Undertow & A9 – Frances Scott

Frances Scott is a photographer whose work Document Scotland have admired having enjoyed her book Undertow, published by Another Place Press, detailing her walks over the Orkney islands. A recently published ‘zine also by by the same publisher features a previous body of work, the A9 project, documenting Frances’ journeys between the Scottish Borders and the Orkney islands. Sophie met with Frances over zoom recently and took the opportunity to talk to her in more depth about these projects.

Some of our conversation is here, in Frances’ answers below, but to hear more and listen to Frances talk in detail about the work, please head over to our Patreon site where you can watch the video and learn more.

DS: When did you become a photographer – what was your early career and education and how did you get started?

FS: I studied Communication Design at Glasgow School of Art from 2010-14. The first two years of the course were broad (a mixture of illustration, graphic design and photography). In third year, after some difficulty choosing, I specialised in photography, and made the worthwhile discovery that by narrowing your area of study, you can deepen your focus, and get considerably more from it.

After graduating in 2014 I moved back to Orkney and struggled to get a job in the field I’d studied. I ended up working as cabin crew for Loganair, working solo on the lifeline flights which service Scotland’s islands. This meant I got to leave Orkney almost every day, and so I never really suffered from the ‘cabin fever’ you can get living on an island. Meanwhile, in 2016 I grouped together with a number of recent art graduates based in Orkney to form the Móti Collective, and after a bit of a hiatus began making artwork again. Our aim was to unite early career artists and designers who were either based in or returning to the islands, and celebrate Orkney’s importance as a creative hub in the north.

In early 2017 I got a job working as a photography technician at the GSA, and while I’m keen to assert the importance of not having an entirely city-centric creative practice there have been undeniable benefits to my career from being based in the Central Belt. At the same time, I miss Orkney very much, and maintain my links with my home – it has continued as the focus of much of my work, and I’m still a member of the Móti Collective, albeit a long-distance one.

From the series Undertow, 2016 by Frances Scott. © 2016 Frances Scott All rights reserved.
From the series Undertow, by Frances Scott. © 2016 Frances Scott All rights reserved.
From the series Undertow, 2016 by Frances Scott. © 2016 Frances Scott All rights reserved.
From the series Undertow,  by Frances Scott. © 2016 Frances Scott All rights reserved.
From the series Undertow, 2016 by Frances Scott. © 2016 Frances Scott All rights reserved.
From the series Undertow,  by Frances Scott. © 2016 Frances Scott All rights reserved.

DS: You started making Undertow in 2016, going for walks – it’s something many can relate to at the moment, how did those walks turn into a project?

FS: I began walking the coastline of the Orkney mainland in the spring of 2016, driven by the desire to know Orkney better, and primarily as a walking project rather than a photographic one. I wanted to really understand my home – to see how all the familiar places linked up, and to make my own claim on the island by walking it.

After four years of art school, experiencing life behind a lens, I wanted to be free from the need to document everything. It was important to be free to walk without interruption, to be fully present. The process of walking opened Orkney up to me – it made me see more, look harder, and remember better. Orkney grew, and keeps on growing.

When I started I didn’t have the funds nor the facilities to make analogue photographs, so I left my ‘real’ camera at home. I did however use an iPhone to gather ‘photosketches’ – quick, non-intrusive image gathering. I also recorded the walks using GPS and handwritten notes on maps. Over time, two things catalysed this project into artwork: taking part in a series of exhibitions as part of the Móti Collective from late 2016-18, and a research residency supported by Stills: Centre for Photography in 2018.

From the series Undertow, 2016 by Frances Scott. © 2016 Frances Scott All rights reserved.
From the series Undertow, by Frances Scott. © 2016 Frances Scott All rights reserved.

Having completed the coastline of the Orkney mainland in summer 2018, the Stills residency led me on to the coastlines of the North Isles: North Ronaldsay, Papay and Rousay. On these new walks around islands where I’ve never lived, I brought my Mamiya 645, loaded with black and white film. Initially, finding a balance between photographing and walking was a struggle. I felt the pressure of an audience for whom I had to create images, the weight of the camera on my hip; I was no longer alone on these walks. But working in this way has been vital in sharing and communicating my experience, and the images are also of value to me, so I am adapting.

