Salaam – Ili Mansor

سلام

Salaam is a short form for ‘As-salamu alaykum’ which means may peace be upon you, a universal greeting Muslims greet each other with. Salaam (peace) is the main concept of this body of work.

Islamophobia is a continuous problem in the world. There is a stereotype of how a Muslim should look like. Some examples will be donning the hijab or being brown-skinned. This body of work is to challenge the stereotype showcasing a series of portraiture to show the diversity of Islam in the UK

Beliefs and appearances should not be presumed.

Ili Mansor created this work whilst a student at Edinburgh Napier University in 2019.

Thomas Feige, from the series Salaam image © Ili Mansoor 2019 all rights reserved.
Thomas Feige, Edinburgh, from the series Salaam image © Ili Mansoor 2019 all rights reserved.
Fatima Rafiq, from the series Salaam image © Ili Mansoor 2019 all rights reserved.
Fatima Rafiq, Edinburgh, from the series Salaam image © Ili Mansoor 2019 all rights reserved.

DS: Hi Ili, can you tell us a little about how you came to make this work  – it was made while you were a student, what made you choose the subject. 

IM: My project is about the beauty of Islam in portraits. I really wanted to show the diversity in this religion that often society are not aware of. It started with me feeling really uncomfortable about the term ‘Islamophobia’. Every single time a person look at Islam they always talk about the hijab and a brown-skinned looking person. There is always a certain picture that comes to a person’s mind on how a Muslim should look like. Often, society relates Islam to terrorism. Honestly, as a person who practices and beliefs in Islam, I feel sad and I can’t seem to put my feelings into words. 

I’ve experienced first-hand on how people were in shock when they found out that I was a Muslim. Then questions starts rolling in, “is it true, we can’t touch the head of someone wearing the hijab?”, “are you really a Muslim?! you don’t even have the hijab on, you don’t look like one either”, “your name doesn’t sound like one” and so on.

I have friends who have experienced harassment because they put on the hijab. There was that incident when there was a letter given to some organisations in the UK titled ‘Punish a Muslim day’ on April 3rd, 2018. A friend of mine was so scared she took her hijab off and went to class. She felt so ashamed but for her safety, she had to, she told me. I felt sad because to me hijab is part of an individual.

Hence, I was motivated to address this subject because it is so personal to me and I really want to play my part to talk about it visually.

Haddy Jeng, from the series Salaam image © Ili Mansoor 2019 all rights reserved.
Haddy Jeng, Edinburgh, from the series Salaam image © Ili Mansoor 2019 all rights reserved.
Ali Babiker, from the series Salaam image © Ili Mansoor 2019 all rights reserved.
Ali Babiker, Edinburgh, from the series Salaam image © Ili Mansoor 2019 all rights reserved.

DS: The portraits are captivating in their simplicity, why did you choose this style of photography to communicate this subject. 

IM: Honestly, I got the inspiration from Thomas Ruff’s portrait series. If only I get to see it in person. I am amazed at the installation photographs online. When my lecturer, Alexander Supartono discussed about Thomas Ruff’s portraits in class, I can’t help but remembered what he mentioned, “officials trust your passport photo more than you in person”.

Many asked, why I made my subjects wear white against a white cloth as backdrop. Muslims have a common greeting when we meet each other, ‘Salaam’. That’s also the reason why I chose this title. The title ‘Salaam’ means peace and white is the colour of peace.

White eliminates everything else and get the audience to focus on the facial features of my subject. The gaze of each portraits is very important and lastly I really want my audience to know that in Islam, rich and poor should all be treated equally, They are all the same, there isn’t a bigger person. Hence, wearing white helps my audience bring their focus to the faces of the portraits. It’s really beautiful and that’s a part of the teachings in Islam that I would like to share through my portraits in the series, ‘Salaam’.

During the exhibition I presented my photos on a matte paper and printed them in A1. I enjoy looking at big photographs, it feels like I am communicating with the artwork. It grabs attention and gets the message across too. Simplicity is key, helps all age groups to understand easily.

Alexander Krabbendam, Edinburgh, from the series Salaam image © Ili Mansoor 2019 all rights reserved.
Alexander Krabbendam, Edinburgh, from the series Salaam image © Ili Mansoor 2019 all rights reserved.

DS: Who are these people – ages, backgrounds etc, how did you find them, how did you get people involved, why did they want to take part in the project?

