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The Scots

A Photohistory

Murray MacKinnon, Richard Oram

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An enthralling visual history, not just for Scottish families worldwide, but for the people of every nation: a photohistorian’s treasure trove


The craze for photography ripped through Scotland like a whirlwind following its invention in 1839. Over the next century, Scottish photographers captured a stunning visual record of their land and its people, their mixed fortunes, hopes and aspirations. Their achievements – never before so tellingly collected – document a century of profound contrasts, of division, upheaval and change that recast forever the character of Scotland.

Here are the triumphs – the completion of the Forth Bridge and the stream of vessels that slid down the slipways of the Clyde – but also its injustices, the story of the rural and urban poor, and the Clearances that drove people from the land to seek work in the cities or new hope in emigration to the New World. See Gordon Highlanders drinking whisky from enamel buckets in the New Year celebrations of 1890; the caves of Staffa; the grandeur of Edinburgh Castle; John Logie Baird, scientist-hero and inventor of the television; the golfers of Scotscraig just after the beginning of photography; or salmon-netting on the River Oykel.

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'An enthralling visual history which brings the country to life'
Scottish Field

'This inexpensive volume ought to be in every school north of Hadrian’s Wall'
Independent on Sunday

'In lieu of a dedicated national gallery of photography, the next best thing is this book'

'Stunning … a visual chronicle of great importance'
Your Family History

'Poignant and revealing ... extraordinary'
Scotland in Trust

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback with flaps

Edition Type: Compact edition

Size: 21.5 x 20.5 cm

Extent: 224 pp

Publication date: 4 March 2013

ISBN: 9780500290781

About the Author

Murray MacKinnon’s long love affair with photography and what it reveals about his native Scotland goes back over forty years to his first purchase of a vintage camera and photo album in a Glasgow auction room.

Richard Oram is Professor and Deputy Head of the School of Arts, University of Stirling. His publications include Scotland’s Kings and Queens and The Scots.