100 Weeks of Scotland: Edinburgh Fringe

Edinburgh Fringe street performers. Pictures: Alan McCredie
Edinburgh Fringe street performers. Pictures: Alan McCredie
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Alan McCredie’s photography project documenting Scotland in the lead-up to next year’s independence vote continues, with the Edinburgh Fringe taking centre stage.

I love the Edinburgh Festival. I always have done and I always will. When I first came to Edinburgh after university I couldn’t believe just how vibrant the city became, and how it transformed itself effortlessly, for a month in August, into the worlds biggest arts festival. I was also very impressed at just how ridiculously late the pubs stayed open as well.

Bizarrely however if you don’t live or work in the centre of town it can also completely pass you by or if you do (and this is a common complaint) it can sometimes prove to be a bit ‘annoying’. There have been times when I have been rushing between jobs and my progress has been hampered by majestic herds of tourists sweeping across the plains of the old town. Surely though, a small price to pay for four weeks of delight?

Knowing how busy the Royal Mile can be with performers and desperate leafleteers I started photographing early. I soon found myself hopelessly adrift on a rising tide of white painted faces and multi-coloured Dr Marten boots. I was hoping to get a mix of the local and the exotic and as many candid shots as possible. Easier said than done though - if you point a camera at a performer, they perform.

I tried to avoid the more obvious images of clowns/snowmen/ghouls/mime-artists pulling funny faces and I was as ever intently serious about not photographing my least favourite thing - The Living Statue. I am sure much skill must be involved in these creations, but for me personally, my hell is a hell populated by them.

As always the Royal Mile during the Festival is hugely entertaining. Yet, as I trudged home through a wilderness of flyers gone to ground, I asked myself the same old question – just where do the street performers get changed? They appear magically in the city centre and then quietly (noisily) melt away into the closes and alleyways of old Edinburgh.

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