Exhibition: George Paxton (1850-1904) and Reflections

Discussion in 'General' started by Rob MacKillop, Jun 30, 2012.

  1. Rob MacKillop

    Rob MacKillop Edinburgh Correspondent

    Visited the Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh again today, and was pleased to view an exhibition of photos of trees by George Paxton, a 19th-century amateur photograpger. The website gives the following info:

    "The history of photography is closely bound up with the study of botany; many of the early pioneers of photography such as William Henry Fox Talbot and Anna Atkins used botanical subjects for their photographs and this continued throughout the Victorian period and into the early Twentieth century. George Paxton was a brewer and amateur photographer with a strong interest in photographing trees and his collection of some 650 glass plate negatives was donated to the garden by his grandson Ian Marshall some years ago. Initial cataloguing and research during the lst year has revealed the need to know more about the little-known Scottish photographer and his collection. Over sixty images (largely of trees) have been printed and are exhibited here for the first time - in the hope that this exhibition may stimulate interest in Paxton's work as a photographer and these images in particular, but also the ongoing conservation and research role of the Garden's library archive and its contribution to public understanding and enjoyment. "

    I was really impressed with many of the images, especially the ones of twigs, branches, fruit, stylishly laid on table tops, in imitation of botanical drawings popular at the time. I'll start with afew of these images, which I photographed through glass frames, and also contribute some images I took of the exhibition space. I really loved being at this exhibition, and encourage anyone who can get to Edinburgh to attend.


    Look at how beautiful, and somehow modern, Paxton's abstract awareness is:

    Paxton 1ahc by RobMacKillop, on Flickr


    The tone of these apples is gorgeous, and I'm afraid my photo does not bring out their beauty:

    Paxton Apples by RobMacKillop, on Flickr


    Here I used contrast to bring out the structure...

    Paxton BerriesFC by RobMacKillop, on Flickr

    Exhibition Chair by RobMacKillop, on Flickr


    Here I was photgraphing one of Paxton's trees, when the sunlight broke through and illuminated Susan...

    Susan Reflecting by RobMacKillop, on Flickr

    Windows by RobMacKillop, on Flickr

    Paxton Glass Case by RobMacKillop, on Flickr

    Paxton Exhibition by RobMacKillop, on Flickr

    staircase by RobMacKillop, on Flickr

    10. Upstairs was an art exhibition of work by William McKeown (1962-2011) whose work is concerned with the subtle differences of daylight. Here's my tribute to him...

    Art and Light by RobMacKillop, on Flickr​
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2012
  2. Brian Moore

    Brian Moore Moderator

    Wonderful, Rob. Especially your images. I love 4, 6, 9 and 10. You're delivering up some really really good foties, Rob!
  3. Rob MacKillop

    Rob MacKillop Edinburgh Correspondent

    Thanks, Brian. I found it a stimulating environment. Despite the sun being out, it was raining quite heavily, somehow adding to the air of stillness and relaxation in the exhibition space. Susan and I were exhausted. At 2.30 AM (repeat, AM!) we got up to take Rhona to school for the start of a LONG journey to Belize (Belize!). It's a school Geography trip - cave crawling, jungle trekking, and swimming in shark-infested waters. Our stress levels have gone through the roof this last couple of days, so this exhibition brought some calm to our ragged nerves :) Rhona will be away for three weeks - the longest she has ever been away from us. So expect a lot of photies over the next few weeks as I try to find something to busy my mind with!
  4. Brian Moore

    Brian Moore Moderator

    I know the feeling of having a daughter go off somewhere. It'll be over and she'll be back before you know it. I'm looking forward to your foties.
  5. Rob MacKillop

    Rob MacKillop Edinburgh Correspondent

    I'm looking forward to HER photos - she has my G10 with her. Forgot to tell her it is not waterproof!
  6. Lesley Jones

    Lesley Jones Otherwise know as Zooey

    They really are a stunning set Rob. Numbers 4 and 5 in particular are just amazing! I would never have seen the possibilities with all that white space and yet you've somehow given the chair special meaning. The one of Susan is incredible - I can't figure out what is going on, but I love it anyway :)
  7. Hamish Gill

    Hamish Gill Well-Known Member

    your annoyingly good at photography sometimes Rob ;)
    Really nice series!
  8. Rob MacKillop

    Rob MacKillop Edinburgh Correspondent

    Lesley, many thanks. I expected to see John Lennon's white piano in the corner. Such a white space, no point in hiding it. I was seeing black and white immediately I walked through the door.

    Hamish, long may I continue to annoy you ;)
  9. Pete Askew

    Pete Askew Admin

    Not only an interesting insight into a little-known photographer, but a fabulous set of images to boot. The standout is the image of Susan and the white room is very nice. The last shot I like very much indeed too. Love the blown area by the window.
  10. Rob MacKillop

    Rob MacKillop Edinburgh Correspondent

    Thanks, Pete. I've emailed the Gallery folk, with a link to this thread.
  11. Rob MacKillop

    Rob MacKillop Edinburgh Correspondent

    Just received this message from the curator of the exhibition, who visited this thread. I'm very thankful for his words of support.

    Dear Rob

    Many thanks for your sensitive and enthusiastic review of our exhibition. It's really difficult to attract publicity for our botanical shows and they're never intended to be for a purely botanical audience anyway, so it's gratifying and heartening to have such interest from you.

    I am copying this to Dr. Helen Bennett who carried out most of the research for the show – and Helen is also in contact with George Paxton's descendants who will also be keen to see your review.

    Your photographs are wonderful and much appreciated.

    Very best wishes


    Paul Nesbitt
    Director and Curator of Exhibitions
    Inverleith House
    Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
  12. Chris Dodkin

    Chris Dodkin West Coast Correspondent

    Wonderful set Rob, and some well deserved praise from the exhibitors.

    I like the stairs myself - very stylish shot
  13. Rob MacKillop

    Rob MacKillop Edinburgh Correspondent

    Cheers, Chris. It has been a stimulating experience.

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