Gösta Sandberg Collection

A small selection from this wide-ranging photograph collection

Gösta Sandberg is a retired museum photographer and curator who worked for many years in his local museum in Alingsäs, Sweden. In July 1977 he spent a few weeks touring the Outer Hebrides. His photographs are artistic as well as documentary in style and provide an excellent record of the islands that summer.  

As a boy growing up in Sweden, Sandberg had been fascinated by the islands, often hearing references to ‘rain coming from the Hebrides’ in local weather reports. As well as having an academic interest, he was also very interested in meeting and talking to people during his visit. He went out daily with his camera talking to, and photographing, those he met and the scenes encountered during his trip.

Duncan ‘Duch’ MacDonald, Scalpay July 1977 (GD034/2/42)

He gifted the collection of photographs to Tasglann nan Eilean in 2017, 40 years after his visit.

As well as the photos taken in July 1977 in Lewis, Harris, North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist and at the Harris Tweed Mill at Shawbost, he had also made audio recordings, and digital copies of these were also deposited. In October 2022 Gösta Sandberg gifted an additional forty photographic colour slides which are in the process of being digitised.

House at Clachan, North Uist (GD034/1/4)

In August 2017 a TV documentary ‘Tiodhlac Ghösta’ (‘Gösta’s Gift’) was made, which was broadcast on BBC Alba as part of the ‘Trusadh’ series. This saw the photographer paying a return visit to the islands to try and retrace some of the people and places from the original photos 40 years on. A programme clip is available here.

This page shows just a small selection of the photos from the collection. Please contact us if you would like more information or to view the collection. Please see this page for an overview of all the archive collections.

Donald Walker (Domhnall Phadraig – right) with sisters Kirsteen and Anne Marie and their father Padraig, from Howmore, South Uist, taking a break from shearing; July 1977 (GD034/2/1)
Boy carrying wool, South Uist
Boy carrying wool during sheep shearing, South Uist, July 1977 (GD034/2/15)
Group having a rest during a day spent at the sheep shearing, South Uist (GD034/2/11)
Peggy Macphail, Arnol in front of her dresser and stove, July 1977 (GD034/3/20)
Boat- the 'Golden Sheaf' (SY229) in Stornoway Harbour, July 1977 (GD034/3/16)
Group at the peat cutting, west side, Lewis, July 1977 (GD034/3/26)
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