Paul Strand – print acquisition by SNPG

We were very excited to hear of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery’s latest photography acquisition, great to hear that nine images from South Uist, in the Outer Hebrides, by Paul Strand have been acquired for the nations’s photography collection. Great news indeed. Below, you can read about the acquisition and see the images, but we recommend going to see them in the flesh so to speak!

The nine photographs will be on show as part of Collecting Now at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, from 20 June to 20 September 2015.

 

Paul Strand

Nine photographs by Paul Strand (1890-1976), one of the greatest photographers of the twentieth century, have been acquired by the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, where they will go on public display until 20 September. Taken from Strand’s series of Hebridean photographs from South Uist in 1954, the works are the first examples of his Scottish work to enter into a public collection in Scotland.

This major acquisition, supported by the Art Fund, is composed of nine vintage black and white portraits of Scottish lives and landscapes in South Uist, an island in the Outer Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland. The works will be hung in the current exhibition Collecting Now, which focuses on the Gallery’s growing collection.

 

Paul Strand (1890-1976). Croft, Locarnon, South Uist, Hebrides, 1954 Photograph (gelatine silver print): 11.4 x 14.6 cm Scottish National Portrait Gallery © Aperture Foundation Inc., Paul Strand Archive

Paul Strand (1890-1976).
Croft, Locarnon, South Uist, Hebrides, 1954
Photograph (gelatine silver print): 11.4 x 14.6 cm
Scottish National Portrait Gallery © Aperture Foundation Inc., Paul Strand Archive

 

The American photographer Paul Strand is ranked among the most important artists within the history of photography, and his work has influenced generations of photographers. In 1954, upon hearing a radio programme on the Gaelic songs of South Uist, he decided to travel there along with his wife, Hazel Kingsbury Strand. Having been introduced to the islanders by the local doctor, Strand spent three months taking over a hundred photographs of the island and its people for his book, Tìr a’ Mhurain (1962). Taken from a traditional Gaelic song, the title translates as ‘Land of Bent Grass’.

Strand photographed many of the people in and around their homes, often posing them before a weathered wall. Within the group of nine works going on display, there are four striking portraits that show the sitters looking directly at the camera, exuding strength and dignity. Strand was keen to understand his subjects, their environments and the forces that shaped their lives, and spent his first few weeks on the island observing the people he would photograph – fishermen, crofters, their wives and children. Nine years after the end of the WWII, South Uist was still an impoverished community and the vast majority of families depended on the produce from the land and sea. The remaining five photographs within the new acquisition group show the evocative landscapes of South Uist, for instance a loch and lilies, a croft, and ropes and a buoy used by the local fishermen.

Paul Strand (1890-1976). Norman Douglas, South Uist, Hebrides, 1954 Photograph (gelatine silver print): 14.6 x 11.4 cm Scottish National Portrait Gallery © Aperture Foundation Inc., Paul Strand Archive

Paul Strand (1890-1976).
Norman Douglas, South Uist, Hebrides, 1954
Photograph (gelatine silver print): 14.6 x 11.4 cm
Scottish National Portrait Gallery © Aperture Foundation Inc., Paul Strand Archive

 

Paul Strand (1890-1976). John Angus MacDonald, South Uist, Hebrides, 1954 Photograph (gelatine silver print): 14.6 x 11.4 cm Scottish National Portrait Gallery © Aperture Foundation Inc., Paul Strand Archive

Paul Strand (1890-1976).
John Angus MacDonald, South Uist, Hebrides, 1954
Photograph (gelatine silver print): 14.6 x 11.4 cm
Scottish National Portrait Gallery © Aperture Foundation Inc., Paul Strand Archive

 

In the 1950s, during the Cold War, Uist was announced as the future site for a rocket launch facility, and many of the photos Strand took during his time on the island reflect a concern amongst many artists and folklorists to ‘salvage’ oral Gaelic culture amid the thread of a militarised modernity. He believed these islanders represented the universal struggle of humanity and sequenced the images within Tìr a Mhurain in such a way as to evoke the heroic, yet remote lives of the dwindling population: when he visited South Uist in the mid-1950s the population was 3764; at the last census in 2011 it was 1754.

The completed publication came out in 1962 and featured an introductory essay by British historian Basil Davidson, who explained the precarious existence of the islanders against a backdrop of history, geography and social anthropology.

