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PICTURES: Human resilience through cost-of-living crisis at heart of new Inverness exhibition

By Federica Stefani

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Soup is ready. Picture: Petrechiuta Photography.
Soup is ready. Picture: Petrechiuta Photography.

Stories of resilience shown by Inverness people through the cost-of-living crisis are at the heart of a new photo exhibition in the city centre.

Local photographer Petrechiuta has been working on this project over the past year, and this is the first time her work is being displayed.

“I just wanted to give voice to the people of Inverness who have and are impacted by the cost-of-living crisis,” she said.

The exhibition – which is currently on display at Xoko Bakehouse and will be on show until the end of February – showcases individuals finding ways to cope through hardship as well as people helping those in need.

“I came across some incredible stories,” Petrechiuta said.

Crisp packet neighbour. Picture: Petrechiuta Photography.
Crisp packet neighbour. Picture: Petrechiuta Photography.

“From one of my neighbours creating crisp packet blankets to keep warm in her home and the ladies offering a hot meal at Culduthel Christian Centre, and other people that make Inverness.

“These people were not self-pitying, they found their ways of thriving and I was stunned by the strength of humans to survive everything.”

Petrechiuta said that this subject mattered so much to her after experiencing homelessness and hardship herself.

“I could empathise, I had been there,” she explained.

“Working through these photos really helped me to cope through hard times.”

The photographer. Picture: James Mackenzie.
The photographer. Picture: James Mackenzie.

For years Petrechiuta has been passionate about photojournalism and the power of images.

She said: “For years I loved watching pictures of conflicts, culture change and protests – and I was almost hypnotised by the images. Everything else around me went quiet, and the image would come alive and tell the story by itself.

“Then I realised I could do it. The pictures I take, they are more precious than diamonds to me, they are like a part of me.”

She said that photography helps her cope with social anxiety and she is passionate about the power of pictures in capturing stories and emotions.

“When I have a lens I feel like that is an armour, I am comfortable,” she said. “If I take my camera with me I am at ease.

“I always felt like I couldn’t fit. I always felt a bit like a ghost – but with a camera, it’s OK to be a ghost.”

The exhibition had the support of Xoko Bakehouse as well as Highland Print Studio and Flow Photofest.

Petrechiuta said: “Tristan (Aitchison, co-owner at Xoko bakehouse) really helped me take the project and my photography skills further and I can’t thank everyone that has helped me make this all come together enough.”

Mr Aitchison said: “Petrechiuta has managed to produce a very honest and very interesting exhibition. We were delighted to be able to showcase her work which is important, and all too revealing of the times we are living in.”

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