Ex-soldier’s photo appears in UK-wide billboard display

A photo taken by a homeless Scottish Gulf War veteran Jamie Robertson showing the notebook he kept during the conflict
A photo taken by a homeless Scottish Gulf War veteran Jamie Robertson showing the notebook he kept during the conflict
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A photo taken by a former homeless Scottish Gulf War veteran showing the journal he wrote during the conflict and a chanter he kept from his bagpipes is among a series of billboard artworks being showcased across Edinburgh to mark the 50th anniversary of the charity Crisis.

Art in Crisis, a UK-wide host of public events, runs until July 31 showcasing work by homeless artists.

The theme is “What if” with billboards, posters and artworks, some featuring the artists’ most precious possessions, and captions explaining their significance. The Crisis Skylight Edinburgh project includes a billboard in the city’s Balgreen Road by Jamie Robertson, a former Royal Scots photographer, signalman and gunner, who served in the Gulf and Northern Ireland.

Mr Robertson, 44, became homeless after leaving the army in 1992 and suffering PTSD. He lived in hostels before receiving help from charities including Crisis.

He then went on a photography course run by Crisis which helped him regain confidence.

“I feel immensely proud 
photographs I produced are in an exhibition and displayed on a billboard for the whole city to see,” Mr Robertson said.

“I have a sense of pride and self worth and I feel human again.”

Another of the billboards features a tartan blanket and smartphone with the caption “my phone is my connection to the outside world.”

The What If photography exhibition by Crisis clients and local photographer Alice Bruce runs at the city’s Central Library on George 1V Bridge until July 29.

Ann Landels, Crisis Skylight Edinburgh’s director, said: “Whether in photography, dance, music, painting or drama, art can spark a 
sense of self, producing focus and a clear outlook on the future.”

shan.ross@jpress.co.uk