Picture Power, Radio4

It’s always been said that the members of Document Scotland have a great face for radio, so we took everyone at their word… We’re very pleased to announce that next week you’ll be able to hear our dulcet tones, our lovely Scottish accents on Radio 4.

Miles Warde of Radio 4 very nicely came along to the opening night of our ‘Common Ground’ show last August at Street Level Photoworks in Glasgow, and interviewed us about the photography we’d been doing all year in the run up to the show and the run up to the Sept 18th referendum on Scottish Independence. Miles has craftily woven comments and quotes together, from interviews with Sophie as she was out photographing on the streets, and then interviews with the rest of us at the gallery opening, and has produced a 15minute programme which will broadcast on Wednesday 4th February, at 13:45hrs, on BBC Radio4.

The programme is one in the Picture Power series, in which Miles talks to various photographers about how they covered the big news stories of 2014. All programmes will be worth a listen we are sure!

We’d be ever so grateful if you could tune it to listen and in advance help spread the word to anyone who may be interested. Thank you.  And of course, huge thanks to Miles Warde and the team at Picture Power!

Radio 4's Miles Warde speaks to Colin McPherson, at the Common ground photography exhibition at Street Level Photoworks,  in Glasgow, Scotland 28 August 2014

Radio 4’s Miles Warde speaks to Colin McPherson, at the Common ground photography exhibition at Street Level Photoworks, in Glasgow, Scotland, 28 August 2014

 

Common Ground photography exhibition at Street Level Photoworks,  in Glasgow, Scotland 28 August 2014

Common Ground photography exhibition at Street Level Photoworks, in Glasgow, Scotland
28 August 2014

 

Radio 4's Miles Warde speaks to Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert, at the Common Ground photography exhibition at Street Level Photoworks,  in Glasgow, Scotland 28 August 2014

Radio 4’s Miles Warde speaks to Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert, at the Common Ground photography exhibition at Street Level Photoworks, in Glasgow, Scotland, 28 August 2014

 

Neil-exhibition-streetlevel

Sophie’s project – Scottish Sweet Sixteen – features first time voters, like Neil pictured here. They can be heard in the programme seeing their portraits on the walls of Streetlevel Photoworks for the very first time.

 

Radio 4's Miles Warde speaks to Stephen McLaren and Colin McPherson, at the Common Ground photography exhibition at Street Level Photoworks,  in Glasgow, Scotland 28 August 2014

Radio 4’s Miles Warde speaks to Stephen McLaren and Colin McPherson, at the Common Ground photography exhibition at Street Level Photoworks, in Glasgow, Scotland, 28 August 2014

 

Document Scotland are...  Common Ground photography exhibition at Street Level Photoworks,  in Glasgow, Scotland 28 August 2014

Document Scotland are… Common Ground photography exhibition at Street Level Photoworks, in Glasgow, Scotland
28 August 2014

 

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1970s GLASGOW – Photographs by Keith Ingham

Keith Ingham‘s photographs, taken from 1976 – 1979, were shot as part of a project for The People’s Palace Museum. Large parts of Glasgow’s East End, especially in Calton, were due for major demolition and it was felt the soon to be disrupted community should be recorded. This series of images document life in not solely in the East End but also including the Clyde ferries, Byres Road and the canals.

 

Bottle Washing, Dunn & Moore's, London Road

Bottle Washing, Dunn & Moore’s, London Road © Keith Ingham all rights reserved

The exhibition will be on at The Pelican Restaurant, 1377 Argyle Street, G3 8AF (across the road from The Kelvingrove Museum) from 30th January 2015

To see more of Keith’s work take a look at his website here www.keith-ingham.com

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Empty Shops

EMPTY SHOP, by Kenneth Gray

Starting in July 2014, the Empty Shop series came about more by chance than planning. Whilst walking my dog around Edinburgh, with a camera ever-ready, I started to see shops which had lain empty for some time, stripped of fittings and ready for let or sale. Desolate and unused and yet ripe with possibilities – each one holding a unique story about life, society and rebirth. There is however a real sadness to some of these images, melancholic overtones of failed businesses, unsuccessful companies and the reality of today’s economy. According to The Scotsman, “Almost 40 per cent of empty shops in Scotland have been vacant for more than three years”.

Home Street, Edinburgh - 15/10/14 ©Kenneth Gray, all rights reserved 2014.

Home Street, Edinburgh – 15/10/14 ©Kenneth Gray, all rights reserved 2014.

 

I’m fascinated by these places which are neither one thing nor another – liminal, they inhabit a temporary space between states. Once I started to notice these empty shops, I saw more and more of them on an almost daily basis. They are hidden in plain sight, overlooked and passed by; unused places waiting for a purpose.

The first space I really noticed was a vacant shop on George Street; a shell, whitewashed and illuminated by the sun – devoid of any colour and truly empty. Others appear to have been vacated in a hurry, whilst yet more are almost clinical in their appearance.

West Port, Edinburgh - 07/01/15, ©Kenneth Gray, all rights reserved 2015.

West Port, Edinburgh – 07/01/15, ©Kenneth Gray, all rights reserved 2015.

