scotland in books

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Taking photos at Innerpeffray Library, Scotland's oldest free public library.
 

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Peggy Ferguson reads from a Gaelic children's book on the steps of her father's secondhand antiquarian bookshop bothy adjacent to their home on the Isle of Skye.
 

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The library at Brodie Castle near Forres in Moray, courtesy of The National Trust for Scotland.
 

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Volunteers Julie Lee (left) and Houida (right) with volunteer coordinator, Gabrielle Macbeth (center), at the Glasgow Women's Library.
 

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The home library of Hollie Reid, owner of Lovecrumbs in Edinburgh.

 

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A charity shop in Leith.

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Left: the home staircase of the owners, Joyce and Ian Cochrane, at Old Bank Bookshop in Wigtown. Right: from a home library on the Isle of Arran, the inscription of the first gift Stuart Gough ever gave to his now-wife, Heather Gough, to celebrate their first year of dating in 1971, including the orchid he gave her that same day.
 

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Morag Cuomo cooks with her son, Duncan Cuomo, in their home kitchen above their restaurant, The Pheasant, in Sorbie.

 

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Left: Caledonia Books in Edinburgh. Right: Better Read Books in Ellon, Aberdeenshire.
 

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Colin Dewar looking to identify a flower in his Collins Flower Guide in Wigtown.
 

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Captain watches a window cleaner early morning in The Bookshop, Wigtown.
 

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Right: Abigail and Zoey Stewart read in their mother's art gallery, Craigard Gallery. Left: some books in the home of author John Francis Ward and his wife Pauline Ward in Perth.
 

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Isle of Arran's mobile library and librarian Susanna Talbot at their Lamlash stop, parked in front of a memorial comemorating the Highland Clearances.
 

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Left: David Buchan stands with the phone booth he turned into a free lending library upon learning the booth would be decommissioned by BT. Right: owner Charles Leakey sits in the former church turned bookshop, Leakey's Bookshop in Inverness.
 

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Helena Cochrane reads in her bedroom above her parents' bookshop, Old Bank Bookshop, in Wigtown.
 

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A 16th century book on palm reading at Innerpeffray Library.
 

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Asif Khan, director of the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh.
 

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Killie Browser, a bookshop and event space at Kilmarnock Station.
 

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Geordie Coles in his family's home library in Edinburgh.
 

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Left: Innerpeffray Library Manager and Keeper of Books, Lara Haggerty, shows some of the collection's miniature books. Right: a peek into the secret liquor cabinet at Dalmeny House, home of Lord and Lady Rosebery.
 

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Gilleasbuig Ferguson, a Gaelic and secondhand antiquarian bookseller, reads in Gaelic to his youngest son, Archie, at their home on the Isle of Skye.  
 

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Haddo House library in Aberdeenshire, courtesy of The National Trust for Scotland.
 

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For the past three months, I've taken photos of bookshops, libraries, and book lovers all over Scotland. I wanted to share the stories of people and collections as I met them from Wigtown to Inverness, from bustling Edinburgh to the quiet Isles of Arran and Skye, but here I am back home in Portland, breathless and ever eager to share what I can before it slips away.

Part of my automatic response to the question, "why?" is that I was Artist in Residence for Scotland's National Book Town, but the real reason is that books are so evocative and beautiful, I wanted to find a way to travel all over the country to see them. Not just in grand estates and charming bookshops, but in corners of homes and quiet moments in public. Despite an ever-increasingly digital world, I can look around and see that there has always been a subtle but strong lifeblood to keep and preserve physical books. I see it in the way we laboriously move from house to house with heavy boxes, the way our eyes light up when we find a book we recognize and love an unfamiliar shelf, and the way we continue to allow ourselves to be captivated by something which, upon looking, may very well only be a stack of paper with ink.

When first dreaming up this series, I acknowledged the potential of the stories and life that come from reading books. What I wanted to explore with this project was how the books themselves, in simply existing and taking up space, continue to be necessary and relevant in a world that's moving faster and becoming less tactile every day. 

My final exhibition includes 124 photos of books throughout the country, but in reality I could have shared many more. It's a work in progress. I could have continued taking more photos and visiting more places and people, hearing their stories and seeing how books are still alive and important. I could have kept going. And I want to keep going, but for now, here's this. 

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Scotland in Books is currently showing through May 14th, 2017
11 North Main Street
Wigtown, DG8 9HL
Monday - Saturday, 10am-4pm & Sunday 12-4pm

Free admission

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