Paul Strand (1890-1976) Peggy MacDonald, South Uist, Hebrides, 1954 Photograph (gelatine silver print): 11.4 x 14.6 cm Scottish National Portrait Gallery © Aperture Foundation Inc., Paul Strand Archive

Paul Strand (1890-1976)
Peggy MacDonald, South Uist, Hebrides, 1954
Photograph (gelatine silver print): 11.4 x 14.6 cm
Scottish National Portrait Gallery © Aperture Foundation Inc., Paul Strand Archive

 

Paul Strand (1890-1976) Loch and Lilies, South Uist, Hebrides, 1954 Photograph (gelatine silver print): 11.4 x 14.6 cm Scottish National Portrait Gallery © Aperture Foundation Inc., Paul Strand Archive

Paul Strand (1890-1976)
Loch and Lilies, South Uist, Hebrides, 1954
Photograph (gelatine silver print): 11.4 x 14.6 cm
Scottish National Portrait Gallery © Aperture Foundation Inc., Paul Strand Archive

 

Paul Strand (1890-1976) Ropes and Buoy, South Uist, Hebrides, 1954 Photograph (gelatine silver print): 24.1 x 19.3 cm Scottish National Portrait Gallery © Aperture Foundation Inc., Paul Strand Archive

Paul Strand (1890-1976)
Ropes and Buoy, South Uist, Hebrides, 1954
Photograph (gelatine silver print): 24.1 x 19.3 cm
Scottish National Portrait Gallery © Aperture Foundation Inc., Paul Strand Archive

 

One of the greatest photographers of the twentieth century, with a career that spanned sixty years, Paul Strand was born in New York in 1890 and received his first camera at the age of 12. Whilst a student of renowned documentary photographer Lewis W. Hine in New York, from 1904-08, Strand visited the 291 Gallery which promoted pioneering photographers and introduced some of the most avant-garde European artists to American audiences. By 1916, Strand had a solo show at 291 Gallery, whose owner Stieglitz declared the images “pure” and “direct”. In 1945 Strand was given a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, but having become more political he now came under scrutiny as McCarthyism swept America, and he went into exile in France. During this time period he began working on a series of photo essays in search of an ideal community or village that espoused certain moral values he wanted to record with the camera, which eventually led to his visit to South Uist in 1954. His breakthrough, abstract experiments in the 1910s heralded photography’s importance as a modern art form, but it was his portraits of ordinary people that increased his popular appeal. Strand died in 1976 at Orgeval, France.

 

Paul Strand (1890-1976) Rock by the Sea, South Uist, Hebrides, 1954 Photograph (gelatine silver print): 24.1 x 19.3 cm Scottish National Portrait Gallery © Aperture Foundation Inc., Paul Strand Archive

Paul Strand (1890-1976)
Rock by the Sea, South Uist, Hebrides, 1954
Photograph (gelatine silver print): 24.1 x 19.3 cm
Scottish National Portrait Gallery © Aperture Foundation Inc., Paul Strand Archive

 

Speaking of the acquisition, Christopher Baker, Director of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery said: “These works are an important contribution to broadening our international holdings of photography, while the distinct Scottish subject matter relates to the larger mission for the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in representing the people and topography of Scotland.”

Paul Strand (1890-1976) Mrs. Archie MacDonald, South Uist, Hebrides, 1954 Photograph (gelatine silver print): 11.4 x 14.6 cm Scottish National Portrait Gallery © Aperture Foundation Inc., Paul Strand Archive

Paul Strand (1890-1976)
Mrs. Archie MacDonald, South Uist, Hebrides, 1954
Photograph (gelatine silver print): 11.4 x 14.6 cm
Scottish National Portrait Gallery © Aperture Foundation Inc., Paul Strand Archive

 

Paul Strand (1890-1976) House, Kilpheder, South Uist, Hebrides, 1954 Photograph (gelatine silver print): 19.3 x 24.1 cm Scottish National Portrait Gallery © Aperture Foundation Inc., Paul Strand Archive

Paul Strand (1890-1976)
House, Kilpheder, South Uist, Hebrides, 1954
Photograph (gelatine silver print): 19.3 x 24.1 cm
Scottish National Portrait Gallery © Aperture Foundation Inc., Paul Strand Archive

 

Stephen Deuchar, director of the Art Fund, said: “Paul Strand was a photographic pioneer but he is under-represented in UK collections and not at all in Scotland, so we are very pleased to support this acquisition for the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. This series of remarkable images from the Hebrides has an especially important resonance for the Gallery’s collections, and furthermore will sit well alongside works in the permanent collection by photographers influenced by Strand.”

 

The Art Fund

The Art Fund is the national fundraising charity for art. In the past five years the Art Fund has given £34 million to help museums and galleries acquire works of art for their collections. The Art Fund also helps museums share their collections with wider audiences by supporting a range of tours and exhibitions, including ARTIST ROOMS and the 2013-18 Aspire tour of Tate’s Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows by John Constable, and makes additional grants to support the training and professional development of curators.

