Photographer creates fresh slant on familiar sights of Capital

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WITH her towering church spires that pierce the grey sky, the ancient blackened rock which hoists probably the most famous castle in the world into prime position guarding the city below and the prim New Town facades, Edinburgh, for most of us, presents a very familiar face.

Every day we stroll along her cobbled lanes, past smart townhouses and stern public buildings that seldom change appearance, rarely bothering to glance towards the statues and the street furniture, the swathes of luscious parkland and the view beyond.

Wellington statue

Wellington statue

But when photographer Mark Johnstone hits the familiar city streets armed with his camera, it’s with a fresh eye on a very old subject.

His series of evocative black and white photographs – currently on show at the city’s art library on George IV Bridge – reveal the city captured from often curious, sometimes initially baffling, angles that can leave viewers wondering for just a moment where on earth it may be.

Such as the striking image snatched from behind the Duke of Wellington’s statue at the east end of Princes Street. Or the ornate cupolas and chimney pots on the roof of William Henry Playfair’s landmark building, Donaldson’s College, captured on high and perfectly framing the view beyond of the New Town spires of St Mary’s Cathedral and onwards to the Castle.

“I find that many photographs of Edinburgh are just the same views over and over again,” says Mark, 44, who was raised in Leith, then went to Oxgangs Primary and later Firrhill High. “I try to draw some character of Edinburgh into the images I take and show things in a slightly different way.”

West Register House reflected in a puddle

West Register House reflected in a puddle

He was encouraged by his wife Lyn, 35, to take up photography as a hobby when they were living in London, and when the couple returned to Edinburgh, he was struck afresh by the stunning scenery and streetscapes most of us take for granted.

n Edinburgh Observed is at the art library within the Central Library at George IV Bridge until the end of May. See more of Mark’s images at www.edinburgh-photographs.co.uk