Exhibition explores abandoned crofts on Outer Hebrides

A NEW photographic exhibition offers a unique insight into a number of abandoned crofts on the Outer Hebrides.

'Green Room', by John Maher, shows an abandoned croft on North Uist

The images, which go on display from today at The Lighthouse in Glasgow, reveal homes on the islands of Harris and Uist that have been left to rot after their occupants died or moved on.

Many of the remote buildings are said to remain in family ownership, with surviving relatives reluctant to sell them on.

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The stark pictures were taken by John Maher, a professional musician who spent four years on the islands documenting the crofts.

'Blue Door' by John Maher

His work was first displayed in 2014. It has now returned to Scotland as part of the Nobody’s Home exhibition, which runs until August 31 at the city centre gallery.

Maher said: “Taking this exhibition to Glasgow is the realisation of a long held ambition.

“What started out as a personal project - documenting abandoned croft houses in the Outer Hebrides – has had an unexpected side effect. As a result of displaying my photographs, there’s now a real possibility of seeing at least one of the properties becoming a family home once again.

“Putting on this exhibition in collaboration with the team at Architecture and Design Scotland means Nobody’s Home is about more than pictures on a gallery wall. It shows that looking through a lens to the past, can help shape things in the future.”

'Blue Door' by John Maher

Maher, who was a member of the seminal Manchester pop-punk band Buzzcocks, moved to the Hebridies in 2009 and now works as a professional photographer among other interests.

He drummed on many of the group’s classic hits, such as Ever Fallen In Love, and has rejoined the band intermitendly for reunion shows.

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Photo exhibition to chart abandoned Harris houses

Maher initially photographed in the dead of night, under the light of a full moon, and many of his night photographs involve lighting the interiors of old buildings, vehicles and boats scattered around the Hebridean landscape.

In several instances he would return during daylight hours to shoot the interiors of abandoned croft houses he’d visited the night before.

As a result of seeing John’s images of abandoned croft houses, the Western Isles’ housing body, Tighean Innse Gall, in conjunction with the Carnegie Trust, have set in motion a plan to renovate some of the derelict properties.