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In The Field

December 6, 2010

Choosing  titles for exhibitions sounds easy enough, but it’s harder than you think.  They need to explain the subject but be catchy enough to intrigue reluctant visitors.  Some are easy. War at Sea is the title of a wonderful exhibition of the work of Sir John Lavery who recorded Britain’s naval activities in the First World War.  Pioneers of Science and John Slezer’s Scotland are what they say they are.  But what to call our first exhibition on Scotland’s political upheavals in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries?  Church and State is one possibility, Defending the Faith another. Any suggestions gratefully accepted!

Deer farm at Rothiemurchus by Stuart Franklin, © Stuart Franklin Magnum Photos

Of all the forthcoming exhibitions the title that has taxed us most has been one on farming in Scotland, and the way farming is changing the countryside.  I suggested Farming Today.  This was met by utter derision from my colleagues.  We have thought of Scotland’s Transitional Landscapes, Agri-Culture, Fur and Furrow and the present favourite Farmscapes.

Stuart Franklin is making the exhibition. He is an internationally-respected photographer whose recent work has concentrated on man’s impact on the environment. Today I met Stuart for the first time.  Through Duncan Forbes, our curator of photography, I have been in touch with him for over a year and helped him out with farming contacts.  We have found him pigs in Elgin, berry pickers in Angus, a deer farm in the Highlands and, last week, a dairy farm in Wigtonshire. The photograph of the Wigtonshire dairy farm will have to wait until the cows come out of their barn once winter is over and new grass has appeared.  Stuart’s photographs are exceptionally beautiful and interesting. We plan to show Farmscapes, or what ever we decide to call it, in the late spring of 2012.

Meadow with ox-eye daisies, yellow rattle and knapweed, Oronsay by Stuart Franklin © Stuart Franklin Magnum Photos

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