This exhibition features black & white and colour photographs of unseen and forgotten Edinburgh interiors by Scottish artist Ron O’Donnell. During the 1970s and 1980s O’Donnell focused on photographing local shops, such as grocers, fishmongers, and pet shops, as well tea rooms, barbers, and laundrettes all over Edinburgh, some of which are no longer in existence. Three decades later, he returned to taking pictures of interiors. This time, documenting auto repair businesses, haberdasheries, record shops and public toilets, amongst other places, including the smallest shop in Edinburgh.
O’Donnell has always had a curious and insatiable desire to document the city. Looking for unusual interiors, he would cycle around Edinburgh with his camera, a flash gun in a cardboard box, strapped with bungees onto his bike rack, and a tripod slung round his neck. He found his camera was a key to accessing hidden spots that many people never saw. As a result, O’Donnell has created an impressive photographic collection of these little-known and lost places.
This exhibition displays for the first time a small selection of around 40 photographs from this archive. The images on display reveal the social changes that have taken place in Edinburgh, but also illustrate how our behaviour as consumers has shifted dramatically over the years from local communities to global online markets. Edinburgh: A Lost World highlights how many of these once bustling and thriving locations have now disappeared from the city’s interior landscape.