 

George IV Bridge, Edinburgh - 20/11/14. ©Kenneth Gray, all rights reserved 2014.

George IV Bridge, Edinburgh – 20/11/14. ©Kenneth Gray, all rights reserved 2014.

 

Rose Street, Edinburgh - 08/01/15. ©Kenneth Gray, all rights reserved 2015.

Rose Street, Edinburgh – 08/01/15. ©Kenneth Gray, all rights reserved 2015.

 

There is often a door or doorway leading into another room, which could suggest either the past or the future for the shop. They also remind me of minimal stage sets, devoid of actors, waiting for a character to make an entrance.

As the series has gone on, I’ve tried to refine exactly what should appear in it. I decided to exclude shops which were in the process of being let or sold, so it’s the spaces which are caught in limbo that I want to record: the ‘null’ spaces. In some cases, the shops have had temporary reprieves and have been used as Festival venues before reverting to empty spaces. But it’s the time when they just lie vacant that interests me.

 

Dundas Street, Edinburgh - 08/01/15. ©Kenneth Gray, all rights reserved 2015.

Dundas Street, Edinburgh – 08/01/15. ©Kenneth Gray, all rights reserved 2015.

 

Princes Street, Edinburgh - 24/08/14. ©Kenneth Gray, all rights reserved 2014.

Princes Street, Edinburgh – 24/08/14. ©Kenneth Gray, all rights reserved 2014.

 

rederick Street, Edinburgh - 26/11/14. ©Kenneth Gray, all rights reserved 2014.

rederick Street, Edinburgh – 26/11/14. ©Kenneth Gray, all rights reserved 2014.

 

I have not tried to be artful with the photographs – they are taken with a fixed lens camera pressed against the shop window and I enjoy those limitations as they let the space speak for itself. I’m not trying to impose anything on the space, I am simply recording a pause in the history of each location. There is a social and political dimension to the photograph, but it’s left for the viewer to interpret it.

 

Gilmore Pl, Edinburgh - 16/01/2015. ©Kenneth Gray, all rights reserved 2015.

Gilmore Pl, Edinburgh – 16/01/2015. ©Kenneth Gray, all rights reserved 2015.

 

Howe Street, Edinburgh - 20/11/14. ©Kenneth Gray, all rights reserved 2015.

Howe Street, Edinburgh – 20/11/14. ©Kenneth Gray, all rights reserved 2015.

 

Although some motifs occur across a few photographs – fire extinguishers, chairs and step ladders, the variety of textures, colours (or lack of), remnants and potential is fascinating. Some areas in Edinburgh clearly have more empty shops than others, but I have been surprised how much they are spread across the city. I’ve explored Tollcross, Newington, Morningside, Bruntsfield, Marchmont, the New Town and Stockbridge; my next forays will take me to Leith and Gorgie amongst others.

At the moment, the series has focused mainly on Edinburgh, but I would like to explore other towns and cities across Scotland, especially East Kilbride which “has the highest vacancy rate of all Scottish towns at 33 per cent”.

The complete series so far is at http://ken-gray.tumblr.com/tagged/empty-shop and a new portfolio site.

Roseneath Pl, Edinburgh - 9/12/14. ©Kenneth Gray, all rights reserved 2014.

Roseneath Pl, Edinburgh – 9/12/14. ©Kenneth Gray, all rights reserved 2014.

 

Tollcross, Edinburgh - 4/12/14. ©Kenneth Gray, all rights reserved 2014.

Tollcross, Edinburgh – 4/12/14. ©Kenneth Gray, all rights reserved 2014.

 

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#EverydayClimateChange

As the weather rages outside, the wind blows, snow falls and then the sunshine comes back out, we can’t but help what is happening to the climate these days. Should we carry an umbrella, or wear a t-shirt? It’s hard to know on a daily basis anymore. It’s hard to know on an every-few-minutes basis anymore…

On January 3rd, as we all contemplated the end of the holidays, good news and cheer was to be found in figures and data which were released proving that 2014 had been a “massive year” for wind and solar power here in Scotland, with enough wind power generated in six of the months last year to power more than 100% of Scottish homes. You can read many more stunning statistics and good news here on the WWF Scotland website.

@EverydayClimateChange on Instagram.

@EverydayClimateChange on Instagram.

 

Neatly coinciding with this positive news a new Instagram feed was started, on January 1st, taking a look at climate change.  @EverydayClimateChange, started by James Whitlow Delano in Tokyo, and involving a total 37 photographers on 5 continents, aims to bring attention to the perils we face through climate change, the causes of it, and the effect it has on our fragile planet. Document Scotland’s Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert is one of the contributing photographers who will be posting images to the feed, which since it’s launch two weeks ago has already amassed a following of 2,500 regular viewers. Jeremy aims to post work from his assignments covering different environmental topics for Greenpeace, and also images from Scotland as our country leads the way forward with renewable energy and cutting the all harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

Speaking on Inside Climate News, photographer Ed Kashi, a contributor to National Geographic Magazine, said of the new project, “Climate change is such a loaded term, and the public dialogue is so disingenuous, so off the mark from the conversation we need to be having. Whether this project makes someone think about this more or spurs action, both are mini-victories that add up to systemic change. That’s what we need.”

