February 26, 2015
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No I didn’t know there was a year of light either, funded by UNESCO or anyone else. It was my good friend Norman McBeath that brought this to my attention. He and Robert Crawford have had a number of collaborations, this is the most recent
Commissioned by the University of St Andrews for the UNESCO 2015 International Year of Light and launched at the Royal Society of Edinburgh on 23 February, Light Box is an artistic collaboration between the poet Robert Crawford (whose biography of TS Eliot was Radio 4’s Book of the Week recently) and photographer Norman McBeath, who has over sixty portraits in the collections of the National Portrait Galleries in London, Edinburgh and Canberra.
Light Box celebrates light in all its aspects – solar, sacred, scientific, nourishing, and poetic – with Robert Crawford’s haiku juxtaposed with with black and white photographs by Norman McBeath. The relation between poems and pictures is often teasingly oblique: neither simply illustrates the other. Instead, they ‘resonate’ together, each enhancing the other.
Exactly 150 years ago the great Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell published his most influential paper on electromagnetism (a paper crucial to Einstein). Maxwell had a scientific instrument called a ‘light box’. Nineteenth-century scientists sometimes wrote of light ‘resonating’. This new Light Box was produced after the poet and the photographer met leading physicists who work in optoelectronics.
Designed and typeset in Warnock by Robert Dalrymple, Light Box is published by Easel Press as a twenty-eight leaf set, in a limited edition of ten, signed on the colophon by poet and photographer. The paper measures 394 x 381mm and is presented in a black buckram archival-quality solander box with silver gilt title. A digital version of Light Box can be viewed through this link https://arts.st-andrews.ac.uk/digitalhumanities/node/195