Abandoned Edinburgh

Last year I posted about a project I started called Abandoned Televisions where I was capturing the televisions that had been dumped around Edinburgh (a bizarrely large amount). That project is still going strong, has become a collaboration, and has a new home so I thought I'd give you a little update.

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Fellow film photographer, Simon Kidd and I both love capturing the abandoned items in Edinburgh. So much so, we started talking about combining our efforts into one project and giving it a dedicated home on the internet. Whereas I have focused largely the televisions, Simon captured a broader field of abandoned items so we came up with Abandoned Edinburgh.

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As a result of this, you will no longer find me on Instagram as I don't like duplication across the internet and that was my main focus on there. During the time we moved this project Instagram also changed their terms of service and - although I don't think my Instagram shots are worth selling - it just didn't seem right so I closed it. The new website has a Twitter feed which you can find here - @abandonedin - and new posts are tweeted there daily. We have our own accounts on there too which you can follow - @sibokku and @iainkendall - if that is something you enjoy.

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The televisions remain a large focus for me in this new project - a project within a project - so you'll see lots more in the future. Simon has some great shots of the random things he sees in Edinburgh too and it always raises a smile when I check in. I hope you can join us.

A Machine called B.E.R.N.I.E.

I took this photograph last year whilst walking through a residential area of Edinburgh. I had actually spotted it the night before and snapped a shot on my iPhone as it was incredibly bizarre to see a bingo machine dumped on top of a waste bin. It got me thinking about who had it in their house and what events had taken place to for them to suddenly throw it out. The next day, praying it was still there, I returned with my Pentax SP500 to take a better picture.

Fast forward to earlier this year and I receive a message from Adam McCrory on Flickr, "my dad used to make these". I immediately went back to him to find out more.


Charles McCrory started as a TV engineer back in the seventies and made a device called a Stage Safety Unit after a friend of his was electrocuted on stage. From there he ventured into raffle machines called Spinners and then finally into bingo machines and creating the BERNIE (Bingo Electronic Random Number Indicator Equipment). It was very successful but unfortunately the recession of the eighties worked against Charles and he eventually stopped production around 1984 and closed his business. He was the millionaire that should have been.

"What I love about your photo is it captures one of his greatest achievements (creating the BERNIE) and the subtle irony that it's ended up in the bin - it sums up his life in a strange sort of way"

I was touched that Adam shared the story with me - it turned a random object that I thought was "kind of cool" into something that mattered. After I first saw this bingo machine, I started to take more photographs of the random things I pass everyday, but hearing the background of it makes me look at them differently and consider the history of what I'm taking pictures of. It is proof that no picture is pointless as it will always mean something to someone.

Sadly Charles died on the 17th February 2011 and when looking at the iPhone photograph that I took the night before I noticed that it was dated the 16th February 2011. The next day, when Charles died, was when I returned to take the photograph above.