Shetland Museum unveils new photographic exhibition capturing 1970s social history

A new photographic exhibition opens today at Shetland Museum and Archives which provides a glimpse into an aspect of Shetland’s social history during the 1970s.

The series of black and white documentary-style photographs were taken by Lynne McPeake who visited Shetland in 1971 when she was a graphic design student. The images show the Steamers Pier in Lerwick and give an insight into the social interactions of the era while also reflecting the strong work ethic prevalent in the community as dockers and fishermen engaged in the daily routines of working with livestock and fish. Crowds would often gather here too to watch the daily goings on, waving off family and friends as they journeyed south on the steamer, the St Clair.

Lynne McPeake’s journey to Shetland began in August 1971, when she travelled from Manchester to Lerwick for a diving trip with two friends. What ensued was a memorable walking and camping holiday, during which Lynne, equipped with her Pentax Spotmatic camera and Kodak Tri-X black and white film, documented the dynamic scenes at Lerwick Harbour. Her keen eye for detail and composition is evident in the resulting photographs, which she developed by hand.

Lynne McPeake said: “I am delighted that the Shetland Amenity Trust are exhibiting these photographs. The negatives had been residing in a cupboard for many years and with the extra time that the pandemic gave us, I decided to scan them and make some prints. A friend suggested that I send them to the Amenity Trust to see if there was any interest in them. The result from our discussions is here. I am so pleased that these pictures are now 'coming home' and will be seen and enjoyed by visitors to the museum, but particularly by family and friends of some of the people in the photographs.”

Karen Clubb, exhibitions officer at Shetland Museum said: "We are delighted to present this unique exhibition that not only captures a moment in time but also celebrates the rich social fabric of Shetland in the 1970s. Lynne McPeake's beautiful photographs offer a poignant look at our community's past, and we are proud to share them with the public.”

The exhibition will be on display until 6 October.

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