Last weekend we were delighted to receive officially our Catching the Tide acquisition from photographer Colin McPherson. From the moment we first saw this iconic image,we knew this series of photographs was an important and striking record of a disappearing industry.
Catching the Tide has been a longterm project for McPherson, who first encountered salmon-net fishermen along the Angus coast in 1995. His resulting photographs have been collected as beautiful works of art by galleries and museums around the world.
The Library’s Special Collections Division approached McPherson last year when Rachel Nordstrom was curating the exhibition ‘Scotland Through The Lens: 175 years of documentary photography’. She wanted to round out the story of documenting the livelihood of fisher folk in Scotland right up to the 21st century. The resulting seven images we acquired are not only beautiful photographs to add to our contemporary collections, but are also an important part of a national historical record -last year the moratorium on coastal net fishing was extended for a further three years and could well spell the end of this way of life.
Two of the images can still be seen as part of an exhibition at The Gateway Galleries at The North Haugh in St Andrews, which has been extended until April 2017. The catalogue records and further information in our database can be found online here.
As part of McPherson’s project a documentary film was made to take a closer look at the inspiration behind the works. Viewed alongside the collection, it provides an insightful perspective on not only the work of net fishermen along the coast, but also on McPherson’s own efforts as he records these moments on film – sometimes getting a wee bit wet along the way.
McPherson has also made a short video showing the production of prints from his original negatives – made on St Andrews Day last year. The film serves as an instructive insight into McPherson’s darkroom processes, and perfectly complements our new acquisitions.
Photographic Collections Manager