IM: I photographed a total of 42 Muslims in Edinburgh from young to old, all came from different backgrounds and were residing in United Kingdom at that moment. I used social media as a platform to share (e.g. Instagram and Facebook), approached societies from different Universities in Edinburgh to join their meetings so I am able to introduce my project,  and lastly talked to organisations such as Saheliya and The Welcoming to ask if anyone were interested.

I was touched because the people who I photographed supported the same views and wants to play their part in showing the world the diversity of Islam. I took about 30mins to an hour to photograph each portrait. During that time, I hear the individual stories and it is a mix of both beautiful and sad. All the people I photographed really wants the society to know that beliefs and appearance should not be presumed.

They supported my idea because just like me, they experience it first-hand too and have a story to share.

Salma Ahmed, from the series Salaam image © Ili Mansoor 2019 all rights reserved.
Salma Ahmed, Edinburgh, from the series Salaam image © Ili Mansoor 2019 all rights reserved.

DS: What are you working on now?

IM: I just got a job as a Visual Journalist in Singapore with a local online news platform. It was a dream of mine to be able to work as a Photojournalist – why visual? Cause the work focus on doing photos and videos. This helps me practice on my skillset and really understand what it is like working in a newsroom. A really fast-paced job and you’ve got to be prepared for any types of situations… also, I always have to dress comfortably because there’s a lot of walking, exploring and sweating. As a visual journalist (for only a few months now), I always remind myself that it is important to adapt in any condition!

At the same time, I look forward to work on my project ‘Salaam’ again and this time,  I aim to photograph more people. My goal is for my audience to see the message behind my portraits, “society should see colours in Islam and not just looking at a group or community that looks similar.”

Kamal Tampi, from the series Salaam image © Ili Mansoor 2019 all rights reserved.
Kamal Tampi, Edinburgh, from the series Salaam image © Ili Mansoor 2019 all rights reserved.

Thanks Ili, your work raises important questions about identity, diversity and prejudice, both in Scotland and the wider world, thank you for sharing it with us, SG.

Keep up to date with Ili’s work on Instagram at @ilinadhirah and see her website at www.ilinmansor.com

Be, still – Mairead Keating

In 2015, while studying photography at Edinburgh College of Art, Mairead Keating spent time at an Edinburgh youth club making portraits of the children she met there.

“This body of work is based on notions surrounding childhood and growing up.

The children welcomed me into their lives and presented themselves to me in that way in which they wish to be seen by the world. The children reveal a sense of fragility, but strength and knowledge. Every child is an individual; independent with thoughts of their own. With children, there is huge potential. When making each picture, I found myself wondering what each child will be like in ten years time. What will they grow up to be? What will they look like, where will they be?”

Tiara, Edinburgh, 2015, from the Series Be, Still © Mairead Keating all rights reserved. Tiara, Edinburgh, 2015, from the Series Be, still © Mairead Keating all rights reserved.

NHS 88 – Iain Stewart

‘NHS 88’
by Iain Stewart.

As I write, on a Thursday evening, I’m watching the clock, mindful to stop at 8pm and go to the front door with my family and most of my street to Clap For Our Carers, marking our gratitude and respect for our National Health Service, keeping us all alive and well in this time of pandemic. The weekly clapping ritual started spontaneously in other parts of Europe but quickly caught on here as an organised thank you and a morale boost – working both ways. The concept widened from applause for doctors, nurses and health workers to showing respect all those key workers who put their own lives at risk – teachers, shop staff, postal and delivery workers, public transport drivers and … the list goes on. A wave of awareness and gratitude has spread for those in tough jobs whose contributions we simply take for granted every day – or maybe we did, in more normal times.

So it is in this context that I’m delighted to be asked to share a series of NHS related photos made back in the late 1980s. These pictures are part of a larger body of work I undertook as a third year student at Edinburgh College of Art, back in 1988. The work examined the roles of auxiliary workers in the NHS in Scotland, particularly the laundry and kitchen staff at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh. This is now, as it was then, particularly grueling and low paid work but is essential to keep the bigger machine of our NHS in motion.

‘NHS 88’, © Iain Stewart 2020

‘NHS 88’, © Iain Stewart 2020

The Western General series followed on from my second year project, PICTURE OF HEALTH which had examined the workings of the NHS in my hometown, Barnsley, focusing in on the relationships my parents (both General Practitioners) had with their patients. The pictures had been well received; my tutor, Murray Johnston, had even helped me frame the work and then arranged an exhibition in the college. So where I went next with my photography felt like quite an important step.

