Eye-catching, amazing, weird – these attributes spring to mind while viewing the larger-than-life photographs of the living creatures that emit light in nature. Squid that excretes luminescent clouds to distract predators, marine plankton that sparkle like a starry night, fluorescent jellyfish whose cells are used in advanced medical research, fireflies flashing to attract mates. These amazing images belonged to the outdoor Living Lights exhibition, part of Edinburgh International Science Festival.
Situated amidst a busy tourist route between the Royal Mile and Princes Street, the exhibition was popular both with local passers-by and tourists visiting the Scottish National Gallery.
I was trying to capture how the Living Lights functioned in the fabric of daily urban activities.
The photographs of bizarre bio-fluorescent organisms integrate visually with Edinburgh’s historical views and do not impede urban life that happens alongside the exhibits. A piper plays his pipe, foreign teenagers spontaneously trying to dance to his tune, girls flirt, tourists snap the photos…
My disappointment with the gloomy misty day in Edinburgh was curbed.
If you missed this exhibition outside the National Gallery don’t worry. It is still on until 31 October 2014 but at the Science Festival closed its location shifted to Our Dynamic Earth.
The theme of Living Lights is said to be remotely inspired (via its light component) by Bruce Munro’s large-scale Field of Light fibre-optic show in St Andrew Square, the spot where the International Science Festival exhibitions were held previously.
Munro’s mesmerising show is an immersive light installation featuring thousands of illuminated glass spheres on stems changing light at night. We only had a chance to see them in daylight, but a field of white globes ‘in bloom’ was impressive even then.