- 1st December 2011 − 3rd June 2012 | Scottish National Portrait Gallery
Since the early nineteenth century Edinburgh has been celebrated as a quintessentially romantic city, famed for its medieval architecture and spectacular natural views. Of immense appeal to artists and writers, it is a version of the city that often seems to leave the modern world behind. In their photographs from Greyfriars Churchyard Adamson and Hill reach out – literally – to make contact with Edinburgh’s turbulent history. Other nineteenth-century photographers sought out vanishing traces of the distant past in the city’s crumbling Old Town. So consoling was this vision that some of the world’s most famous photographers sought to reinvigorate it during the twentieth century, including the American Pictorialist, Alvin Langdon Coburn. Since the 1840s, the image of Edinburgh in photography has been constructed by what might paradoxically be described as a nostalgic avant-garde.