Edinburgh Revisited, by Gordon Hunter and Don Ledingham, both former professional rugby players, mixes the pair’s photography and poetry to create a unique and oblique tribute to the place where they both grew up, went to school and which influenced them greatly.
Some of Edinburgh’s most noted figures from the worlds of literature, law entertainment and politics, from Alexander McCall Smith to Ian Rankin, Lady Anne Smith and Jason Connery, also feature with their very own take on the city and its qualities.
Mr Ledingham, a former player with Galashiels who has been writing poetry most of his life, said: “We wanted to take a different view of Edinburgh, take away that shortbread box image and take a slightly different perspective.”
Landmarks documented by the pair include the Balmoral Clock – “Edinburgh’s time machine” that was long set three minutes fast – and the “Gothic rocket” of the Scott Monument.
Images of Greyfriars Bobby give way to a poem about friendship, while the Royal Mile pharmacy opens up a verse on the fragility of our life paths, inspired by the addicts who gather early in the morning to receive their dose of “green nectar”.
Meanwhile, The Unfinished Monument is a take on the “tedious disdain” towards the ever present Calton Hill memorial when none of us “have any greater claim, To Be Complete.”
Mr Ledingham said: “By taking these slightly oblique views on something you know really well, you can reconnect with what you are about.”
Images of the male-dominated statues of the city centre come off the page in Edinburgh’s Monumental Night Out, when the 53 men represented in the memorials walk off their plinths and into a Grassmarket pub.
The three women represented in stone – Queen Victoria and an unknown South African woman and child – later arrive, causing the men to to be “chastened into silence”, with their “heads bowed in awkward shame”.
The creative partnership began with Stockbridge Lovers produced for the wedding of Mr Ledingham’s son in Australia. From then, photos and poems were sent back and forth to trigger a response from each other, with an exhibition of life in the Borders mounted around 2000.
Mr Hunter, a member of the 1984 Grand Slam team and former Selkirk player, said: “Don always puts a nice twist on the photographs and then I do the same for his poems. The photos and the words really work together.
“Of course, Don thinks it is all about him and I think it is all about me.”
Mr Hunter said he and his friend had lived almost “parallel lives”, with the two attending Royal High School, living in Portobello, playing rugby and moving to the Borders, where they both met their wives. Edinburgh Revisited is the next page in their long friendship.
An exhibition of photographs and poems from Edinburgh Revisited is on show at Open Eye Gallery, Abercromby Place, until Saturday, February 5. The event is sponsored by Cala Homes. To order a copy of the book visit www.edinburghrevisited.co.uk