David Peat (1947 – 2012) was one of Scotland’s leading film-makers and photographers. Best known as a film-maker for his closely observed documentaries which include – Gutted, This Mine is Ours, Me and My Face, Life’s too Short, Please Leave the Light On etc.
From working as a film cameraman in his early years, he shot major documentaries for well-known producers like Paul Hamann in the 1970’s. His observational skills were learned from working with two early masters of the genre in the UK. Roger Graef and his cameraman, Charles Stewart.
He also made a number of arts films for cinema and television along with the acclaimed Scottish film-maker, Murray Grigor (The Hand of Adam, Frank Lloyd Wright, Blast! ). Peat also worked with Murray Grigor on films featuring Billy Connolly ( Clydescope, Big Banana Feet).
When Peat was trying to find his way into the film and TV world, he built up a portfolio of photographs of children living in the slum areas of Glasgow – The Gorbals, Tradeston and Maryhill. These photographs taken in 1968, have become an historic record of times long gone. An Eye on Street is published as a reminder of past Glasgow lives, but also as a tribute to David Peat.
David Bruce is a former Director of the Scottish Film Council and the Edinburgh International Film Festival. A historian of film and photography, he is the author of The Sun Pictures – the Hill-Adamson Calotypes; Edinburgh Past and Present (with Maurice Lindsay); and Scotland – the Movie and has contributed widely to other publications. He is a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and convenor of the Scottish Society for the History of Photography.
His interest in John Henry Greatrex was triggered by a lecture given by Dr Sara Stevenson, then Senior Curator of Photography in the National Galleries of Scotland, who made reference to a Glasgow photographer who had resorted to ‘printing his own money’. The resulting hunt for Greatrex lead to fascinating revelations not only about a colourful criminal career but about Victorian photography and forgery, crime and punishment, in England, Scotland, Australia and the USA.
Alan Spence is one of Scotland’s best-loved writers. Born in Glasgow, he lives in Edinburgh and teaches in Aberdeen. He is an award-winning poet, novelist, and playwright. He is Professor of Creative writing at the University of Aberdeen where he is also artistic director of the WORD Festival. With his wife Janani, he runs the Sri Chinmoy Meditation Centre and the practice of meditation is at the heart of his life and work. He is regarded as a master of haiku and his collections of this genre include Glasgow Zen, Seasons of the Heart, Clear Light and the Renaissance Press publication Morning Glory.
George Bruce (1909-2002), was one of the most important poets in the Scottish Literary Renaissance of the twentieth century. Born in Fraserburgh, where his family ran a herring curing firm, he attended Fraserburgh Academy and Aberdeen University graduating with First Class Honours in English in 1932.
A BBC Scotland Producer, he pioneered arts broadcasting on radio and television. With Sea Talk (1944) and his later collections, he achieved a very individual style of expression, dealing with a wide range of issues, from the personal to the international, but often rooted in his upbringing in the fishing communities of Buchan. In 1999, at the age of ninety, he won the Saltire Society ‘Book of the Year’ award for his collection of poems, Pursuit. Two years later in 2001 he published Today Tomorrow containing his work from 1933 to 2000.
With his deep interest in the visual artists, he was the ideal collaborator for Elizabeth Blackadder and John Bellany. His haiku, written towards the end of his life, are matched perfectly by Blackadder in Through the Letterbox and his affinity with Bellany through their common fishing ancestry resulted in the outstanding folios Woman of the North Sea and The Sacred Sea. His final collected poems, published posthumously, The Singing of the Foxes (2007) also includes images by Bellany.
John Bellany CBE RA HRSA
John Bellany is one of the most influential Scottish painters since the Second World War. Throughout his career he has painted elemental allegories encompassing the complexities of the human condition. His work is anchored in the rich poetry of the sea and its myths, making Bellany the perfect artist to collaborate with George Bruce, also a poet of the sea. The two portfolios Woman of the North Sea and The Sacred Sea are the magnificent result of this rewarding collaboration.
As John Bellany’s work developed, his iconography became broader – tackling the universality of humanity – pain, sorrow, life and death. His painting is powerful, vibrant and often expressed in astonishing explosions of colour. But his work can also be lyrical, revealing an acute sensitivity to the turmoil of life. He has been awarded numerous honours for his towering contribution to Scottish art.
He works in London, Edinburgh and Barga, Italy.
Dame Elizabeth Blackadder is one of Scotland’s finest painters. She was the first woman artist to be elected a member of both the Royal Academy and the Royal Scottish Academy. She is one of Britain’s most popular artists.
She studied at the Edinburgh College of Art and Edinburgh University – and belongs to a long tradition of Scottish artists whose glorious use of colour is widely recognised. The brilliance of her colour, the delicacy of her painting and the refinement of her design, convey the intensity of observation which she transfers with exquisite sensitivity to paper. Her interest in Japan (reflected in her work) and the fluency of her brushstrokes, make her the perfect artist to illustrate books of haiku.
Elizabeth Blackadder is one of the most honoured artists of her generation. As well as a number of honorary degrees – in 2001 she was made The Queen’s Limner and Painter in Scotland.