Some of these film photographs were exhibited in 2019 at Stills in the group show AMBIT: Photographies from Scotland, and this year work from the series was published as a photobook entitled ‘Undertow’ by the Another Place Press, an independent publisher based in the Scottish Highlands. I’ve become accustomed to the rhythm of these walks as part of my life and my creative work, and I feel the loss of them just now during the pandemic when I can’t travel home.

From the series Undertow, 2016 by Frances Scott. © 2016 Frances Scott All rights reserved.
From the series Undertow, by Frances Scott. © 2016 Frances Scott All rights reserved.
From the series Undertow, 2016 by Frances Scott. © 2016 Frances Scott All rights reserved.
From the series Undertow, by Frances Scott. © 2016 Frances Scott All rights reserved.

DS: Writing is clearly a very important part of your practise, does that come first? And the images later – how does this process work for you and why is it important to include both in your projects?

FS: Even as images have taken more of a ‘leading role’ within my coastline project, the writing always happens first. After each walk I record my experiences on an OS Map, long before I process my film and see the photographic results of the walk.

Writing helps preserve the memory of each walk for me, and also to share the experience with others. It patches the gaps that photographs can’t, and thereby relieves some pressure on me – I might witness something too fleeting or dark to capture with a camera, but because I can record it in writing instead, it’s okay that I’ve only seen it with my eyes. Afterwards, writing allows visual or other sensory experiences to bloom naturally in the mind of the reader, and there is a roominess or fluidity in it that is perhaps not shared by the fixed and unbending nature of photographs.

I think the way I approach writing helps. It’s just ‘notes’ – notes on a map, or in a sketchbook, or on a scrap of paper. If these notes have anything of value in them, I can use or adapt them later. If I thought of it as proper ‘writing’ which might be published or exhibited from the beginning, I’d probably find myself intimidated and unable to get things down on paper.

From the series Undertow, 2016 by Frances Scott. © 2016 Frances Scott All rights reserved.
From the series Undertow, by Frances Scott. © 2016 Frances Scott All rights reserved.
From the series Undertow, 2016 by Frances Scott. © 2016 Frances Scott All rights reserved.
Book insert from the publication Undertow,  by Frances Scott. © 2016 Frances Scott All rights reserved.
Book layout spreads from the publication Undertow,  by Frances Scott. © 2016 Frances Scott All rights reserved.
Book layout spreads from the publication Undertow, by Frances Scott. © 2016 Frances Scott All rights reserved.

DS: What was it like making this project into a book? It’s a beautiful object, how did the design and publishing process come together?

FS: It was daunting turning what had become a huge focus of my life into a book: how could I communicate my whole experience in book form? To alleviate some of the pressure of this, I choose to see the work I make about the project as creative ‘branches’ which grow from the experience, while the walks at their core remain mine, and separate from any artwork made about them.

I chose to only use the black and white film photographs in the book, as the iPhone photos wouldn’t sit well alongside them – they speak a different language. But without this sense of colour, something about the experience was left out – and so the book is accompanied by an insert which contains written notes from the Mainland and Rousay, small note-poems which try to convey the feeling of each walk through words. Also included in the book were maproutes
and handwritten maps of two of the North Isles.

Normally when laying out a photobook the images themselves lead the way, but I also had chronology to contend with: I wanted the reader to encounter each place in the same order I had. This created some complications in repetition and flow but over time these issues were smoothed out, until both Iain Sarjeant and I were happy with the layout. I chose a muted pink for the colour of the insert – this ‘glow’ is something I had associated with the walks in the form of sea-pinks, or the setting sun glancing off waves, or in the fiery clouds above, and I wanted some of this warmth to counter the greyscale images. The cover is simple, just a line that I walked (in this case part of the Deerness peninsula). It brings the project back to its roots – the brink between land and sea.

From the series Undertow, 2016 by Frances Scott. © 2016 Frances Scott All rights reserved.
From the series Undertow, by Frances Scott. © 2016 Frances Scott All rights reserved.
From the series Undertow, 2016 by Frances Scott. © 2016 Frances Scott All rights reserved.
From the series Undertow, by Frances Scott. © 2016 Frances Scott All rights reserved.

