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New photographic exhibition at Duff House

1 November 2013

An upcoming exhibition of photography at Duff House aims to record the lives of the men and women working in the Moray Firth fishing community on the North East coast of Scotland.

At Sea: A photographic exhibition by Paul Duke will run from 2 November to 5 January at the house and will feature black and white images which capture some of those working within the industry.

Between 2009 – 2012, Duke amassed around 100 portraits, all of which were shot on location using a portable studio set-up in harbours, shipyards, factories and sheds.

The images also feature in an accompanying book, At Sea, which includes an afterword by the late painter John Bellany – who himself drew inspiration from coastal communities - in which he describes Duke’s photographs as “noble portraits of noble individuals.”

The portraits were unveiled today (1 November) by Stewart Stevenson, MSP, Banffshire and Buchan Coast at a special event to launch the exhibition. They will go on display to the general public from tomorrow. Entry to the exhibition is included in the admission to Duff House and entry to the exhibition only is £4.40.

Lorna Ewan, Head of Visitor Experience, Content and Learning at Historic Scotland said: “Duff House is a spectacular location and will provide the perfect backdrop for this fascinating exhibition. Paul Duke’s work explores an industry which plays a significant role in the identity of the North East, and visitors to Duff House will be given a unique opportunity to find out more about the people behind that industry through his beautiful portraits.”

Paul Duke said: “The portraits I produced document the dignity of a way of life and celebrate the legacy of the individuals who sustain that culture in our present. By capturing these individuals at this critical time in this community, the portraits chronicle the changing face of a generation in flux.”

Stewart Stevenson MSP said: “Paul Duke’s work documents the fishing industry-a sector that has long been key to the North-east’s thriving economy. I was pleased to welcome Paul to Parliament in May when he displayed his work there, and I am delighted that he has taken the opportunity to showcase his work in the area that it is focussed on.”

Notes for editors:

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.

  • Paul Duke was born and educated in Edinburgh.  He gained a Master of Arts degree from the Royal College of Art in 1989.  After living and working in Emilia Romagna, Italy, Paul returned to the UK where he has been lecturing in photography while pursuing commissioned work and personal projects.  His work is held in private and public collections, including the National Portrait Gallery in London and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh.  As well as exhibiting in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery he has shown in the Scottish Parliament and, was included in the landmark exhibition ‘Light from the Dark Room – A celebration of Scottish Photography’ at the Royal Scottish Academy.  He currently teaches photography on the undergraduate and graduate degree programmes at Middlesex University in London.

  • 2013 is the Year of Natural Scotland, inspiring our people and our visitors to celebrate Scotland’s outstanding natural beauty, landscapes and biodiversity as Scotland prepares to welcome the world in 2014 and beyond. Find out more about Scotland’s outstanding natural beauty at

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For further information

Alice Wyllie
Media & PR Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8603 or 07920 768 096