Ron O’Donnell - Edinburgh: A Lost World

  • 01 December 2022 - 05 March 2023
  • Free entry. Donations welcome
  • City Art Centre

Take a step back in time to 1970’s and 80’s Edinburgh with the City Art Centre’s free winter exhibition.

Ron Odonnell Laundrette South Clerk Street 1978 The Artist(Image Credit: Ron O'Donnell)

Featuring vivid black & white and colour photographs of unseen and forgotten Edinburgh interiors, the City Art Centre launch a new exhibition showcasing the work of contemporary Scottish artist Ron O’Donnell.

Taken mainly during the 1970s and 1980s, O’Donnell captured a variety of interior images, many of which are no longer in existence. Prison cells, public toilets and laundrettes, as well as local shops such as greengrocers and fishmongers caught his attention.

An artist with had a curious and insatiable desire to document the city, he would cycle around Edinburgh with his camera capturing the city. Old fashioned, cluttered, and run-down interiors formed a large part of his images – and now, for the first time, around 40 photographs from O’Donnell’s impressive archive of these little-known or lost places are on display.

Ron Odonnell Robert Cresser Brush Shop Victoria Street 1978 The Artist(Image Credit: Ron O'Donnell)

Curator Maeve Toal said: “The artworks on display reveal the social changes that have taken place in Edinburgh, some illustrate how our behaviour as consumers has shifted dramatically over the years from local communities to global online markets. The exhibition highlights how many of these once busy and flourishing shops have now disappeared from the city’s landscape.”

Ron O’Donnell commented: “I started taking some of these photographs of interiors as a student. Shooting them, became a compulsion, a desire to record on film a vanishing city. In retrospect, I was privileged to have been allowed to document these places, given access to behind-the-scenes areas, through the generosity of the various owners. I hope that the images I have captured will become a fascinating document of this great city.”

Ron O’Donnell - Edinburgh: A Lost World runs from 19 November 2022 until 5 March 2023.  Admission is free, with donations welcome.

The exhibition is also accompanied by an exciting programme of in-person and digital events – see the City Art Centre website for details

Ron Odonnell Gramophone Emporium St Stephen Street 2010 The Artist(Image Credit: Ron O'Donnell)

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