The exhibition in the windows of the Northlight Gallery, Stromness, until 15th of March is ‘A Place of Refuge’, photographs by Hugh Hamilton.
Following a series of fatal winter storms in the Moray Firth, in 1845 a 40 foot (12 metre) day beacon and place of refuge for shipwrecked sailors was erected by Alan Stevenson of the Northern Lighthouse Board on the dangerous Halliman Skerries.
The beacon is located at 57°44’0″N 3°19’17″W (57.7334°, -3.321°) in North East Scotland.
This beacon reminds us of those in peril and perhaps, hauntingly, a relic for those who did not, and cannot, reach refuge. Like photography itself the beacon is a memory of what was.
A Place of Refuge looks north over the Moray Firth with the viewer placed parallel to, and on the edge of, the sea. The day beacon is tantalisingly placed in the same position on each image, even as the year shifts, to remind us that safely is always ‘just’ there. The small prints also help to reinforce the distant allure of the beacon.
The five images were taken over the course of one year, 2022, and are printed onto Japanese thin, and transparent, washi paper. The swirling mulberry fibres within the paper reminding us of the seaweed forests between the waves.
At the conclusion of the show the prints, as displayed, are for sale with a guide price of £250, with all proceeds going directly to the RLNI.
HH Lossiemouth, Moray, Feb 2023
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