Aerial photograph showing a mosaic of refuse at a dump, curving round the bootiom of the frame is a road with a lorry on it.

Ten from box six

image above:Gunnie Moberg D135/6/258 titled ‘Military Dump, St Ola’ no date

That’s six boxes of Gunnie Moberg slides all scanned and digitally preserved for the future. Three thousand images so far. Each box holding 500 slides in archival sleeves. Through those 500 images you can be taken anywhere – far up, close up, meeting people, animals, birds, in Orkney, Faroe, Shetland.

Here are ten from box six from the free-ranging photographer Gunnie Moberg.

A moody dark sky gathers around the black sighouette of Hoy, in the distance the Old Man of Hoy sea stack sits out from the coastline. Above light breaks through the cloud and is caught by the sea.
image: Gunnie Moberg D135/6/54

Hoy solid against a changing sky, the Old Man in the distance. Gunnie made a lot of photographs of Hoy, the valley of Rackwick and the circle of artists who frequented it, the Dwarfie Stone and the shore line, its coastline from the sea and from the sky.

From the air looking down on a coastline of Hoy, lines intersect possibly paths, a circle, land jutting out in serrated chunks into the sea, white waves an outline between land and sea.
image:Gunnie Moberg D135/6/137

Back on mainland Orkney, in its capital Kirkwall, here is the Earl’s Palace.

A snow covered ground fills almost all the bottom half of the frame, black tree trunks  and the black legs of a walker and his dog break in to the whiteness. Behind the trees stands the Earls Palace, a roofless but proud ruin.
image:Gunnie Moberg D135/6/320

Now in Stromness at its South End, close to the home of writer George Mackay Brown, a yellow boat shed feels the force of a stormy sea. A story in a photograph, boats hauled up on wet flagstones under a sky full of weather.

Stromness on a wet day, waves the yellow boatshed of a tall house. Boats drawn up give some colour in the greyness.
image: Gunnie Moberg D135/6/364

Still in Stromness. Now a lavender sky holds a full moon above a pale blue shed. In the darkness, the faint shape of creels pile up. Gunnie tells us what she has photographed, she has written on the slide mount. It is a smoke house.

A full moon in a lavender sky above a light blue shed
image: Gunnie Moberg D135/6/295

Stone, its textures, colours, shapes, even character, is a subject that the artist returns to in her body of work. The book Stone, published in 1987 by Colin Hamilton and Kulgin Duval in an edition of 125 copies, is a beautifully crafted publication of Gunnie’s stone photography and George Mackay Brown’s stone poetry. You can spend time with this coveted book in The Orkney Room at Orkney Library & Archive.

A stone weeps drips from a crack.
image:Gunnie Moberg D135/6/219

Tattered transparent plastic makes a surprisingly beautiful nest for a broken egg. Gunnie’s image of these objects – beyond their use, finished with – gives them a quiet dignified beauty.

In this image tattered clear plastic lies curled on the ground, in its centre an egg shell.
image:Gunnie Moberg D135/7/242

A red brick window frames the feet of a woman, a flower in a terracotta pot stretches itself across the frame.
image:Gunnie Moberg D135/6/249

The composition of this photograph, the balance. The focus is with the orange flowers of the tenacious weed, stretchings itself, surviving, being startlingly pretty against the black, picking up on the tone of the red brick. But the real focus seems to be the woman who owns the disembodied bare feet. Did she also survive and thrive elegantly in unexpected ways?

But here in box six is surely one of Gunnie’s most beautiful images, one of the very few she hung in her own house. ‘Summer Cow’ or sometimes titled ‘Midnight Cow’, taken in Shetland. Her name Sigrid, she belonged to a West Mainland Shetland farming postman. She owns her own portrait.

In a misty field, the heat of the earth meeting the cool night air, stands a cow the last of the light giving her a glowing outline. Buttercups in the field and a tether on her.
image:Gunnie Moberg D135/6/423

What will box seven hold? Thank you to Gerry and to Keith who have both worked on box six.

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