Capturing Aase’s work in new photograph exhibition in Fife

Work is fun ... Aase Goldsmith.
Work is fun ... Aase Goldsmith.

Her fascination with Nordic myths and legends began as a young girl when Aase Goldsmith’s Norwegian aunt made her a book illustrating a children’s poem about trolls.

Her father also used to read her folklore stories and tales which remained with her throughout her life.

Aases photos of children in Glenrothes town centre. Copyright - Aase Goldsmith.

Aases photos of children in Glenrothes town centre. Copyright - Aase Goldsmith.

Now her photographs on the subject are being shared as part of a new retrospective exhibition, being showcased at Rothes Halls in Glenrothes until mid-May.

Aase was a well-known Scottish photographer who died, aged 73 in October 2015. But her husband Peter is ensuring that her legacy lives on.

He explained the exhibition, Never Go Forwards Without First Looking Back, is in three parts – the main section is in the Fife Space Gallery and consists of a selection of Aase’s various projects over the last 40 years including some of her digital work.

The second part, in the Foto Space Gallery – Wild Woods and Old Wives Tales – is a complete series which has only previously been shown in the Czech Republic. It includes work done with double exposures on a Holga ‘toy’ camera.

One of the photos Aase took in Glenrothes town centre. Copyright: Aase Goldsmith

One of the photos Aase took in Glenrothes town centre. Copyright: Aase Goldsmith

The third part is her documentary work in the downstairs foyer.

It starts with some photographs of Glenrothes in the 1970s from her days in Glenrothes Camera Club.

It also features examples from a photographic series she carried out for Perth Museums about life in Scone village.

Peter, Aase’s husband, said: “Shortly after Aase’s death I approached Gillian Parsons (programming officer, Museums, Archives and Galleries at ON with Fife Cultural Trust) about the possibility of showing Aase’s last main exhibition Wild Woods and Old Wives Tales.

“Gillian replied by offering the whole of the Rothes Halls Galleries for a retrospective display.

“The main exhibition in the Fife Space area is selections from her work States of Mind, Tribal Memory and The Hell and Purgatory of Giving up Smoking.”

States of Mind features close range pictures of mainly rocks, ice and water.

Peter said: “If you allow your imagination to run riot, these pictures take on anthropomorphic shapes and start to suggest stories in your mind.”

Tribal Memory is a journey into the origins of folktales and the images suggest the stories. The titles are from Norse myths.

And the Hell and Purgatory was taken while Aase battled to stop smoking.

Peter said: “She meant for these pictures to bring home to those who blithely tell smokers to just kick the habit how hard it is and that those who don’t manage are somehow morally deficient.

“The two exhibitions States of Mind and Tribal Memory are about how folk tales came about.

“And the final exhibition Wild Woods and Old Wives Tales is the story of the journey going into the dark wood. The main gallery exhibition is a series of extracts showing how her ideas developed.”

Peter said the pictures from her days in Glenrothes Camera Club were all of people, mainly children.

“They were taken as part of a camera club project on life and living in the new town,” he said. “Most members wanted to take buildings and landscapes so Aase volunteered to do the town centre.

“The exhibition, held in the YMCA, was featured in the Amateur Photographer magazine and that’s what started her off as a documentary photographer.”

The project for Life in Scone village came about in 1985 when Aase and Peter moved to Perth. She was given a grant to start as a professional photographer and a commission from Perth Museum to expand her project to cover the village, its people, shops and industries.

The work is now with Perth Museum and Art Gallery and exhibition prints with Scone Heritage Group.

Peter added: “I think Aase would be proud and gratified to receive this recognition.

“Her documentary work is an invaluable resource for future historians and the fact her work has been exhibited so widely suggests its value.”

The exhibition will run at the Halls until May 19. The photographs will then transfer to Lochgelly Centre from June 5 to August 4.

About the photographer ...

Aase Goldsmith was born in Denmark and had a lifelong passion for photography from her childhood on a farm. She became fluent in four languages and after marrying Peter she moved to Australia in the early 1970s. She returned to Glenrothes in 1972, becoming involved with the camera club and more involved in documentary photography. Moving to Perth in 1985 she did a documentary on the village of New Scone. Aase and her husband Peter moved back to Fife in 1996.

Her work has been exhibited in places as diverse as Texas and the Czech Republic. Aase’s photographs have also featured in collections in Scotland and overseas.