THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
My journey is almost screwed up
Our final day of shooting

In and around Edinburgh

I have never spent much time in Edinburgh before. I love the Highlands and Islands and have always regarded this city as - at best - a staging post to the North. I may have been wrong. It's a jolly University town with lots of young people having a good time among the grey stones. Their purchasing power and that of the tourists ensures lots of pleasant entertainment, only slightly spoiled by shops selling souvenir tat. The Royal Mile should be Scotland's Bond Street, but instead is full of shops selling tam o'shanters with built-in ginger wigs, kilts and other such frippery.

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On Friday we photographed Edinburgh Castle to death; trying to provide Joe with images that had not been shot before. That's not easy in a popular tourist spot but we did our best. The best image I had to offer for critique however was a portrait I made at dinner on Thursday night of Victor; a fellow student.

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We encountered the childish pomposity of the British state at the Castle. Every visitor was wielding a camera of some kind but our diligence and the quality of our equipment led to several approaches by officials telling us we needed a permit as we were shooting "professionally". The course leaders are professionals of course but three of them were not shooting at all and Joe was not shooting for publication. 

I approached three employees in their Castle sweatshirts and asked if I could make a group portrait of them. Two of these ladies were Scottish and seemed happy enough with the idea but one of them was French. She drew herself up to her full height and said that as they were in uniform and "representing the castle" it would not be appropriate. We had a brief discussion of English law pertaining to photography and the correct attitude of public servants to their employers, but she held firm and I moved on.

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In the afternoon we shot the Royal Mile and in the evening we went up Calton Hill to await the sunset.

The map of my tour is here and my photos are here.

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