Magnum Photos' Stuart Franklin presents Farmscapes at Scottish National Portrait Gallery

By Ben Miller | 29 March 2012
A photo of a harvester rolling along a meadow under a dark sky in the Scottish countryside
© Stuart Franklin
Exhibition: Farmscapes – Stuart Franklin, Magnum Photos, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, March 31 – June 3 2012

Five years ago, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery asked Stuart Franklin to spend three years portraying some of the country’s most beautiful expanses, sweeping between the Isles of Skye, Harris, Elgin, the Strathmore Valley and most places in between.

His study of the reach of agriculture across the Scottish countryside is very different from the award-winning shot Franklin is perhaps best known for – a student opposing a row of tanks in China’s Tiananmen Square – but the Magnum snapper (he has been a member of the agency since 1989) has come up with a show which sounds perfect for the onset of spring.

Meadows are shown in full bloom, insects are lured to pesticide-free terrains, young gardeners tend strawberries and allotments and community gardens flourish.

From organic pig production to fishery, crofting, the impact of mobile phone masts and environmental damage caused by intensive forestry, it also highlights some of the issues surrounding the way farming effects a land where three-quarters of the space is devoted to the industry.

“Franklin’s photographs are a stunning reminder of the scale of human intervention in the Scottish landscape,” says Duncan Forbes, the gallery’s Senior Curator of Photography.

“The vast majority of our countryside is now farmed in one way or another. It’s the sheer variety of agricultural land use in Scotland which these photographs document.”

  • Open 10am-5pm (7pm Thursday). Admission Free.
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