My personal blog as a 'grown-up' Goth and Romantic living in the Highlands of Scotland. I write about the places I go, the things I see and my thoughts on life as a Goth and the subculture, and things in the broader realm of the Gothic and darkly Romantic. Sometimes I write about music I like and sometimes I review things. This blog often includes architectural photography, graveyards and other images from the darker side of life.

Goth is not just about imitating each other, it is a creative movement and subculture that grew out of post-punk and is based on seeing beauty in the dark places of the world, the expression of that in Goth rock. It looks back to the various ways throughout history in which people have confronted and explored the macabre, the dark and the taboo, and as such I'm going to post about more than the just the standards of the subculture (Siouxsie, Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus, et al) and look at things by people who might not consider themselves anything to do with the subculture, but have eyes for the dark places. The Gothic should not be limited by what is already within it; inspiration comes from all places, the key is to look with open eyes, listen carefully and think with an open mind..

Friday, 29 March 2013

Inverness Castle

Another architectural instalment for Photographic Friday!

Inverness Castle from across the river.
As far as castles go, Inverness Castle building is quite young. It's 19thC, built just before Queen Victoria ascended to the throne. There has been a castle on that site for centuries, though. The current castle was built as a police-station, prison and court, and to this day it is the Sherif's Court. I actually got summoned for jury duty to the Castle, and while it has been decorated with the plainness of most municipal buildings for the most part, the courtrooms themselves do have a level of Gothic grandeur. The castle is built in the Scottish Baronial style, and has quite a few pointless turrets, towers and suchlike. It was never built defensively, as the false arrow-slits and large windows attest. It's weird to think of a castle as a functional building rather than as a relic from a former age or a ruin, because virtually every castle I have visited has been either used as a museum or been ruined. 

Another of the photographs from across the River Ness
I have tried photographing the Castle on numerous occasions since I moved to Scotland, but Inverness Castle is strangely resistant to photography. Part of it is because it is only really visible in full from the opposite bank of the river, and many photographs of the castle end up being taken from the same few vantage points on that bank, and thus seem practically identical except for the weather conditions, lighting and cropping. I have, actually, taken two full views of the castle from the North bank of the Ness, but I have also tried to photograph the castle from a wider variety of angles. 

From the car-park up the brae.
For the photograph above I walked up above the castle, higher up the hill, and took a photograph of the most prominent towers against the hills behind. The light was perfect to separate it from the surrounding landscape, and I think this is one of the best photographs of the Castle that I have taken so far. The last thing I want is to be derivative, but there are a finite number of good vantage points from which to photograph the castle. This picture appears to be from a new one, because so far I have not seen one quite like it. Perhaps some people think that the ducts and pipes on the roof ruin it somewhat, but to me, at least, seeing how things work is interesting. My only wish is that there had been a few more clouds in the sky that day, rather than just the hazy gradient that is almost invisible once the image was turned from colour to shades of grey.

A sense of verticality. 
This photograph was taken from Castle Wynd, up behind Inverness Museum, on the steps that head down to the riverside behind the shops and offices. The composition is a bit unorthodox, and it was an attempt to emphasise the sense of height and massiveness in a building that is spread over quite a horizontal space and can therefore seem smaller in height than it actually is. I also wanted to focus on the unusual and irregular roofline. I debated having all the 'vertical' lines converge centrally, but then went for everything being at a slant - this may not have been as good a compositional idea as I thought it was.

Finally, the standard touristic image of the castle, in full colour. I figured that with the black and white images it seems that the castle is grey, but in fact it is a sandy reddish-brown colour. Also, I wanted to prove that Inverness does indeed get blue skies once in a while! This late afternoon image may seem warm, but it was actually one of those cold but clear Scottish days that is deceptively bright, and actually quite chilly. 

I hope you enjoyed this blog instalment. I am quite the fan of castles in various styles of architecture (although I prefer the older ones actually built as fortifications) and so trying to take good photographs of the castle in Inverness is an enjoyable ongoing challenge for me. At some point in the future I will probably post about the castle again, hopefully with better photographs as I learn to improve my architectural photography skills. 


  1. The castle is very impressive. I could definitely live there! I love the picture taken looking up at it! It really makes you feel small, it is is looming over you.

    What a place to do jury duty! It would seem almost fun!

    1. Jury duty was not fun. I am willing and proud to do my civic duty, but it is terribly serious and I didn't enjoy it. At least I won't have to do it again for a while.

  2. I love that first B&W shot with the clouds!

  3. You don't have much improving to do on the architectural front I definitely couldn't do half as well.

    1. Your speciality is photographing insects, mine is photographing buildings. I still can't photograph buildings half as well as you photograph insects.


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