But now the humble garden gnome is to feature in its own unique display – at the bottom of the Firth of Forth.
Scuba diver Gordon Mackie, from Haymarket, is to create a “gnome garden” in the estuary, adding to his collection at sites across the world, including the Red Sea and Caribbean.
He said: “I’ve been doing it for about 15 years now. There was a place I was taking people to teach them diving and they said it was boring as there was nothing to see except the odd stone. So, the next time I went down, I stuck some gnomes down there.”
The idea to create a garden in the Forth, on the Glanmire shipwreck just off St Abb’s Head, was spurred on after Mr Mackie was contacted by photography student David Bissett, who is studying for an HND at Stevenson College.
Placing an advert in the Evening News earlier this week, looking for the “proud owners” of garden gnomes, he is keen to create a documentary of gnomes and their keepers.
And he hopes a cross-section of people will come forward to share their stories.
Mr Bissett, 53, from Broughton, said: “It’s not so much the gnomes I’m interested in, it’s the people who own them. Love them or hate them, they are a part of our life.”
The student, a former newspaper sales employee, and his classmates were asked to create a documentary series of photographs on any subject they wished.
He found out about Mr Mackie’s collection through his website and got in touch to see whether he would feature in his project. Mr Bissett said: “It was only when I got the brief, I thought, let’s go for something unusual and typically British.”
The photography student is delighted Mr Mackie has agreed to come on board and intends to picture him in his scuba outfit, with some of his miniature friends “lurking in the background”.
Mr Mackie intends to set up the “official” gnome garden in the Forth over the winter, to coincide with Mr Bissett’s photography project.
n If you’re a gnome lover who wants to take part in the photography project, contact Mr Bissett on 075933 39623 or e-mail [email protected]@edinburghnews.com