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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...


Fife funeral for ‘Father of modern Scottish photography’ Joseph McKenzie

July 14 2015

Internationally-acclaimed photographer Joseph McKenzie, who established the photography department at Dundee University’s Duncan of Jordanstone Art College, has died. Known as “the father of modern Scottish photography”, Mr McKenzie was one of the most ambitious and prolific post-war photographers. He only used black and white images and his most famous and sometimes controversial work focused on urban decay. Born in London in 1929, he was educated in Hoxton and then, during the war, at Cranborne in Dorset. After conscription and regular service in the RAF as a photographer from 1947 to 1952, Mr McKenzie studied photography at London College of Printing from 1952-1954. He was invited to introduce photography as a lecturer to St Martin’s School of Fashion, London, in 1954, and was later appointed lecturer in photography at Duncan of Jordanstone, a position he held until he retired from the post in 1986. Throughout his career Mr McKenzie won international recognition and was elected an associate of the Royal Photographic Society in 1954, a position he held until he retired in 1973. He was one of the first photographers to put on a purely photographic exhibition in the UK. In 1965 he embarked on a series of major exhibitions, Glasgow Gorbals Children. This was followed by Dundee a City in Transition the following year, a series made to commemorate the opening of the Tay Road Bridge. Famously it captured images of the city before it was transformed by developers who, he said, “wiped away” much of its architectural heritage. In 1970 his Hibernian Images exhibitions caused controversy after it compared the lives of young people in Northern Ireland and Scotland. An attempt to censor his catalogue led Mr McKenzie to withdraw from public exhibitions of his work for many years. His work is represented in a number of public and private collections, such as the V&A Museum in London, the National Portrait Gallery of Scotland and the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust. Mr McKenzie’s funeral will take place at Our Lady, Star of the Sea Catholic Church in Tayport at 9.30am on July 24.


Dundee University podcasts: The Photography of Michael Peto

May 8 2017

In the Dundee University archives sits one man’s collection of 130,000 prints and negatives that provide an extraordinary glimpse of life in the mid 20th century. This was no local photographer, but Michael Peto, the son of a village shopkeeper who escaped the Nazi occupation by fleeing his native Hungary weeks before the borders closed in 1939.   Listen to the podcast:   The career that had begun at home continued and by the end of the 1940s his first published work appeared in The Observer. His images were eclectic in subject and location, from candid shots of music and theatre, including iconic shots of The Beatles; to photographs of Welsh mining communities and Indian villages. The fact that the university is custodian to such an important body of work is testament to the role photography has played in the city of Dundee. The first photographic studio was opened in the Nethergate in 1847 by a Mr E Holmes. Although in its relative infancy the public interest in photography was great. While a guest of Lord and Lady Kinnaird, Sir David Brewster heard from William Fox Talbot about a process of capturing images with light. Kinnaird was fascinated and became patron of the first calotype studio at Rossie Priory in Perthshire. Lord Kinnaird and Brewster were also on the committee for the first photographic exhibition, held in 1854, where Fox Talbot was an exhibitor among international names. Commercial photography flourished in Dundee thanks to James Valentine. He had studied photography at St Andrews University and established Valentine & Sons Ltd in 1851. At this time, he added portrait photography to engraving, printing and supply of business stationery. His sons William and George joined the firm, bringing experience of landscape photography and eventually leading to the postcards that put the firm on the map. The commission to photograph the Tay Rail Bridge for the Court of Enquiry after the disaster in 1879 led to a set of images that were re-examined in 2003, and allowed researchers to see more clearly why the bridge had collapsed. At Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design the photography department was established by a man regarded as “the father of modern Scottish photography” – Joseph McKenzie. Born in London, he specialised in capturing real life in the inner cities, always in black and white. There was a groundbreaking series on children in the Gorbals in 1965 and another set depicting Dundee as a city in change in the run-up to the opening of the Tay Road Bridge. He continued to document Dundee throughout the following decades. In 1964 he had moved from London to Dundee to the nascent photography department at DJCAD and there he stayed until retirement in 1986, teaching numerous generations of nascent photographers, including, in the mid 1960’s the renowned Albert Watson and myself in the 1980’s. So, not only was the father of modern Scottish photography a Londoner, but one of the most iconic images taken by a Dundee photographer was of a London landmark. Truth be told, it only became a London landmark because of the image – four men in single file on a zebra crossing. It was the cover image of Abbey Road by The Beatles. Iain McMillan was the photographer. A Dundee High School boy from Carnoustie, he worked in a jute mill on leaving school in 1954 before moving to London to study photography. The Book of London from 1966 brought him into contact with The Beatles, through his friendship with Yoko Ono. From there John Lennon invited him to photograph the iconic Abbey Road cover. He remained close to Lennon and Ono, and revisited the famous crossing with McCartney in 1993 to shoot the Paul is Live album cover, a sly reference to the urban legend of Paul having died in 1966. Ian returned home in the 1980s and continued his passion for photography, often it is said with a borrowed camera. The photographic department at Duncan of Jordanstone in the University of Dundee continues to this day, students and staff making work in multiple forms, from the digital to the analogue, as part of a wider practice, or an art form in it’s own right.   Calum Colvin is professor of fine art photography at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, at Dundee University.


