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At the drying nets
Object Type: Photograph
Artist/Maker: MacLeod, Steven S.
Media/Materials: Original B&W darkroom prints with Ilford Warmtone silver gelatin prints with Winsor & Newton black oil stick applied.
Dimensions: image size: 40 cm x 30 cm; overall: 57 cm x 47.5 cm
A silver gelatin photographic print hand manipulated with black oil stick by local caithness people.
It is estimated that 147,609 Scots were killed in active service during WWI, 1914-18.
Records show that 26.4% of enlisted Scots died compared to 11.8% of the population in
other areas of the UK. The population of Scotland at the time was 10% of the total UK
population yet the statistic accounted for a fifth of Britain’s war dead.
The war devastated many Highland rural villages to such an extent that in the post war
census, the census entrants of many unreturned soldiers were listed as NIL. With the loss of
so many able bodied young men, rural communities diminished and people slowly drifted
away from their lands, rural industry and crafts. Whole communities disappeared; places
became forgotten - this became known as the third clearance.
Steve Macleod has spent a period of time creating a photographic response to these losses;
the traces of abandoned communities in the Highland landscape. Visiting old ghosts, he
has traced dilapidated evidence of forgotten villages and ways of life.
Inspired by the writings of author Neil Gunn he travelled to and met with people now living
in these areas, people who may have no historical connection yet embrace the beautifully
He engaged with them in a collaborative approach to the photographic works.
Creating silver gelatin prints he invited people to paint onto the prints with black oil stick
with their hands, in turn placing their own identity on the landscape. Resurrecting a
connection that commemorates the past yet connects us with the present.
NIL consists of a series of sixteen images, reproduced as limited edition archival Giclee
Object Number: ABDRG2016.2