Romantic Camera | Scottish Photography & the Modern World

  • 1st December 2011 − 3rd June 2012 | Scottish National Portrait Gallery


Central to the romantic imagination has been the celebration of the geographic margin or edge, a location distanced from the modern world that offers experience somehow timeless and authentic. After 1945, in response to the destruction of war, writers and artists turned their attention to some of Scotland’s remotest places, including the photographers Paul Strand on South Uist and Bill Brandt on Skye. Abandoning the political advocacy of the 1930s, they pursued more lyrical projects, emphasising the values of continuity and tradition over innovation and disruption.

Similarly, children were also celebrated in post-war painting and photography as marginalised survivors of an otherwise degraded modern world. Despite problems of malnutrition, fatherlessness and high rates of delinquency, the natural exuberance of the urban child came to embody the possibility of peacetime social renewal. Invested with the utopian aspirations of their parents, children became powerful ciphers of hope at the dawning of the nuclear age.

Next: Romantic City

Children, the Gorbals, Glasgow' Roger Mayne


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