The Art Fund is independently funded, with the core its income provided by 117,000 members who receive the National Art Pass and enjoy free entry to over 230 museums, galleries and historic places across the UK, as well as 50% off entry to major exhibition. In addition to grant-giving, the Art Fund’s support for museums includes the annual Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year, a publications programme and a range of digital platforms.

Find out more about the Art Fund and the National Art Pass at www.artfund.org

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Season of Photography in Scotland

The Season of Photography in Scotland has been announced and Document Scotland are very pleased to be involved with our upcoming exhibition at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery – The Ties That Bind.

Season-Poster

“The aim of the Season is to highlight, celebrate and promote photography. From the historical innovations of the 1840s to the digital explorations of 2015, The Season offers something for everyone and tells multiple stories about the diverse ways in which photography is used as a creative tool.”

The Ties that Bind will be on at The Scottish National Portrait Gallery from 26th September 2015 – 24th April 2016.  Curated by Anne Lyden, International Curator of Photography at The Scottish National Portrait Gallery, the exhibition will bring together new work which we have been working on since our exhibition at Impressions Gallery in the summer of 2014. We are delighted to be involved in this season of photography in Scotland.

Season-leaflet

The Institute of Photography in Scotland is an association between The National Galleries of Scotland, The University of Glasgow, The University of St Andrews, Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow, and Stills, Edinburgh. For more information on The Season of Photography in Scotland please visit www.institutephotographyscotland.org

 

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Face to Face: The Photographers

So folks, we are now very excited to confirm the following details about the work being presented at our event Face To Face: The Portrait In Photography Today at The Scottish National Portrait Gallery on the 14th May 2014.

Colin McPherson will present a short multimedia entitled ‘In the Company of Strangers’ in which he will explore the relationship between the photographer and the subject involved in making portraits. The photographs will reflect encounters Colin has had with people he had previously never met, and examine what happened next.

SNPG_McPherson

Jehovah’s Witnesses, Coldstream, 2014, from the series ‘In the Company of Strangers’
Photograph © Colin McPherson 2014, all rights reserved.

 

Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert will present work from his project ‘Satra, the Roma of Sintesti’ which spanned 17 years. Through repeated visits to the Roma camp in Romania, relationships were built, friendships formed and a portrait of a camp captured in both black-and-white and colour, charting the changes in the lives of the people.

SNPG_SuttonHibbert

Mia, a young Roma girl. From the series ‘Satra, the Roma of Sintesti’
Photograph © Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert 2014 all rights reserved.

 

Sophie Gerrard will present portraits from her personal and on-going series ‘Homecoming‘, a project focused on the experience of turning the camera towards the places, people and communities which evoke a particular sense of home. Shot all over Scotland, Sophie will talk about the notion of returning home, and share her experience of photographing those people and places which can feel simultaneously familiar and unknown.

SNPG_Gerrard3

Boys at the skate park. From the series ‘Homecoming’
Photograph © Sophie Gerrard 2014 all rights reserved.

 

‘American Always, Scottish Forever’, is a series of portraits Stephen McLaren has been making of Americans with Scottish ancestry who retain close affinity with the ‘Old Country’. Stephen discovered the subjects at the many Scottish Festivals and Highland Games that take place throughout California and even through they may never set foot in Scotland, all revel in having a Scottish identity to call their own.

SNPG_McLaren

Jonathan McGregor, Piper, Ventura Highland Games, California, 2012 from the series ‘American Always, Scottish Forever’.
Photograph © Stephen McLaren 2014 all rights reserved.

 

We are very pleased to be joined on the evening by a selection of guest photographers who will be showing the following work…

Emily Macinnes will be showing her current, long-term project ‘Paradise Lost: Testimonies of Abuse‘ documenting male survivors of childhood, sexual abuse. Emily will show images from the portrait series and discuss how she approached this sensitive subject matter.

SNPG_Macinnes

From the series ‘Paradise Lost: Testimonies of Abuse’
Photograph © Emily Macinnes 2014, all rights reserved.

Emily Macinnes (b. 1989) is a Scottish-born photographer currently based in Edinburgh.  Since graduating from Nottingham Trent University in 2012 she has been working as a freelance documentary photographer and multimedia storyteller working with international NGO’s as well as more intimate stories of struggles faced closer to home.  What unites her work is a common interest in peoples’ stories and a desire to creatively communicate the individual and emotional aspect of the issues she documents.

 

The multimedia presentation of Graham MacIndoe‘s  self portrait series ‘My Addiction, Through My Eyes’ will show a selection of images from a much larger body of work. Although often harrowing, the images show the quietness and isolation that often comes with the obsessive nature of addiction when the partying days have long been left behind. Without glamorization or being sensationalist there is an awareness of pain and a quality of introspection rarely seen with this subject matter.

