls are discoloured by the rain water that flows down from the vegetation above. Only in b+w, these earthy hues look like soot, splashed across the rock face.
Soot | B6
Together | B5
These WW2 sea defences remain lined along sections of the east coast. I found this in The Scotsman: ‘After defeats in Northern France in early World War Two, Britain readied itself for a coastal invasion… General Edmund Ironside decided that 'Stop Lines' and beach defences should be built. Soldiers from around the UK and Polish servicemen worked on building the 'coastal crust' at weak points all along the East Coast of Scotland to defend against a sea-landing and to prevent tanks from getting any further than the beach. They were designed to delay any invading army until the British Army could be mobilised.’
Claire Daly, The Scotsman
‘There have been efforts to remove sections of the defences to restore the countryside but Canmore, the National Record of the Historic Environment, now recognise them as part of our heritage.’ These concrete blocks have stood here since WW2, observing the subtle changes in the landscape around them. And the landscape has embraced them. Now, they wear caps of soft moss and grass.
An old iPhone photo. This photo makes me consider technology. How much better the recent generations of iPhones are when capturing light, and handling the lack of it. How much sharper the picture quality is. But the softness of this photo, the graininess, adds to the mood for me. Standing on the shoreline below brooding clouds, listening to the sound of the waves, watching as these ten birds danced on their delicate legs as those waves raced towards them, this was a world in softer focus.
Ten | B3
The cover photo of Sir Walter Scott, seated at the Scott Monument on Princes Street in Edinburgh. How often have I walked past this spot over the years, since childhood when I’d come into town with my parents and we’d walk along Princes Street Gardens. As a student, and later, when I started working in the old Scotsman building on North Bridge, and I’d pass here every night, often late, to catch the last bus home.
Devoted | B3
How did I miss Maida? Do you see her? Maybe I didn’t miss her. Maybe I noticed her years ago, but this monument became so familiar that I forgot she was there. Until I came to edit this old photo in b+w, and suddenly there she was, at Scott’s feet, her head raised, curled towards him, watching, attentive, devoted. Reminding me to look more closely.
BLACK | WHITE | copper
b+w edit on VSCO