25 years of oil in Shetland Black Gold Tide is an important, moving and insightful photographic journey into the relationship between the Shetland Islands and oil.
It captures how things were before the coming of the hydrocarbon riches, what happened, and how things changed. And it does so largely through the faces of those who lived and still live on the "Old Rock".
If pictures tell the real story, a subtle light is shed on events by detailed, emotional, sometimes very funny verbatim interviews with boatmen and teachers, oil executives and labourers, barmen and fish processors, waitresses and painters. Ordinary people with extraordinary tales to tell. The pictures come from the archives and a special summer assignment in 2003 by acclaimed photographer Tom Kidd.
The interviews were carried out by BBC broadcaster and well-known writer Tom Morton. JOURNEYS INTO SHETLAND'S OIL ERA... THE STORY OF BLACK GOLD TIDE. The first North Sea oil flowed into Shetland a quarter of a century ago, and for the inhabitants of this remote island community, nothing would ever be the same.
Among the thousands of men and women who followed the oil to the islands was a young photographer called Tom Kidd.
Kidd went on to a distinguished career in photography, with many award-winning assignments for national and international publications.
He has exhibited widely and has photographs in the collection of the Scottish Arts Council and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
A long-standing interest in flying led him to his current involvement in piloting helicopters. In the summer of 2003, journalist, author and broadcaster Tom Morton, a longstanding admirer of Kidd's work, suggested they collaborate on a book which would revisit the beginnings of oil in Shetland, marking 25 years since the first "oil ashore".
Morton, who lives in Shetland and first visited in 1978, was keen to see Kidd's long-lost Shetland photographs republished, along with others representing key moments in the islands's relationship with oil, and a series of new pictures bringing the story right up to date.
Kidd's archive turned out to include many forgotten photographs, some of which are now being seen publicly for the first time.
Morton carried out a series of interviews with men and women who had experienced the oil boom and all that has happened since, and Kidd shot portraits of them.
Morton's interviews were broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland in late 2003 under the title Welcome to Hornswoggle County. Black Gold Tide brings those interviews together with Kidd's haunting photographs, both new and old, in a stunning meditation on what oil means, and has meant for the Shetland community.
It is an important work of social history, an act of homage to the individuals who helped bring oil to Shetland, and yet preserved a way of life still unique in Europe.