SNPG_MacIndoe

Self portrait from the series ‘My Addiction, Through My Eyes’..
Photograph © Graham MacIndoe 2014 all rights reserved.

Graham MacIndoe studied painting at Edinburgh College of Art and went on to earn his master’s degree in photography at the Royal College of Art in London. He has lived in New York City since 1991 where he has been a part time  professor at Parsons The New School since 2011. He is having his first book published by LittleBigMan Books in June 2014 and is the recipient of a 2014 Alicia Patterson Fellowship. His work is in many public and private collections including Scotland’s National Portrait Gallery, the British Museum of Film and Television, the V&A Museum in London and the British Council. Graham is represented by Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles.

 

Arpita Shah will be presenting a short narrated slideshow entitled ‘Myth and The Asian Diaspora’. She will be discussing the relationship between mythology and portraiture in her work and how she uses it to explore the experience of Diaspora for Asians living in Scotland.

SNPG_Shah

From the series ‘Myth and The Asian Diaspora’.
Photograph © Arpita Shah 2014, all rights reserved.

Arpita Shah is an India-born visual artist and is based in Scotland. With a background in photography and film, she predominantly works in these two mediums exploring themes around culture and identity. Her work tends to draw from Asian and Eastern mythology, using it both visually and conceptually to explore the issues of cultural displacement in the Asian Diaspora. Arpita has exhibited internationally and has been involved in several artist residencies and community arts project around Scotland, which include residencies at Street Level Photoworks, Ankur Arts and The Albert Drive Project.

 

Ben Roberts will be showing work from his series ‘Higher Lands’, photographed in 2007-08. The photographs, documenting adolescents growing up in the Highlands of Scotland, still resonate with people 7 years after they were taken. Exploring themes of love and insecurity, Ben will discuss why photographs of teenagers are so compelling, and how he is striving to make similar images in his current personal work.

SNPG_Roberts

From the series ‘Love, Desire and Insecurity – Portraits of Adolescence’
Photograph © Ben Roberts 2014, all rights reserved.

Ben Roberts is a portrait and documentary photographer based in Madrid. He is a contributor to the FT Weekend Magazine and Monocle amongst other publications. His personal projects are diverse, ranging from observing the effects of the economic crisis on the landscapes of Spain, through to young people growing up in the Highlands of Scotland.

 

We look forward to seeing you there on the night.

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Face to Face: The Portrait in Photography Today

Document Scotland are very happy to have been invited to host ‘Face To Face: The Portrait in Photography Today‘  an evening of portraiture, conversation and photography  on Wednesday 14th May at The Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

You can expect a lively evening featuring work by the four members of Document Scotland as well as special guest photographers; Arpita Shah, Ben Roberts, Graham MacIndoe and Emily MacInnes. The evening will be chaired by Annie Lyden, International Photography Curator at The National Galleries of Scotland.

Doors open at 7pm, allowing you a chance to look around The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2013 before proceedings begin at 7:30pm.

We very much hope you can join us – please book your tickets through the Eventbrite page here

and we look forward to seeing you!

FACETOFACELeafletFinalv2

 

 

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Last chance to see

Photographing conflict and post-conflict arenas is one of the most interesting sub-genres of documentary photography.

There are many different approaches which make for outstanding viewing. From the monumental landscapes of Donovan Wylie and Simon Norfolk, depicting the theatre sets of war to the late Tim Hetherington’s claustrophobic and intimate moments with the dramatis personae, there is barely a facet of modern conflict which is not explored and exploited by photographers today.

In ‘Legacy’ Scottish artist Roderick Buchanan focuses on post-Troubles Northern Ireland and uses two Scottish flute bands to demonstrate the current and historical links between the peoples of the two territories. Using simple, striking portraits on the one hand and film footage of re-enactment scenes and marches on the other, Buchanan produces a tableau which invites us to examine our own links with the Troubles and our attitude to history, conflict and memory.

As Buchanan states: “My proposal was to make a portrait with grass-roots activists who had lived through the Troubles, processed the Good Friday Agreement meant for them, and who continued to march and stand up for what they believe. As both bands say about themselves, ‘We’re still here’.”

Although chilling to look at, there is something almost charming about the men depicted. The faces are earnest, determined, hard and unforgiving, but there is something almost comedic about them too. These are men you could meet anywhere in Scottish society and you wouldn’t presume that they could be so passionate about a cause which most people regard as a hangover of a bygone age of pugilism and insanity. But these are the men (and boys) of the Parkhead Republican Flute Band and on the other side the Black Skull Corps of Fife and Drum and they mean business. You walk away from the portraits casting a glance back to make sure they aren’t actually following you.

‘Legacy’ by Roderick Buchanan is on at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh until 16th September 2012. Admission free.

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