DS: When did the A9 project come about? It’s a fascinating document of a journey between two very important places in your life – why choose the road – is journey important to you?

FS: During my two years as a photo specialist at GSA, my tutor Andy Stark said ‘Your work is about journeys’. I’m interested in the way we store feelings or memories in the land, and how travelling through a landscape can help you process your thoughts in time with the landscape. I came across a piece of writing by Rosemary Sullivan a number of years ago that said ‘The landscape of childhood provides the foundation layer of our psyche’. I like to look at the way these formative landscapes become part of our fundamental understanding of the world. My childhood was spent split between the north and south – my original home of Orkney, where my dad lived; Caithness, where my mum’s parents lived; and my temporary home of Hawick in the Scottish Borders with my mum. My internal landscape has always contained an awareness of and a yearning for ‘somewhere else’.

From the series A9, 2014 by Frances Scott. © 2016 Frances Scott All rights reserved.
From the series A9, by Frances Scott. © 2014 Frances Scott All rights reserved.
From the series A9, 2014 by Frances Scott. © 2016 Frances Scott All rights reserved.
From the series A9, by Frances Scott. © 2014 Frances Scott All rights reserved.

I made the A9 series in 2014 at the tail end of my final year of art school. The project comes from my childhood living alone with my mum, and the many times she drove us northwards to see my family. It’s about the safety of the backseat, an only child with a car window for company. It’s also about leaving home, and the journey south to the city. The road links two halves of myself – a north/south, mum/dad, island/city, childhood/adulthood binary.

From the series A9, 2014 by Frances Scott. © 2016 Frances Scott All rights reserved.
From the series A9, by Frances Scott. © 2014 Frances Scott All rights reserved.
From the series A9, 2014 by Frances Scott. © 2016 Frances Scott All rights reserved.
From the series A9, by Frances Scott. © 2014 Frances Scott All rights reserved.

DS: Does this work include writing in such an important way too – or is it more image focused.

FS: Small paragraphs of writing are interspersed throughout the photozine. I use these to tell the story of the three days spent driving and photographing the road in 2014. I think I would have found it too difficult to pinpoint in writing exactly what the A9 holds for me, so it was better to focus on this one particular journey, which was the very first time I had driven the whole road alone. The writing hovers over the surface of a deeper sense of nostalgia associated with the A9. Because I was a relatively young woman, putting myself outside of the normal rules of travelling, I had a number of strange encounters over the course of the journey – including being stopped by the police and confronted by a gamekeeper, both while walking alone with my camera. Without including it in writing, this perspective would be lost. These written interludes invite the viewer to share this solitary journey with me.

From the series A9, 2014 by Frances Scott. © 2016 Frances Scott All rights reserved.
From the series A9, by Frances Scott. © 2014 Frances Scott All rights reserved.

DS: You’re working with Another Place Press again, tell us more about that relationship.

FS: Iain Sarjeant has been a supportive figure in the industry for a number of years now – I was encouraged back in 2015 when he featured some of my degree work on his online platform ‘Another Place Magazine’. At the time, I remember discovering his ‘Out of the Ordinary’ series and being fascinated by his images of Orkney, Caithness, Aberdeen – I was delighted to see the care and attention he gave to these places which had often felt snubbed or overlooked during my time as a student in Glasgow. Since then, Iain has kept an eye on my work on social media, and in late 2018 he approached me to ask if I might like to turn my coastline project into a book with Another Place Press. We’ve met in person a few times, but most of our planning/design correspondence takes place over email, a very democratic and open exchange of PDFs and ideas. Iain grew up in the Highlands, and understands the motivation behind my projects – I don’t have to explain why the places in my work are important to me, as they are often significant to him too.