Delving into Dundee’s archives

March 11 2017

Art and design lie at the heart of the creative industries in Dundee, industries which have often been inspired by the leisure pursuits and interests of Dundee’s population. These interconnections are clearly shown in the Archives of the University of Dundee; art and design is woven through many of the collections. This article features a few items which highlight the diversity of design related material held in the Archives. Dundee Art Society started out as the Graphic Arts Association in 1890, changing its name in 1904.  From the outset the group welcomed both professional and amateur artists as well as art patrons and lovers. As the Art College in Dundee grew, many of the staff joined the Society and used its platform to exhibit their art and network with other artists. The striking design for the cover of the centennial exhibition catalogue produced in 1990 echoes to the artistic trends of the early twentieth century. The longevity of the society reflects the continuing desire of artists within the community to join together, curate exhibitions and share their passion for art. Many of these artists had connections with the Dundee Institute of Art and Technology which was dissolved in 1975 to create Dundee College of Technology and Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art. The Art College remained independent until 1994 when it became a full part of the University of Dundee. All of these bodies are represented in the exhibition material, posters, photographs and student guides in the Archives.  Furthermore, alumnus of the College have contributed to our on-going Oral History Project. Former textile students, Pauline Hann and Sheila Mortlock, were interviewed to capture the personal stories of their time at the College, their career paths and interests. Hann and Mortlock were founding members of Embryo – Dundee Creative Embroiderers, formed in 1980, which developed from the frustration felt by numerous students at the lack of opportunities to exhibit contemporary embroidery within Scotland. The remit of the group was to promote the highest standards of workmanship, achieving this by restricting membership to graduates and undergraduates of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art. Embryo actively promoted their work through various exhibitions not only in Scotland but across the UK, eventually joining forces with two other textile groups to form Edge – Textile Artists Scotland. Edge is still going strong and attracting new members from a broader background albeit with a recognised education in textiles. The Archive’s Embryo collection includes exhibition publicity material, photographs and correspondence. Textile samples can be found in other collections, such as The Wilson Bros Ltd collection who were taken over by Pringle of Inverness. The pattern books of the woollen and cloth products they manufactured from 1927 to 1967 are fascinating. They show the changing trends in pattern and colour combinations and how design comes in and out of fashion over the decades. Other samples in the Archives show how design blended with the mass production of durable textiles as seen in the printed designs on linen which form part of the D. J. MacDonald collection. Using only two colours, the rising sun motif for the MacDonald company is bold and graphic whereas the design for Louise, seller of lingerie and hosiery has a more delicate touch with the female form and the name of the brand printed in signature style picked out in red. Jute and linen bags adorned with colourful printed designs are still popular today. Textile design in the city is thriving. Local fashion designer, Hayley Scanlan, studied textile design at DJCAD. Her oral history recording in the Archives tells of her desire to remain rooted in the city despite her burgeoning international career. Proud of her Dundonian heritage, Hayley’s designs are influenced by the changing city and she will soon open her first shop a stones throw from DJCAD where her talents were honed. Records held in the Archive are accessible to everyone. For further information about the Archives and its collections see www.dundee.ac.uk/archives   Sharon Kelly is assistant archivist at Dundee University's Archives Services 


