Monday, February 8, 2010

new book of photos above Scotland

Similar to Random House's book from 2009 of old aerial photos taken above New Zealand, but this time mostly in colour, is Above Scotland.

One of the significant differences, of course, is that while NZ has never been what can be called an industrial society, this is not the case with "old world" countries such as Scotland. Significant factories which manufactured products that came to New Zealand such as ships and locomotives were based there, but today most of this has shifted to Asia and Scotland is now what is termed "post-industrial". This is particularly poignant with the double page spread of the former Singer Sewing Machine factory in Glasgow, once a huge complex that has today completely disappeared.

Outside the cities the landscape of Scotland looks essentially the same as it always has, however, and people often compare it to New Zealand. High, rugged peaks look down on the rounded hills of the southern uplands. Wild moorlands run into fertile flood-plains. The coastline ranges from soft sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters to jagged cliffs battered by the fierce waves of the Atlantic.

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) holds the national collection of aerial photography for Scotland with millions of images dating from the 1920s to the present day. These photographs - many of which have never been published - show a remarkable history from stone circles, Roman remains and ruined castles, to the growth of villages, towns and cities, the rise and fall of heavy industry, the country at war as well as the once proud engineering, and modern architecture. For the first time in one volume, RCAHMS has brought together some of the best images from its collection in a very nice 224 page hardback book.

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