Planes, Trains and Automobiles Transportation Photographs from the National Galleries of Scotland
Planes, Trains and Automobiles : Transportation Photographs from the National Galleries of Scotland at Scottish National Portrait Gallery from 2 June 2018 to 13 January 2019 looks at technology and travel from the past 170 years in photographs.
Captured here, forever in photographic image are frozen moments in time in an exhibition of over 70 images featuring iconic works of photographers such as Alfred G Buckham, Alfred Stieglitz, David Octavius Hill, Robert Adamson and other notable photographic pioneers.
Transport and our modern industrial age have developed alongside advances in photography, and this exhibition is an insightful collection into not only the photography as it developed over the years, but railways, shipping, motor transport, air transport and the people and industries involved in their manufacture, production and maintenance, and of course the infrastructure that these transport systems utilise .
Among the photographs on display here are some real gems – including
Aeriel View of Edinburgh and Sunshine and Flowers – Alfred G Buckham
The Steerage - Alfred Stieglitz
Man in the Metro – Ian Mackenzie
Also interesting are moments of daily life captured by documentary photographers Humphrey Spender and Larry Herman as they captured for posterity Glasgow and Glaswegians on their daily commute.
Other images, such as ship-building, capture a glorious industrial past which sadly are no longer part of our national industries in any significant industrial sense.
One interesting, and perhaps easily overlooked part of this exhibition is the Victorian fascination with “Stereographs”. This system used two almost identical photographs side by side that when viewed together through a stereoscopic viewer gave the illusion of a three dimensional image to the viewer. Anyone familiar with the old view-master system will be familiar with this effect.
The Scottish National Galleries house one of the most significant photographic collections of any National Museum, and although exhibitions like this one can only ever allow a tiny fraction of that treasure trove to be on display at any one time, the galleries are very active in ensuring that as much as possible is on display and that through digitisation of the collection (an ongoing process) it is as widely available to everyone as possible.
PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES: TRANSPORTATION PHOTOGRAPHS
FROM THE NATIONAL GALLERIES OF SCOTLAND
2 June 2018 – 13 January 2019
Scottish National Portrait Gallery
1 Queen Street, Edinburgh EH2 1JD
0131 624 6200 Admission FREE
Review by Tom King