Hello and welcome to my Sunday Recommendation. Thanks for joining me. Every week I read great wildlife and nature books, stumble upon engrossing websites and hear wonderful new music. This is my chance to bring you carefully curated recommendations of all the best I’ve experienced – every Sunday. If it’s folk, or independent, or about wildlife, nature or Orkney, I may love it, and so may you.
I Burn But I Am Not Consumed by Alicia Bruce
This week I’ve been enjoying an extraordinary art photography book, documenting a fascinating project. Alicia Bruce is an award-winning working-class photographer, community collaborator, educator, and activist based in Scotland. Her photography is a mixture of documentary and staged images recalling important works of art.
I Burn But I Am Not Consumed is the result of sixteen years documenting the effect upon the small community of Menie in Scotland of Donald Trump’s brutal destruction of the area to form a golfing resort. The book is beautifully bound in linen with an image on the cover in a perfectly-embossed space.
The most remarkable thing about this book is not the incredibly compelling story of over a decade of struggle against Donald Trump, the local press, and self-serving politicians, all willing to sacrifice the lifestyle and livelihoods of the local people. It’s not the clever photography, with its references to Scottish and other art historical paintings, several of which I saw recently in Aberdeen Art Gallery, which give it the indelible feel of an historic document of an important time, steeped in the history of the place. It’s not the personal commentary from interviews and statements from the local people who were harassed, bullied, inconvenienced and almost held hostage by Trump’s developers. It’s not the breathtaking timeline, with replica letters, press cuttings and clever page designs.
What’s most remarkable about this book is that all of this is collected together into one beautiful volume, which flows as naturally as the dynamic dunes of Menie.
The over-riding impression I have from the book is of Alicia’s love of people, her interest in their passions, and her determination to allow them to tell their story while interpreting it visually for everyone to see. It’s a modern tale of greed, narcissism, sadistic lack of care and the strength of community in refusing to be cowed in the face of overwhelming money and power.
I hope that you’ll get a copy and enjoy it as much as I have. See more here.
That’s it for this week. I’ll be back with more recommendations of things you might adore next Sunday. In the meantime, I wish you a great week. Keep safe, everyone.