Half of Turner Prize-winning artist’s new exhibition opens at DCA

March 4 2017

A new exhibition of work by Turner Prize-winning Mark Wallinger has opened simultaneously at Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) and The Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh. MARK WALLINGER MARK is split into two parts and will be shown in both venues until Sunday 4 June. It is the first exhibition in Scotland by the artist and features Wallinger’s most recent body of work: the id Paintings (2015-16). These are presented alongside a series of sculptures, films and wall-based works which further explore the themes of identity, reflection and perception addressed in his new work. In the Dundee half of the exhibition, 12 of Wallinger’s id Paintings surround a new work, Self (Symbol) (2017), a capitalized ‘I’ aggrandized as a three dimensional statue the height of the artist. The id Paintings have grown out of Wallinger’s extensive series of self-portraits, and they reference the artist’s own body. His height – and therefore his arm span – is the basis of the canvas size. They are exactly this measurement in width and double in height. Wallinger described the paintings as the basis of both the Dundee and Edinburgh exhibitions. "There are different works in the two spaces, but these are the starting point, or spine if you like," he said. "There is quite a lot of work around the idea of identity and my presence." Video pieces are also included in the DCA gallery, including Shadow Walker in which the artist filmed his shadow walking ahead of him. In MARK, a 2010 creation, Wallinger chalked the title all over the city of London within the parameters of single standard-sized brick. This deadpan tagging is rendered as a photographic slideshow, made up of 2,265 images. A mirrored TARDIS is also on display in the exhibition. Wallinger said the development of Dundee had been notable in the time since he first visited the city to prepare for the gallery. "I came up here about a year ago to look around and think about how this show might be hung. "There has been so much work, lots of work, on the V&A since then. It looks amazing already - I quite like it as it is." Beth Bate, director of DCA, said: "We’re delighted to be welcoming Mark Wallinger to our galleries and to be working alongside The Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh in this compelling exhibition of two parts. "Mark's first show in Scotland features his new body of work, the enigmatic id Paintings. "We can’t wait to welcome audiences to this exciting exhibition." MARK WALLINGER MARK is a collaboration between Serlachius Museums, The Fruitmarket Gallery, and the DCA.

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km

Collectors' Corner

Highly regarded painter offers a snapshot of the times

April 7 2018

THE LOWER ground-floor area of Perth Museum – my favourite place – is where the city’s permanent art collection finds a home. A handful of Old Masters grace the left-hand wall, including the magnificent maybe-Caravaggio Prometheus, while the free spirit right-hand surface is presently hung with oil paintings of Perth. One of them, Perth from Boatlands, takes its viewer across the Tay to the North Inch and the town beyond. It was painted by David Octavius Hill in 1826. Hill (1802-1870), a son of Perth, was a highly-regarded landscape painter before turning to the new medium of photography. Intrigued by Henry Fox Talbot’s experiments, Hill formed a brilliant partnership with the St Andrews engineer Robert Adamson between 1843 and 1847 to develop many aspects of photography. Today, Hill-Adamson photographs are considered among the most important and valuable in the world. Now to Dominic Winter’s auction of early photographs in London on March 9. ‘Portrait of David Octavius Hill’ was a very early photograph of the Perth Academy FP. Dated to around 1845 by the auction house, it was, I think, taken by Adamson two years earlier. Measuring 8in x 6in, it was mounted on pale grey paper with a pencilled title inscription. It was additionally identified ‘D. O. Hill, RSA’ to the lower-right corner of the mount. The image is well known and has appeared in important works on early photography, including Dr Sara Stevenson’s seminal David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson, (Edinburgh, 1981). It sold within estimate at £1600. Boatlands may have been painted before photography was around – but it captures like a snapshot Perth’s ‘Northern New Town’ of splendid Georgian terraces.  


New St Andrews Photography Festival will celebrate old and new

June 10 2016

While St Andrews is world-renowned as the home of golf, few know the role the town has played nationally and internationally in the introduction of photography. But BID St Andrews – the business improvement body created to support businesses in the town – is working with the University of St Andrews and local businesses to launch an annual photography festival in August which will celebrate the role and importance of St Andrews in the world of photography and engage with those who live, work in and visit the town. BID chairman Alistair Lang explained: “We are one of the most photographed and filmed towns in the world, yet few realise much of the technology we enjoy the benefits of today began with the work of a collection of photographic pioneers who lived and worked in the town in the 1800s.” Dr John Adamson is perhaps the most celebrated – a blue plaque adorns the wall of his former home in the town on South Street, now The Adamson Restaurant. However, many other names are to be celebrated for the role they played, including Sir Hugh Lyon Playfair, David Octavius Hill, Robert Adamson, Thomas Rodger and Sir David Brewster. The first six-week-long festival – from August 1 to September 11 - will see events and exhibitions focus on the earliest days of photography in St Andrews as well as Scottish documentary photography over the last 175 years and contemporary photography. Alistair added: “Today’s technology ensures we can all be photographers and we’re inviting everyone to be a part of this unique festival which we hope will become a regular fixture in the town’s calendar.” The festival will put some of the photographic highlights of the University of St Andrews Library Special Collections on show as well as creating a showcase for contemporary Scottish photographers. Up to 15 local businesses will be involved, including cafés and restaurants, hosting small-scale exhibitions. There will also be tours, seminars, workshops and talks including guest photographers as well as workshops to demonstrate a variety of photographic processes including calotype and collodion - two of the earliest and those used by the town’s renowned pioneers of the art. For details as they’re revealed, go to the Festival Facebook page at www.facebook.com/StAndPhotoFest/.


