‘Unsullied And Untarnished’ – A photographic portrait of the people of the towns of the Scottish Borders who each year undertake the maintaining of tradition, commemorating their local history and strengthening the bonds of their communities, during the annual Common Riding festivals of the summer months.
Braw Lassies and Honest Lads, Left Hand Lassies and Right Hand Men, Cornets, Hunters and Coldstreamers – all titles given to the upstanding youths who lead the festivities, and whose duty it is to carry the burgh or town standard around the common lands, to “bring it back unsullied and untarnished”.
96-pages, hardback, embossed cover.
Foreword by photojournalist Harry Benson CBE
Essay by Alex Massie (Scotland editor of The Spectator)
“Jeremy’s interest lies in photographing people both in their own environment and in the more tightly drawn framework of individual portraiture. In his new book Jeremy turns his camera on the Common Riding festivals of the Scottish Borders and goes in-depth to reveal the myriad of people who are a part of this historical tradition. It is with this book that Jeremy continues the steadfast tradition of Document Scotland.” – Excerpt from Unsullied And Untarnished foreword by photojournalist Harry Benson CBE.
Three excerpts from essay, Unsullied And Untarnished, by Alex Massie:
“Some of these ridings and festivals are ancient, stretching back five centuries and more. Others are more modern but, whatever their roots and antiquity, they have something in common. They are annual gatherings of remembrance and celebration; affirmations that though these may be small places there is nothing small about coming from Kelso or Galashiels, Lauder or Langholm.”
“These festivals are not flashy, for the Border towns are not flashy places….They are an argument for the small places – none of the Border towns, not even Galashiels and Hawick can count as metropolises – and the importance and permanence of place. They maintain the golden threads that stretch back through the ages to a time when the world was a younger place. These festivals are the guardians and custodians of memory and without memory, what does identity matter?”
“Every Common Riding is unique yet, in this important respect, each is just the same as last year’s festivities. These are the permanent things; the ties that bind a people together, that insist upon the specialness of a particular small patch of Scotland. They are the things that make a difference, the things that matter most.
And if you listen carefully you will still hear the hoofbeats of history commanding us to remember and celebrate who we are and whence we have come.”
‘Unsullied And Untarnished’ formed Jeremy’s contribution to Document Scotland’s ‘The Ties That Bind’ photography exhibition at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, 2015-2016.