A photographer has launched a crowdfunding campaign for a new book capturing the impact of former US president Donald Trump’s Aberdeenshire golf resort on a small coastal community.
Menie: TRUMPED, created by Aberdeen photographer Alicia Bruce, documents the resistance stories of local residents of Menie in Aberdeenshire as Trump tried to buy their land.
Local homes became under threat of Compulsory Purchase Order in 2006, as Trump announced plans to build ‘the greatest golf course in the world’ in the area.
At the time, the project was championed by local business leaders and the Scottish Government approved one of two courses in 2008 after councillors had earlier rejected the development.
A second course was backed by councillors in 2020.
While capturing the stories, Bruce said she was threatened by Trump’s security, but the photographer also gained national and international exposure as her portraits of local residents Mike, Sheila and Molly Forbes entered the National Galleries of Scotland.
The book also contains photographs depicting the environmental damage the golf course created including an image of the damaged fourth tee and five metres of the course which had fallen into the sea in the first winter of the new development.
The site has since lost its accreditation as an SSSI (Site of Specific Scientific Interest).
Working with an American publisher, Bruce hopes to bring the fight to a global audience and also honour several residents who have passed away whose final years she says were tainted with “the stress of living with the Trump organisation’s bullying.”
Local resident David Mine said: “I’m here at Menie in Aberdeenshire, partially due to the support that was provided by Alicia Bruce.
“I’m happy and proud to support her in her new project and you should too. It’s simple, it’s easy and everything counts.”
The photographer is also planning to work with a number of leading Scottish musicians, including Karine Polwart, Kathryn Joseph, Ballboy and Ruth Barrie, to help launch the book.
Bruce said: “This project is political, personal and professional. My role in Menie is as a conduit to my friends there who have lived for too long in the shadow of Trump’s impact on their homes and land.”
“I’ve learned, through my collaborations with the Menie residents that, even as a working-class photographer without money or power I can assist others in sharing their world views and personal stories in alternative ways and help, in my own way, to make social change for the better.
“I have witnessed first hand the horrifying treatment of the local residents and the destruction of an SSSI for a short lived commercial development.
“Nature is already fighting against the first course and, as my photographs show, the result is bitter sweet.
“I want this book to pay tribute to my friends Sheila Forbes, Molly Forbes and Susan Munro who all passed away during the pandemic, their final years overshadowed by the stress of living with the Trump organisation’s bullying.”
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