Norman McBeath, one time photographer in residence in Oxford and now based in Edinburgh has a photographic exhibition starting next week as part of the Edinburgh Arts Festival.
Yoam. © Norman McBeath
BODY BAGS / SIMONIDES
FEATURING PHOTOGRAPHS BY NORMAN McBEATH AND TEXTS BY ROBERT CRAWFORD
Thursday 4 August– Friday 9 September 2011
Studios C3 & C4, Edinburgh College of Art, Main Building
Visit the gallery website for more information
“Simonides’s best works are body bags. Zipped into them are what is left of human lives. This installation is a collaboration between one of the country’s leading poets, Robert Crawford, and the highly acclaimed photographer Norman McBeath.
The installation connects writing from over 2,000 years ago with contemporary wars in the Middle East and with acts of remembrance. Raising questions about the status of a so-called dead language, it also invokes issues such as counterterrorism measures and ordinary people’s experiences during conflicts.
It features black and white photographs paired with Scots (and English) translations of epitaphs by the ancient Greek poet Simonides. These epitaphs were written for civilians and soldiers killed during the Persian Wars (492–449 BC) in celebrated battles such as Thermopylae and Salamis. The texts have a short, sometimes fragmentary eloquence. Classical sculptures from Edinburgh College of Art’s historic cast collection feature in the installation.
Links between ancient and modern are highlighted and given original and elegant expression through the exquisite black and white photographs by Norman McBeath. These square-format, contemplative studies are not war photographs but scenes from everyday life – details of which thread through much of Simonides’s work. They deliberately avoid any descriptive or literal link to the texts – the relationship between photograph and epitaph is evocative and tangential. A beautifully produced hardback book, Simonides, containing 25 black and white photographs and paired texts will be available.”
There is a beautiful book accompanying this exhibition