Please take a look at the @EverydayClimateChange and if you’re on Instagram, please show your support and follow it to see stories from around the world by eminent photographers such as Paula Bronstein of Getty Images, Ed Kashi and Ron Haviv of VII photo agency, many from our friends at Panos Photos and many more. Many thanks.

 

Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert's image of Whitelee Wind Farm, the UK's largest onshore windfarm and Europe's 2nd largest, situated outside Glasgow, Scotland... on the @EverydayClimateChange feed.

Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert’s image of Whitelee Wind Farm, the UK’s largest onshore windfarm and Europe’s 2nd largest, situated outside Glasgow, Scotland… on the @EverydayClimateChange feed.

 

 

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The Road Ahead

 

Snow-capped Ben Cruachan seen from Glen Lonan on 28. December 2014 by Colin McPherson.

Snow-capped Ben Cruachan seen from Glen Lonan on 28. December 2014 by Colin McPherson.

 

It was, we were constantly reminded in the media and elsewhere, a year like no other. Certainly, for those of us who wield a camera for a living or for enjoyment – or both – there was no shortage of subject matter on which we could focus our energies on in Scotland in 2014.

From the Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup, Year of Homecoming, Bannockburn Commemoration to the major political event of our age, the Independence referendum, Scottish photographers and photographers working in Scotland were spoilt for choice. And beyond those headline events, there were countless spin-off stories to be covered and ideas to be explored. As a result, work made here was in demand both at home an internationally. Hardly a week went by when images by Scottish photographers wasn’t featured in the most prestigious and widely-read publications around the globe.

Scotland the brave? On the Referendum trail with Document Scotland's Stephen McLaren, 2014

Scotland the brave? On the Referendum trail with Document Scotland’s Stephen McLaren, 2014.

 

At the same time, galleries, institutions and organisations stepped up to the plate to produce and exhibit work which engaged audiences and distilled the themes and current trends in photography in Scotland. Street Level Photoworks continued to be be a major hub, staging events and showing photography which pulled together many strands and tapped into the 2014 Glasgow buzz. Both Stills Gallery and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh had vibrant programmes on display and ended the year with two shows which looked beyond our borders to bring acclaimed work by Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse (Ponte City) and Chloe Dewe Mathews (Shot At Dawn). At internal and external locations across the country, the photographic image took centre stage in 2014.

Scotland's future: Sophie Gerrard's study of the nations youth who had their say in 2014.

Scotland’s future: Sophie Gerrard’s study of the nation’s youth who had their say in 2014.

 

At what of Document Scotland? It would take more than one short blog to chronicle everything we produced or participated in during a frenetic year. The stand-outs were our solo show at Impressions Gallery in Bradford (Beyond the Border) and our collaboration with Welsh collective A Fine Beginning at Street Level Photoworks (Common Ground). The spin-off from these major events were the salon evening we staged at diverse locations across Scotland, from a community hall on a tiny, car-free island in Argyll, to the sell-out event at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in early summer. At all our salon events, we had the pleasure of showing not only our current work, but new and historic photography made by numerous celebrated, established or emerging practitioners, such as Sarah Amy Fishlock, Emily Macinnes, Ben Roberts, Arpita Shah and many, many others. As with the salon events, Document Scotland’s collaborative modus operandi continued to extend to our website, which showcased projects, essays and exhibitions by Scottish photographers and photography made in Scotland. These projects also spawned a hefty publication: Common Ground, an 84-page compendium, which told the story of Document Scotland’s year, set against the fascinating and turbulent events swirling around us.

Who do you think you are? Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert on the trail of the common ridings in 2014

Who do you think you are? Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert followed the common ridings around the Borders in 2014.

 

Document Scotland were grateful to receive support from a number of sources which enabled us to put together our programme of events and realise our ideas in 2014. Principal amongst these were Creative Scotland and the University of St. Andrews Library’s Special Collections department, as well as all the organisations we collaborated with throughout the year. It was especially gratifying to think that so much of the photography we made during 2014 will now reside in the internationally-acclaimed photographic archive in St. Andrews as a result of our partnership with them.

So how do we follow all that? Certainly the political focus on Scotland will be softer through 2015, although with both a General Election and elections to the Scottish Parliament on the horizon, the Referendum backwash promises to be fascinating. Beyond those narrow confines, it’s not difficult to imagine that Scottish photographers will have plenty to pick over after last year’s feast. There will be a season of photography in Edinburgh for starters and at the end of that programme, Document Scotland’s first solo show on Scottish soil will launch in late-September at SNPG’s Robert Mapplethorpe Photography Gallery. Each of our four photographers will be presenting new images which reference the projects they have been working on over the last couple of years. There will be a programme of artists talks, salon events and more, all currently in the planning. As always, we’ll be out-and-about engaging with Scottish photography and looking for work to highlight on our website and blog. If you have anything you think we may be interested in, please get in touch.

In the meantime, Document Scotland wishes you a Happy New Year and all the best for a wonderful, successful and fulfilling 2015. Slainte!

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