I was in Dundee for a couple of nights last week, thanks to work. As I’ve blogged before, I go there for work quite a bit, increasingly so these days, it seems.
It’s a place that is – to put it euphemistically – undergoing a major regeneration, with work being done to tidy it up, knock stuff down, build other stuff, and preserve yet more stuff.
The city suffers from a major disconnection between its city centre and potentially immensely attractive waterfront, and the area around the quayside is an important key (excuse the pun) to rebuilding this link and improving the city’s reputation. With both the past (two rare and famous boats) and the future (the forthcoming V&A) playing their part, Dundee seems to be slowly getting its act together. Though until it fully does, it lies in a curious limbo – or at least the quayside does, as if the forces driving the regeneration have pressed pause just to see what would happen if time and motion stood still.
I spent a free evening wandering around the quayside with my camera, a part of the city I’d not explored previously and which was, I have to say, quite a revelation. The area has a mix of old buildings, presumably linked to the shipping or fishing industries, mid-twentieth century monstrosities crying to be demolished, and smart modern structures that are still soulless and not yet fully occupied.
It made for an odd but hugely compelling fusion, with the decay of the old and the freshness of the new contrasting with each other yet at the same time sharing a sense of lifelessness. My walk led me to encounter very few other people, few signs of life at all in fact other than seagulls shrieking and swooping as if masters of this abanonded terrain. The area had a surreal, almost desperate sense of abandonment, as if the regeneration had been a bad mistake and the area depopulated hurriedly.
It was, naturally, crying out for the black and white treatment, and I hope my photos capture a little of the peculiar and creepy atmosphere. I wasn’t entirely happy with some of what I’ve uploaded – one or two are a little overexposed – but thoroughly enjoyed discovering this strange frozen-in-time decay.
I almost hope they don’t continue with the regeneration: it’s hauntingly engrossing just as it is.