2007 - 2022

Postcards from Scotland in a Time of Crisis

Photographer Frank McElhinney’s series titled: ‘Postcards from Scotland in a Time of Crisis’ reflects on place and national identity. The themes are energy, land ownership, heavy industry and history. Each image settles on an iconic picturesque place but gives it a jarring twist by revealing a modern-day revelation. Trump’s golf course settling on the site of ancient Turnberry Castle birthplace to Robert the Bruce, Glencoe – long associated with its own massacre was home also to Jimmy Saville. Beautiful Cape Wrath is home to Britain’s only live-bombing range.

But they are also in the style of a hugely successful pre-postcard prototype that sold in their millions as images of Scotland sold both to visitors and across the diaspora.

Scottish artists and innovators were at the forefront of the technology that brought photography to the world.

McElhinney has said:

“The photographs are in a faux vintage style mimicking the plate cameras of the late nineteenth century when commercial photographers George Washington Wilson (Aberdeen) and James Valentine & Sons (Dundee) ran successful businesses selling prints and postcards that helped shape the world’s visual image of Scotland. On the back of each of my postcards is a line of text that states a fact about the place that offers a small jolt of realisation. The overall effect is intended to lead us to question our own self image of Scotland and to think about the kind of Scotland we want post-Brexit and potentially post-Independence.”

In a day when we are flooded with imagery, where we take it for granted and where everyone is a photographer, recalling these earlier pioneers allows us to reassess photography, place and identity. The series allows us to take a fresh glance at places we thought we new and think again.

This is just a selection from the full series of twelve postcards which will be available from next month via Street Level Photoworks in Glasgow and other selected outlets. All photography rights reserved to Frank McElhinney.

Dounreay Nuclear Power Plant. Being decommissioned since 1998.


Little Clett, Pentland Firth. Below the surface, Europe’s largest tidal power plant.


Grangemouth. Scotland’s crude oil refinery.


Cape Wrath across Balnakeil Bay. Designated Danger Area.


Faslane, Argyll. Home to the UK’s nuclear deterrent.


Glen Feshie. The owner has purchased one percent of Scotland since 2006.


Allt Na Reigh, Glencoe. Cottage formerly owned by notorious sex offender Jimmy Savile.


Glengonnar Halt, Buccleuch estate. The longest half mile in Scotland.




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