DS: What’s next for you?
FS: I’ll be continuing my project to walk the coastlines of Orkney, since there’s a lot of coastline left. I’m going to keep making work about it, so perhaps there will be a sequel to Undertow in the coming years. The Covid-19 restrictions have unfortunately disrupted that project (I live in Glasgow and can’t travel to Orkney at the moment), so I’m having to be patient for now. In the meantime, I’ll be showing some work in an exhibition this month with the Móti Collective in Orkney, and I’m currently setting up a studio space in my flat.

DS: Thanks so much Frances, it was great to chat with you and hear more about these projects.

To see more of Frances’ work go to her website www.frances-scott.co.uk

Frances’ A9 ‘zine is available to purchase for just £8 from publisher Another Place Press

Her book Undertow is sold out on Another Place Press but you might be able to find a copy at Streetlevel Photoworks or the Pier Arts Centre Orkney, or other photography book sellers in Scotland.

We Will Remember Them – Wattie Cheung

 

We’re very pleased to be able to bring you the work of Glasgow-Based photographer Wattie Cheung, who has recently been working on a series of portraits of Scottish D-Day veterans. Wattie, who was Scottish Press Photographer of the Year 2018 (amongst other awards), shares with us some of the work and the story behind the project. – Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert

DS- Where did the idea for the project come from?
WC- I’ve been covering many Remembrance Sundays and other jobs in relation to war veterans over the years in my capacity as a press photographer. WW2 has always been a fascinating subject since I was a child and over the last few years after meeting war veterans it had always been at the back of my mind to do something involving these men and women before it was too late. It wasn’t until I got the Graflex 5×4 camera and started doing portraits on it that the idea really got going. Also Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert has been badgering me for the last few years to do some kind of personal project.

What was your thinking behind your approach and style of shooting?
A lot these veterans are in their mid 90s so getting them to do star jumps or anything like that was out of the question , so I decided to make it as simple as possible and have poses that could translate to each subject no matter what their physical condition was. I like to think it makes them look dignified befitting of their service to the country.

You used an old camera, tell us about that and why? How much did you shoot?
I wanted get away from my everyday digital camera and thought that the Graflex 5×4 was an interesting subject that would interest the sitter and make it special for them . It’s also a connection to the era with the camera being made in the 1940’s.  A lot more work is involved as its a very slow way of working from getting the dark slides ready, setting up, taking the picture, processing etc. It’s unlike my day to day work flow when I can turn a job around in ten minutes.

How easy was it to track down the men? How did that happen, did you have a charity or client helping you?
I’ve used my contacts to help get other contacts to do a couple of the portraits and also Poppy Scotland came to the rescue with Fraser Bedwell really getting behind my idea and helping me with the subjects. It ended up with them commissioning me to do a series of portraits to publicise the charity which was helping men to go over to France for the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

How was it photographing the men?
The men were really pleased to be photographed and when I showed them examples they couldn’t have been more helpful. Their families were important as they would help organise the time and place to do the pictures. It seemed a very collaborative thing between myself and them. I also made sure that I didn’t just sweep in and take a pic then sweep out . I made time to sit and chat to them and hear their stories, look at the pictures from when they were younger and basically just bond with them.

 

War veteran William “Bill” Glen 98 from Glasgow
Bill was a corporal in the 10th Battalion of the Highland Light Infantry when he landed on the beaches of Normandy and was injured at Caen.
Copyright © Wattie Cheung

 

They must have incredible stories, what were the highlights?
One veteran, Bill Glen, landed on D-Day +2 , made his way inland dodging fire where after a few days he was with some men and blown up by a German mortar. He says that he was lucky because he was invalided out, never having seen the enemy or firing his rifle. Many of his friends were not so lucky. A couple of them didn’t really want to talk about what they saw but rather talked about their role was in the landings. I think for many the memories are still too painful and after the war everyone just wanted to get on with their lives and that includes the families, so they just didn’t speak about it.

Why decide now to photograph them? Why do you feel it important to do so?
I had been covering the Remembrance Sunday and memorial days and saw that the WW1 veterans had disappeared before my eyes, men I had seen coming back year after year were no long in the line-ups. So with the anniversaries coming up it seemed important to start document the WW2 veterans before they disappear too and with the my getting the Graflex, the timing seemed perfect.

