Duncan Astbury, landscape and fine art photography in Scotland

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Books and Monographs by Duncan Astbury

These books are made available as self-publish on demand.

See my published books


Wax War Wane

An evanescence of warfare in the Scottish landscape

Wax War Wane

The Scottish landscape, in common with much of the UK, is being continually modified as a result of military activity, notably clustered around the periods of the first and second world wars but throughout the last century. The landscape is a consequence of these cycles of building and neglecting, giving rise to various states of evanescence as structures and the memories of them fade away, dissipate, dissolve or disappear like vapour.

With no fighting on our own soil our current day to day exposure to war is limited to that of a news media experience and thus a detachment from reality. Baudrillard developed a theory of hyperreality, that is to say the inability of consciousness to distinguish reality from a simulation of reality, especially in technologically advanced postmodern societies. In his book “The Gulf War Did Not Take Place” he applies this theory to explore how great this disconnect can now be.

In exploring the assorted buildings, bunkers and shelters we are as the prisoners in Plato's cave, shown only the shadows of what once was. We infer a past from the present without really knowing, detached from the realities of the original use we are on the edge of a hyperreality. By taking straight photographs I would risk being caught by the intrinsic properties of direct representation and indexicality, an attempt to see what these artefacts once were while their true meaning in fact lies beyond what could ever be achieved, a pin to burst the hyperreal bubble.

Instead, by considering the reality of these artefacts as primarily existing in the here and now, I seek to embrace the fact that there have been irrevocable transitions, both in terms of a physical evanescence and in terms of the wider society's failure to recall. Therefore, I don't want the images to appear like some dusty old sepia archival image but to have the vivid punch of colours revealed by shining a light on what we have today. The bold stylistic treatment seeks to deliver a hyperreality, whilst working contrary to the methods of photorealism, and so presents the photographs in a more painterly way.

Large format hardback with more than 50 photographs, printed on high quality photo paper.
ISBN 978-1364754679

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Awaiting the Rapture

ATR 08

This book features photographs that reveal an insight on how religious beliefs and faith in a life after death have traditionally shaped the Scottish landscape. Taken over a 2 year period, they include a variety of scenic countryside locations, typically small parish churches and rural graveyards.

The Scottish landscape is commonly altered by an assortment of objects associated with death; family burial grounds, mausoleums, graveyards, grave markers, graves, mortsafes, monuments and tombs. These objects are Christian in origin, carefully crafted and speak of a belief in a Rapture, when the body is said to rise up from the earth. The photographs show how this belief has impacted our landscape over the last few centuries.

Large format hardback with linen cover and printed on high quality photo paper.

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Or Exhibition Guide with soft cover and hardcover options.

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