Speaker Peter Adamson Wed 16th Oct – Old St Andrews, Past and Present


Peter Adamson is a very well-respected photographer. One might say is Mr Photo in St Andrews. He has covered a wealth of events and occasions in St Andrews over many years. Peter told the members he would be splitting his talk into three sections. History of photography, specifically in relationship to St Andrews. The now and then of St Andrews and books he as created over the years which reflect on the changing nature of towns and communities in the local area.
In starting he explained how photography developed and the nature of physics with the use of crystals to create the earliest images. One by well-known St Andrews pioneer, John Adamson, of the castle in the town, clearly demonstrates the nature of photography in the 1840s and how the castle appeared at that time. Peter went on to give further background covering the work of Joseph Niepce, Louis Daguerre, Sir David Baxter, Fox Talbot and Robert Adamson, brother of John. He commented on the precarious nature of photography. Producing images on copper plates, with no ability to create a duplicate.
Peter told his audience in preparation for his second act he had spent a few days researching old photos of St Andrews with the assistance of the town’s Preservation Society. It proved to be a highly informative and interesting perspective of the changing face of St Andrews. The images he displayed ranged across the whole of the town. Janetta’s ice cream parlour, then East End Refreshments. A Church in Bell St, now a Charity shop. The garage at the West Port, now flats. The town hall in Market Street. The change in the structure of Holy Trinity Church. These and many other startling images were viewed in awe at the passing of a different age. Other photos showed what times were like. The Lamass Market, the mode of transport, the gathering of townsfolk. While there were recognisable structures it was if this was a different world. Yet not so long ago.
To conclude his talk, Peter went over the many books he has put together over the years and some of his more up to date shots which are included in his calendar for 2220. Peter was very self- deprecating about his work. But this is a man with a skill for the moment, an eye on the past and a recorder of the present. A fascinating evening. Enjoyed by all.