A photographer is celebrating the publication of an A-Z of her work which showcases her home town of Musselburgh.

Stefanie Talac’s idea for the project came about at the start of the Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020.

“Like everyone else, I was only really leaving the house for a walk or to visit the shops,” she said.

“I began to take my camera with me on my walks to try and make things a little more interesting. My photography also helps relieve the stresses of my working day and allows me some escapism. At a time when everyone was under extreme conditions that no one had experienced before, it was exceptionally important to me,” she explained.

Stefanie, 42, a risk manager with TSB, added: “One night I was on social media and saw a post from Visit Colchester where a friend lives and thought, ‘I wonder if that would work for Musselburgh?’ I began to pull together a spreadsheet of the possible things around town to represent each letter. I then started to pull together the portfolio of photographs to post on my social media pages, Stalactite Photography.

“I started to post a picture a day and, as a lover of history and very proud of the history of Musselburgh, I started to also pull together little snippets of the history of the subject of the photographs.”

“I was delighted with the engagement the posts got and had people trying to guess what the next picture would be. The A to Z then inspired a friend and her children to do their own version whilst out on their walks.”

Following the completion of the online A to Z project, it was suggested to Stephanie that her project would make a good local book so a local printer was contacted.

“I also wanted to make sure that the local history was correct and so engaged with Fran Woodrow at the John Gray Centre in Haddington who was a fantastic help looking up some old town council records to help me fill in some gaps since we still weren’t allowed into these public places to look it up myself,” she said.

“Other friends, Alison Elgin and Moira Cranston, then acted as my proof readers before I sent it off to the printers. It’s taken a while to cross the final hurdle but it’s finally there and I’m really pleased with the response so far.”

Stefanie thanked everyone who had supported her “through this process” and also to those who have placed orders for the book.

This can be done via her Facebook page Stalactite Photography.

Stefanie, a former pupil of Campie Primary and Musselburgh Grammar Schools, lives in the Monktonhall area of the town.

She said: “This gives me great access to the bypass to visit other beautiful areas in East Lothian and also access to the Grove and the River Esk for its brilliant wildlife.”

She was elected Honest Lass in 2001 and has been involved with the organising committee of the annual Musselburgh Festival since then.

Stefanie stressed: “Being part of a community is so important to me and can really make you feel part of the town. There are some great organisations in the town for people to get involved in and, as the town grows in size, it’s even more important for people to get involved in these to ensure we have a great community for the future.”

She added: “Whilst the future is important so is understanding the past. I love history and I love the history of the town which is so vast. The town has been involved in so many historical ‘moments’ being on the main road to Edinburgh from the south – the Roman invasion of Scotland in 80AD and the wars of Independence where Musselburgh was given its title of ‘The Honest Toun’ in 1332 to the last major battle of the period of the Rough Wooing by Henry VIII, the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh in 1547, through the Industrial Revolution to the modern day.”

The letter ‘A’ in her book represents the French Ambassador’s House which is reputed to be the oldest town building, dating to the 16th century. The town’s famous golfing heritage is highlighted in ‘G.’

“Some of the letters were difficult: X for example, where I had to get creative, through to Z for which I picked Zot Engineering, one of Musselburgh’s biggest employers, and also utilising some of the old industrial mill space,” she added.