Initially I had quite big ideas about the big project for my third year, about class division, looking at the extremes of low paid work versus Edinburgh’s New Town banking elite. The late 80s was a time of choosing sides; by this point we’d had almost a decade of the Thatcher government; the Miners Strike; the anti-Apartheid Movement. Boycott Barclays! Don’t Pay The Poll Tax! Organise, Occupy, Kick The Tories Out! Students were heavily politicised. We would occupy the Art College on a fairly regular basis; pulling all-nighters to make leaflets and banners for street protests and marches. Some of this activism was bound to percolate through into our artwork.

Add in a new visiting lecturer to the Photography Department, a feisty, young photojournalist called Murdo MacLeod. Murdo wasn’t much older than us students; he had not long graduated from Napier and had energy, ideals, he didn’t dodge arguments or confrontations. I reckon he’d probably given his tutors quite a time of it at Napier. He brought quite a change of pace at ECA and I loved it. There would be loud debates and excitement on the days Murdo was in. Around this time I was discovering work by photojournalists like Don McCullin; pouring over books in the college library; the social reform photography of Lewis Hine; Humphrey Spender’s Mass Observation work; The Farm Security Administration (Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans) and Picture Post (Bert Hardy, Grace Robertson). Taking apart Bill Brandt’s pictures of the miners, being suspicious of new British colour photography from Paul Graham and Martin Parr. Like politics, at this time you chose a side; black and white or colour. I was twenty years old; life was in many senses black and white, right or wrong. Black and white for the purists!

‘NHS 88’, © Iain Stewart 2020

‘NHS 88’, © Iain Stewart 2020

‘NHS 88’, © Iain Stewart 2020

The first step had been to write letters and make phone calls, trying to follow up contacts or make new ones. One of the early positive responses that I got was from the STUC in Edinburgh, replying to my request to photograph auxiliary staff in Lothian hospitals. Could I come in and talk to one the Union leaders? Armed with my NHS portfolio and research notes, I went in to meet him, and thankfully something about my intentions or faltering account I gave of myself must have rung true; for whatever reason I was given the green light. I could go and observe and photograph in the laundry and the kitchens at the Western General Hospital, as long as I kept out of the way.

‘NHS 88’, © Iain Stewart 2020

‘NHS 88’, © Iain Stewart 2020

These photos are the result. I made repeat visits, one morning a week. Initially I struggled over this series, and at the time couldn’t really understand why. Time constraints had forced me to drop the other half of my project (the banker pictures) so I gave the Western General my full attention, and it needed it. The working environment was overwhelming – huge, noisy, hot and relentless. I sensed I wasn’t always a welcome presence – the folk in there had a rhythm and a pace that really didn’t warrant stopping for a camera. Not that I wanted posed shots, but as I scanned my initial contact sheets I felt a disconnect. My earlier doctor/patient pictures had, by comparison, come easily. There was an existing relationship to latch onto, and if you tackled it correctly, discreetly, sensitively, it was a rich, rewarding subject to photograph. Here I was starting from scratch, trying to make sense of the hard graft, the noise, the mountains of laundry or the speed and bustle in the kitchens, and the pictures I was making felt a bit lost. Forming relationships with any of my subjects was a struggle too. Fair enough, really, folk were just far too busy to slow down or chat with a skinny student, however earnest.

When the pictures eventually did come good they felt quite hard won. At first they didn’t speak about relationships between the people there but instead caught them isolated in mountains of work – literally at times – or completely absorbed in monotonous, repetitive tasks and heavy or hazardous equipment. The second part to the project, and the point at which I finally knew it was beginning to go somewhere, took me away from the factory floor – observing and magnifying quiet moments during down time. Tea breaks, catching breath in the locker room, brief respite away from the noise. Slowly some of the staff opened up and gave me a minute to make a portrait.

‘NHS 88’, © Iain Stewart 2020

‘NHS 88’, © Iain Stewart 2020

I should add that, in my newfound enthusiasm for the medium, I had decided to try out working on 120 format for the first time, so for the second half of the project I was clunking in on the bus with a huge carry case containing a Mamiya c330, assorted lenses, light meters and accoutrements, a heavyweight tripod, and often my own small 35mm kit too. A huge learning curve – a new format, and a brief window of opportunity from a sitter who had kindly stopped work or given up a precious minute of their tea-break, so I learned to work under (self-imposed) pressure. No quarter given for fumbling with rolls of film, delay and they just moved on with work. Some of my favourite medium format shots are not portraits per se but working shots – the exhausted canteen staff, the laundry worker with far away thoughts, and this pre-35mm, almost counter-intuitive photojournalist style reoccurred later in my work. TENDER, the NHS piece I was commissioned to do for National Galleries of Scotland ten years later mined this approach too, returning to the doctor/patient relationship.