How will the project go forward from here? Any plans to do more portraits or to exhibit them?
I want to keep going and meet and photograph as many veterans as I can before next years VE and VJ anniversaries. I have a couple more portraits lined up including one lady who was in the WRENS. Finding them is the difficult thing, then getting them and working round my day job as a press photographer. I hope to try and get at least 30 portraits before the end of the year. What I will do with them is the next thing. Maybe an exhibition, definitely try use them in the media for next years anniversaries. I also plan to start videoing them for little 10-15 shorts, if I can figure how to do it. If anyone has anybody they feel would suitable and willing to have their portrait taken, then please get in touch.

Main double portrait, top of page:
James Glennie from Aberdeen, born 1925.
He landed on Sword beach on the 06/06/1944, was then shot, wounded and captured not long after and spent remaining days in POW camp Stallag 4b. Joined the Home Guard when he was 15 as a runner until he was old enough to get into the regulars, in his case the Gordon Highlanders, 5th/7th battalion. His unit landed on Sword Beach on the 6th June. After 3 weeks his small unit was defending a crossroads where they blew up an armoured car with a 6 pounder. Not long after that he was shot in the arm twice and taken prisoner. Lost his best friend at that moment. After been operated on by German doctors he was then removed to Stalug 4b and kept their for next 7 months. After many escapades he managed to bet back to Blighty where he was going to be sent to Japan for that invasion.
Jim was a Private in the Gordon Highlanders inheriting 51st Highland Division. After the war he became a welder on the shipyards and offshore.
Copyright © Wattie Cheung

 

 

Former Flight Lieutenant 98yr old RAF veteran Arthur Reid from Leith who flew in Wellington bombers as a wireless op in 192 squadron during the second world war. Copyright © Wattie Cheung

 

John McOwan from Peebles who was born 1922 and landed on the beaches 10/06/1944
He was a Sergeant in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical engineers attached to the 8th Army.
After the war John became a jeweller.
Copyright © Wattie Cheung

 

Ian Ritchie Forsyth from Hamilton , born 23/12/1923. He landed on the beaches 16/08/1944 and was Driver Operator, reconnaissance for armoured division. He was a Sergeant in the 15th/19th The King’s Royal Hussars and became a teacher after the war.
Copyright © Wattie Cheung

 

James Churm from Castle Douglas, born 1924, landed on Sword Beach on 06/06/1944.
He was a medic on the landing craft moving tanks from Newhaven to Sword Beach on D-Day. Travelled overnight from Newhaven on the 5th June, landing on Sword Beach in the morning of 6th June. Off loaded the tanks then returned to Newhaven for another load which they returned with about 2 days later.
James was a medic in the Royal navy and became a physiotherapist after the war including a stint as physio at Blackburn Rovers.
Copyright © Wattie Cheung

 

 

Charles Horne from Prestonpans born in 1926 . He was Stoker in the Royal Navy and was attached the Minesweepers that went ahead of the main force on D Day to clear mines from the paths of the ships.
After the war he returned to fishing trawlers.
Copyright © Wattie Cheung

 

Denis Gregson from Airdrie , born 1925, Denis landed on the beaches on 06/06/1944.
on a (LCM) landing craft. Supplied all material on Gold beach. 6 of a crew and was also attached to a Destroyer called Adventure Had truck on his landing craft. All Landing Crafts got split up going across because pitch dark. Got in touch with Captain of his flotilla who explained what to do. Up to beaches to unload and back to the Adventure. Providing the divers with Air whilst they checked Mulberry Harbour. 3.5 months in France. Left once Mulberry Harbour completed.
Denis was a marine in the Royal Marines and after the war became a Cooper.
Copyright © Wattie Cheung

 

Many thanks Wattie for sharing the work, and good luck with the project continuing.

Wattie’s press work can be seen via his Instagram account.

image © Alishia Farnan 2018 all rights reserved

Social State – Alishia Farnan

Alishia Farnan lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland. She is one of the winners of the Jill Todd Photography Award 2019 and she studied photography at Edinburgh Napier University and Glasgow School of Art. Her body of work Social State explores social spaces and the everyday, specifically working men’s clubs in the west of Scotland.