Dundee band’s cine film mystery solved following appeal in The Courier

May 24 2018

The mystery behind a cine film that is being used by a Dundee band to promote a track from their forthcoming new album has been solved thanks to a recent appeal for information in The Courier. Spare Snare re-edited the 8mm film featuring Dundee and the Tay Road Bridge in 1966, Craigtoun Park near St Andrews and Southend-on-Sea, to fit the melancholy track Grow from the new album Sounds which is due for release on Chute Records in July. Now a relative of one of the families featured in the footage has come forward with details after Spare Snare lead singer Jan Burnett sought The Courier’s help. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1q8NcO6qd_A Retired local government worker Linda Gellatly, 62, saw the recent article in The Courier and recognised two of those in the film as her late aunt Frances and uncle Doug – and then realised she was in the film herself. She said: “I only know the people having a party at the end of the film. I do not recognise anyone else. “The party is held in my aunt Betty and uncle Alex's house in Harestane Road Dundee. “I stayed next door with my mum and dad, Rita and Bob Brown and my gran Maggie Barnes stayed up the road. “Frances and Doug stayed around the corner in Newton Road. “The Barnes family were Maggie Barnes, her son Doug and daughters Betty and Rita. “My cousin Margaret (Frances and Doug's daughter) is also in the film. “My gran's cousin Willie McKenzie is also there. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZhUnBzTS_4 “I'm the youngest in the film. I think I may be around 10/11 so that film would be around 1965/66.” Spare Snare musician Adam Lockhart, who runs the Media Preservation Lab at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee explained that the films (super 8 and standard 8) were handed into the art college a number of years ago by persons unknown. They had been lying around in the photography department for a long time, until a student became interested in them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyZbb2r1ok4 The student came to him to ask if he could use the films for an art project, so Adam had them all digitally scanned. In the end the student didn’t use them so he decided to make the Spare Snare video with them. He added: “The reels were marked as being owned by a William (Willie) MacKenzie, who was a friend of Linda Gellatly’s family. He appears in the party scene at the end. “Linda said that he never married, so perhaps he didn’t have anyone to leave the films to, so when he died someone maybe handed the films into DJCAD?”


Cecil Beaton’s royal portraits will be city’s first V&A exhibition

June 9 2011

A unique collection of royal portraits will become Dundee's first V&A exhibition later this year. The McManus art gallery and museum is to be the first place in the UK to host the display of portraits of the Queen by Cecil Beaton to celebrate her diamond jubilee. The exhibition will run from September 30 to January 8 and is the first in a series of partnership projects between the McManus and the V&A as part of the run-up to construction and eventual opening of the V&A in Dundee. Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary for culture and external affairs, said, "Part of the £5 million of government funding that I announced in January included support for the pre-opening programme of exhibitions that will begin with this outstanding selection of Cecil Beaton's royal photography. "The V&A will be a stunning landmark building on Dundee's waterfront, and the funding is a reflection of the significance we attach to this project as a showcase for our creative industries and as a magnet for visitors, enhancing Scotland's reputation as a creative nation. "I am delighted the programme is starting with such an appealing free exhibition that provides just a foretaste of the unparalleled shows that Scotland will enjoy in future from the V&A." Dundee City Council leisure, arts and communities convener Bob Duncan said, "I am delighted that this exhibition is coming to Dundee. It will act as an additional attraction to the McManus, which is a hugely popular destination in the city. "People of Dundee and further afield are excited at the prospect of the V&A at Dundee, and this exhibition shows how the partnership is already delivering benefits." Lesley Knox, the chairwoman of Design Dundee, the company delivering the V&A at Dundee, said, "We are looking forward to an exciting and varied range of exhibitions from the V&A over the next four years as we work towards opening our new building." The images in the exhibition depict the Queen and royal family, contrasting highly staged state occasions with intimate family moments. It charts how the representation of the royals has changed and also examines Beaton's working methods, styles and approaches, revealing him as one of the 20th century's masters of photography. Beaton's royal portraits were among the most widely published photographs of the 20th century. The exhibition explores his long relationship with the Queen, who was a teenage princess when she first sat for him in 1942. Over the next three decades, he photographed her on many significant occasions, including her coronation day. The exhibition in Dundee will feature over 60 items, from wartime photographs of Princess Elizabeth with her family, to tender images of the Queen with her own young children and official portraits that convey the magnitude of her role as Britain's monarch. An expanded exhibition will be hosted at the V&A in London from February 8 to April 22 next year. The display will then visit Leeds City Museum, Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, and Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle.