How Scots helped to shape the world of photography
One hundred and forty five years ago this Sunday, 17 May, an artist and photographer called David Octavius Hill passed away.
His name may not be a household one to most Scots, but his influence in the world of photography is worthy of remembrance.
Octavius Hill's life, and that of his creative partner Robert Adamson, is defined by a four-year period where the pair took thousands of pictures of key figures, working people and landmarks in 1840s Edinburgh.
Their resulting body of work, which according to the National Portrait Gallery contains the first ever photographic documentation of the working classes in the world, continues to influence portrait photography today.
Octavius Hill was born in Perth in 1802.
He later moved to Edinburgh to study at the School of Design, and found success after the Institution for the Promotion of the Fine Arts in Scotland exhibited his landscape paintings.
He went on to produce illustrations for books, with works by Sir Walter Scott and Robert Burns in his portfolio.
Then, in 1843, Octavius Hill was present at the 'Disruption' Church of Scotland Assembly, where 450 ministers - upset over the issue of the church's relationship with the state - left to form the Free Church of Scotland.
Octavius Hill decided he would record the event with a painting. David Brewster, of St Andrews University, suggested the artist contact Adamson, who could take pictures of the clergymen.
This, the men believed, would help Octavius Hill achieve a likeness to those who were at the meeting.
Together, over the next four years, they took about 3,000 pictures including images of the clergymen.
Sadly, their partnership came to an early end when Adamson died in 1848 after suffering ill health. He was 26.
In their short but influential partnership, Octavius Hill and Adamson created a body of work which is still renowned in artistic circles today.
Anne Lyden is the International Photography Curator at the National Galleries of Scotland.
For her, the partnership of Octavius Hill and Adamson was "pioneering".
"Photography was only announced in 1839, and by 1843 Hill and Adamson had set up their studio in Edinburgh," said the academic.
"Many people had not even seen a photograph. For them to strike out, and to be so good at it, was quite remarkable."
Ms Lyden believes the depictions of working people, especially their social documentary of fishermen and fish wives in 1840s Edinburgh and St Andrews, was compelling.
"In the short time they worked together, they produced a phenomenal amount of work when you put it into context of how they were made - mixing all the chemistry together, all had to be done outside," she added. "It shows the tenacity they had, and they elevated the medium.
"The work in Newhaven was the first of its kind, looking at the working class community and celebrating that hard-working ethos."
As well as portraits of the Scottish clergymen, the men took portrait pictures of artists, writers, philanthropists, teachers, and visitors to Edinburgh.
They also took some of the earliest known pictures of landmarks in the city.
With the help of his pictures with Adamson, Octavius Hill finally completed his painting of the Disruption in 1866, 23 years after the event.
According to the University of Glasgow, it was the first painting in the world where the artist was assisted by photographs of the subjects.
"I think Octavius Hill and Adamson are very relevant to photography today," added Ms Lyden.
"A lot of the techniques they used in the 1840s - such as lighting and props to allude to the sitter's personality and intellect - are still being used today.
"Their photographs possess a naturalism and spontaneity that is beguiling to us as a contemporary viewer."
- You can find more pictures and information on David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson on the website of the National Portrait Gallery in London.