“Born and raised in the west of Scotland, I grew up in an area that has a history steeped in the steel and coal industries. Generations of families live closely together in neighbourhoods and community spirit is fundamental to the area.

Men from these areas traditionally socialised in buildings based on their current or former profession – working men’s clubs were ‘the’ place to be. Weddings, funerals, christenings, birthdays were/are hosted in these multi purpose buildings.

Over the past twenty years, as traditions have changed, these buildings have become haunts for older generations instead of appealing to the younger crowds – many have fallen into financial hardship and have closed their doors. ‘Social State’ seeks to document these historic buildings before the social landscape changes beyond recognition.”

Sophie recently spoke with Alishia about this body of work.

image © Alishia Farnan 2018 all rights reserved
image © Alishia Farnan 2018 all rights reserved

 

DS: Hi Alishia thank you for speaking to us about your work, can we start with the beginning – how did you start in photography – where did it begin for you and why?

AF: I started working with photography about 2007 when I realised that I wasn’t any good at drawing, or painting and that photography was a good alternative. From there I studied it at school and continued onto Edinburgh Napier University before completing my undergrad degree at Glasgow School of Art in 2015.

image © Alishia Farnan 2018 all rights reserved
image © Alishia Farnan 2018 all rights reserved

 

DS: Your project Social State documents working men’s clubs in the west of Scotland, you’ve said that with this project you’re aiming to document these historic buildings before the social landscape changes beyond recognition – what led you to find and photograph these locations in the first place and why?

AF: These places, and the industries connected to them, have been around me all of my life. Born and raised in the west of Scotland, I grew up in an area that has a history steeped in the steel and coal industries. Generations of families live closely together in neighbourhoods and community spirit is fundamental to the area. My Gran is a historian specialising in mining in Lanarkshire, so I spent my childhood running around bings. I also had many roast dinners in my local ex-servicemen’s club with my maternal grandparents growing up. I went back to that ex-servicemen’s club in 2012 for a wedding reception and I felt a wave of nostalgia and fondness for the building. I had already started documenting interiors in my work and this seemed like a good opportunity for a new body of work.

image © Alishia Farnan 2018 all rights reserved
image © Alishia Farnan 2018 all rights reserved

 

image © Alishia Farnan 2018 all rights reserved
image © Alishia Farnan 2018 all rights reserved

 

DS: Your photographs are devoid of people, what led you to photograph these spaces when they were empty?
 
AF: Due to the declining memberships in a lot of these clubs there are often few people in during the week – I have had clubs tell me it’s a busy day when there were 8 men in having a drink and a game of pool. As a result of this I don’t need to work around a busy crowd or ever ask anyone to leave, I just document the spaces as I find them.
 
I like the idea of the viewer imagining who goes there, I think in the images you can see a portrait of the members: skid marks on the floor, scuffs on the wall, seats that have marks where people have sat for 40 years. In my photography as a whole I don’t include people and I prefer to let the spaces I work in speak for themselves.
 

DS: What’s significant about these places and these people for you? 

They are significant because they are often the lifeblood of an area. Miners’ welfares and social clubs were hubs during the miners strikes, many of the clubs were built by the original members and now they continue to function as spaces fundamental to the community in which they reside. There is a richness to these buildings that is often immediately visible when you step inside, generations of members are proudly displayed on the walls and there’s always at least one person sitting at the bar who can tell you the entire history of the building.

 

DS: If you continued this project to other parts of the country what different stories or similarities do you think you’d find, also as a female accessing these once traditionally male spaces – how do you reflect on the significance of that?
I think these spaces function in similar ways, and with similar histories around the country – there will be differences dependent on industry and local history which is what makes them interesting to me. I think they still are predominantly male spaces however, there are many clubs, especially bowling, that are full of women when I visit. If I’m honest, it’s not something that I tend to dwell on when I’m making the work. Although, I was once speaking to a man in a bowling club about one that I had been to which only offers a half membership to women and he asked ‘who’s their president? Donald Trump?’

 

DS: What does the future hold – both for these places & the people that use them and for you as a photographer? You’ve been a winner in the Jill Todd – congratulations – where are things heading next?
 
