- 29th March − 3rd June 2012 | Scottish National Portrait Gallery | Admission free
Farming dominates the Scottish landscape, with around three quarters of the nation’s land mass devoted to agricultural production. Woodland covers nearly a fifth of Scotland and the aquaculture industry is the largest in the European Union. Rural land use reflects a range of historical and environmental factors: large cereal farming is concentrated to the drier, east of the country whilst the majority of sheep graze on the poorer soils – and smaller farms and crofts – of the north west. Around 65,000 workers are directly employed in Scottish agriculture. New forms of agribusiness, such as a thriving organic movement, continue to evolve.
In 2007 the Scottish National Portrait Gallery commissioned Stuart Franklin to capture the diversity of Scottish farming, ranging from large managed estates to family allotments. He has recorded organic pig production in Elgin, a fishery in Harris and crofting in Skye. His camera has traced the environmental damage caused by intensive forestry in the Trossachs and the impact of mobile phone masts on the landscape near Montrose. Franklin’s spectacular photographs remind us of the significance of farming to the Scottish economy and its profound impact on the shape of the land.
Stuart Franklin has been a member of Magnum Photos since 1989, the same year that he took one of the iconic images of the twentieth century – a student defying a row of tanks in Tiananmen Square, for which he won a World Press Award. He has published six books, his most recent being Footprint: Our Landscape in Flux (2008). Currently, Franklin is completing a landscape commission in Norway.