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Aberdeen Harbour is known as ‘Scotland’s North Sea Gateway’. It has 39 shipping connections and cargo arrives each day from countries far and wide including Canada, Mexico, Senegal and the Falkland Islands. 

 

On Miller Street, buoyancy aids, mottled with oil or kelp, are used for positioning offshore equipment and create peculiar sculptural shapes of anchors, sinkers and chainstoppers silhouetted against the sinking sun. They are stored with decommissioned parts and equipment which are often recycled. 

 

Formerly known as a red-light district, Miller Street is now empty at night. The quiet streets are vacant aside from passing taxis and the shadows of industrial buildings which line the routes towards the docks. 

 

Leviathan vessels creep across the skyline day and night, some 500 feet in length. Passenger and freight ferries, cargo, tankers, yachts and cruises arrive into the city’s heart where over 100,000 crew use the docks each year. 

 

 

This is the main connection to Orkney and the Shetland Isles, where sheep, salmon and people are transported to and from the dock. And the final resting place for oil industry detritus, where skeletal frames of once submerged metal and plastic are given a new life onshore.

 

This project was a collaboration with writer Adelle Stripe who explored the city with me and created the stories and histories that sit alongside the thirteen main images from the exhibition. Secret Cities Aberdeen was part of the SPECTRA Festival of Light 2017 in Aberdeen and commissioned by Curated Place. 

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