AF: Thank you! Being in Jill Todd has been a lovely experience and I’m very thankful to have been included this year. In the long term I’m looking at producing Social State as a book, perhaps a series of books as the project progresses. In the short, I am at the beginning of consolidating a body of images that I have taken over the past few years with the aim to create a short run book. Project wise, Social State will continue until I have documented all the clubs in the west of Scotland and I am also in the planning stages for another project looking at similarly traditional spaces, again in Scotland.

DS: You established Peach Estate – can you give us some information about that too?

AF: I established Peach Estate with my friend and former GSA classmate Jenny Lindholm in 2016, the year after we graduated. We both felt the urge to create a platform for sharing work by photographers that we loved. We see it as a curatorial platform, we like to make selections of the artists’ work to compliment their own archives and also the artists we share around their feature. We have been lucky over the past three years to have grown a following of people who engage with us on a daily basis – it’s a really rewarding project to work on. What’s next? We would love to create a book, and to have a physical exhibition at some point – but for now, it’s solely digital.

Thank you Alishia – you can see more of Alishia’s work on her website here and find Peach Estate here.

image © Alishia Farnan 2018 all rights reserved
image © Alishia Farnan 2018 all rights reserved

 

image © Alishia Farnan 2018 all rights reserved
image © Alishia Farnan 2018 all rights reserved

The Grey City – Blazej Marczak

We’ve been fans of Polish photographer Blazej Marczak’s work for a while now – so we were very pleased to see his project ‘The Grey City’ exhibited as part of the current Street Level Photoworks show ‘Ambit: Photographies from Scotland’ (until 18th June 2017). We’re happy to feature the project here too. After several years in Aberdeen, Blazej has now left Scotland for new adventures in Canada – we can’t wait to see how his new landscape inspires him.

(Title image Harbour, Torry, Aberdeen, Scotland, 31.03.2013, © Blazej Marczak 2013, all rights reserved.)

Bus Stop, Seaton, Aberdeen, Scotland, 07.05.2013, © Blazej Marczak 2013, all rights reserved.

 

‘This is a story of Aberdeen, a personal and subjective impression of this northern city. Bounded by two river mouths, the North Sea and vast green stretches of land, it is often described as the Granite City, though others say it is silver. It is also the energy capital of Europe. The label I feel is the most accurate is the ‘Grey City’. A ubiquitous landscape has been created by the silver granite and a matching sky: this evokes an atmosphere of gloom. I cannot see the glamour as described by others; what I am attracted to are the things that are seemingly commonplace, things which many may see as unimportant and mundane. The silver remains but is becoming stained, a patina encroaching. I am a outsider and I see it as an outsider will, free from nostalgia, raw. Although being a body of work created in and about Aberdeen The Grey City should be treated as open-ended visual poem consisting of archetypes and metaphors not restricted to one literal interpretation.’   – Blazej Marczak

 

Yes Man Jason, Seamount Court, Aberdeen, Scotland, 09.09.2014, © Blazej Marczak 2014, all rights reserved.

 

18.09.2014, Tillydrone, Aberdeen, Scotland, 18.09.2014, © Blazej Marczak 2014, all rights reserved.

 

Modernist Pastoral, Donmouth, Aberdeen, Scotland, 20.04.13, © Blazej Marczak 2013, all rights reserved.

 

House with a lawn, Seaton, Aberdeen, Scotland, 09.01.2015, © Blazej Marczak 2015, all rights reserved.

 

Grand and Neil, Grounds of The Kirk of St Nicholas, Aberdeen, Scotland, 09.06.2014, © Blazej Marczak 2014, all rights reserved.

 

Rear side of the billboards, Great Northern Road, Aberdeen, 14.03.2015, © Blazej Marczak 2015, all rights reserved.

 

Postman, Hillhead, Aberdeen, 18.09.2014, © Blazej Marczak 2014, all rights reserved.

 

By the bonfire, Donmouth, Aberdeen, Scotland, 20.04.13 © Blazej Marczak 2013, all rights reserved.

 

Blazej’s website is here, and on Twitter @MarczakB.

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