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  • Writer's picturej_a_laing

low-sodium, outposts at the scottish landscape awards


This lightbox triptych can be seen at The Scottish Landscape Awards until March.



Since 2015 I've been documenting low pressure sodium streetlights and their impact on our nightscapes. Their distinctive yellow-orange glow, which produces a monochrome effect, often goes unnoticed, but has been described by some as depressing, even nauseating. 'low-sodium, outposts' offers an alternative response that focuses on the surprising beauty of this form of illumination. I use LPS light to connect three very different Scottish locations: one rural (Cros on the island of Lewis; one suburban (Stepps on the outskirts of Glasgow); and one urban (a street in Glasgow). Despite the differing lifestyles they represent, they have commonalities. Each shows one or more homes, windows, and a lamppost holding aloft a low pressure sodium streetlamp. But the element that most strongly links the lives lived in these streets is light - sometimes intense yellow, sometimes soft orange, depending on other natural and built environment variables. As the lamps are gradually replaced by more sustainable white-blue alternatives, these images of a once commonplace phenomenon trigger an embodied memory, and remind us how fragile, intense and ephemeral our shared connections to time and place are.


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