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Newhaven Reflection

By AllistairK
This current Newhaven harbour, just a couple of miles from the centre of Edinburgh, sits beside the main road between Leith, Newhaven and Granton. The original, smaller, 16th century harbour was filled in long ago and now forms Fishmarket Square on the opposite side of that road. During a visit to the area in 1842, Queen Victoria sketched a Newhaven fishwife and wrote about ď striking looking people ÖÖÖ. very clean and somewhat Dutch like, in their snowy white caps and brightly coloured skirts. ď

Robert Adamson and David Octavius Hill included the fishermen and women of Newhaven among their social documentary photographs, the first such photographs ever produced. Robert had learned the Calotype process from his brother, Dr John Adamson who himself had learned the process when William Henry Fox Talbot visited his friend Sir David Brewster at St Andrews where he was Principal of two of the colleges at the University.

Adamson & Hill took an egalitarian approach to all of their subjects. D.O. Hill was an accomplished artist so they used artistís methods to impart information in their photographs sometimes including a book or spectacles within a photograph to indicate academic or literary accomplishment. These items also helped keep the sitterís hands steady during the long exposure times of the 1840ís.

While anchored in other ports, Newhaven fisherman would write and receive letters from home with other fishing boats ferrying the letters. One of Adamson & Hillís photographs records such a letter being received so, it communicated the fact that these were articulate people who could read and write.

Robert Adamson was the technician of the partnership. Could he have imagined the photographic processes which we know ? Perhaps not in a Digital sense, but during his short life he advanced the Calotype process and would certainly have imagined how he would like the photographic process to perform ! D.O. Hill was a significant figure within the art world in Scotland and always acknowledged Robertís mastery of the technical side. Following Robertís death, he wrote most movingly about his friend then collaborated briefly with other photographers before largely returning to his painting and work with the Royal Scottish Academy. Dr John Adamson did much to improve public health in St Andrews and continued to work with photography. He further advanced the Calotype process and in many ways is the often unacknowledged pioneer of the medium. Can never mention the time of the Adamsonís and Hill without mentioning Jessie Mann, but thatís another story.

Take care all.

Tags: General Harbour Edinburgh Reflections

Voters: Saastad, RysiekJan, chase and 37 more

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Chinga Plus
10 3 2 United Kingdom
28 Apr 2020 3:54PM
Excellent image and such exquisite reflections !!
Isabel GrinGrin
adagio Plus
2 3 2 England
28 Apr 2020 4:20PM
Brilliant reflections, Allistair. Very nice framing of the scene, too.

28 Apr 2020 4:33PM
Amazing reflections
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.5k 2343 United Kingdom
28 Apr 2020 4:45PM
Nice. Can I suggest flipping this vertically, reflections have a special quality when viewed 'the right way up'. More surprising.
saltireblue Plus
10 11.4k 69 Norway
28 Apr 2020 4:47PM
Reflections, ripples and upside-down buildings...what's not to like.Smile
28 Apr 2020 5:06PM

Quote:Nice. Can I suggest flipping this vertically, reflections have a special quality when viewed 'the right way up'. More surprising.

Many thanks for the suggestion. Flipped version duly added 🙂
pamelajean Plus
14 1.5k 2188 United Kingdom
28 Apr 2020 5:16PM
Love the version !
28 Apr 2020 5:18PM

Quote:Love the version !

Me too, thanks to Mrs W.

mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.5k 2343 United Kingdom
28 Apr 2020 5:20PM
Thanks for the version, yes that works nicely!
28 Apr 2020 7:11PM
Great reflections
dark_lord Plus
16 2.7k 734 England
28 Apr 2020 7:42PM
I do prefer the Version. Interesting narrative.
29 Apr 2020 10:47PM
Excellent colouful reflections..Lin
Lillian Plus
11 23 17 United Kingdom
4 May 2020 7:11PM
2 outstanding reflection images
and then the introduction... thank you

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