‘NHS 88’ ©Iain Stewart 2020.

‘NHS 88’, © Iain Stewart 2020

The Western General pictures were not easy pictures to make, I set myself a lot of challenges but in the process learned a huge amount about myself, about photography and photographic working practices. Looking back now, as I’ve been asked to do, I find a direct connection with our current situation; Clapping for Carers, noticing and acknowledging that there’s a swathe of hidden work going on, marking it publicly. Our collective conscience needed jolted to see that all this is being done for the common good and often with little reward. We should be mindful, and voice our thanks to our NHS and those who keep it going.

‘NHS 88’, © Iain Stewart 2020

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Cameron Downing, 2017 © Image copyright Craig Waddell 2017 all rights reserved

Masc – Craig Waddell

‘Masc’ – by Craig Waddell is a series of queer portraits that challenge the outdated idea of conventional masculinity. Document Scotland first saw Craig’s work at The Edinburgh College of Art degree show in 2017, we wanted to know more and so Sophie chatted with Craig recently about his motivation behind making the work and what the portraits mean to him. We’re grateful to Craig for taking the time to discus the project with us which is exhibited at the RSA New Contemporaries 2018, opening this week.

(Title image: Cameron Downing, 2017 © Image copyright Craig Waddell 2017 all rights reserved)

DS: Hi Craig, thanks for taking the time to do this interview – what is Masc about, can you introduce the project?

CW: Masc is about contemporary masculinity in the queer community, and the different ways we can see it interpreted and realised in the individual. Personally, I’ve always been interested in the dynamics of masculinity – from my experiences in the gay community especially, I often felt there was a rejection of more feminine identities in favour of the masculine. Gender non-conforming behaviour and presentation is often celebrated as an act of performance or as an entertaining gimmick, but for many of us, it’s our lived reality and something that should be respected and acknowledged.

DS: It’s an interesting view point, in your opinion why do you think masculinity is an important subject to be talking about currently?

CW: In recent history we’ve really seen these issues come to the forefront of societal conscious, and I felt it was a very exciting and important time to document some of the incredible individuals that make up our community.

DS: You’ve mentioned your personal experiences and how they have motivated you and this project, is it an autobiographical body of work?

CW: Masc as a whole was borne out of my personal experience reconciling my non normative identity, so I would say there is a definite autobiographical quality. So much of my personal discovery was fuelled by my interactions with my contemporaries, so I sought to explore and record that.

 

Jacob Hoffman, 2017 © Image copyright Craig Waddell 2017 all rights reserved
Jacob Hoffman, 2017 © Image copyright Craig Waddell 2017 all rights reserved

 

James Faulkner, 2016 © Image copyright Craig Waddell 2017
James Faulkner, 2016 © Image copyright Craig Waddell 2017

 

Nicklas Brown 2018 © Image copyright Craig Waddell 2017
Nicklas Brown 2018 © Image copyright Craig Waddell 2018

 

DS: There’s a sensitivity to the portraits, each is naturally lit, fairly formal, in calm personal surroundings with some very giving expressions…. tell us a little about the subjects, who are they and who are they to you?

CW: I wanted to create a series of photographs that really celebrated diversity, and put the dignity and character of my sitters first. I chose to use the formal portrait as my medium to form a disruption of gender norms and societal expectation, which classical formal portraiture often reinforces.

The end result is inexplicably bound to the process of medium format analogue photography, that carried the drama, depth and subtlety I felt the subject mattered deserved and needed.

The only qualifying criteria for my sitters was that they identified with my concept, which resulted in a wide range of identities presented, definitely not limited to the outdated notion of the biological male. They range from close friends within the community in Edinburgh, to those I was connected with through social media and then photographed. Although the style of shooting is deliberately formal, the sessions were always inter-dispersed with incredible conversation. That was one of the best parts of undertaking this project – I really got the opportunity to learn about who they are and what they are about, as well as connecting further with close friends, which then informed the end result, and I feel gave that personal connection that comes across in the portraits.

DS: It’s interesting you say that, I personally feel that’s one of the greatest privileges about making portraits, that time and space to connect and share stories – people can share the most extraordinary things… Are there any stories you’d care to share with us – from those conversations?

CW: In terms of particular photo sessions, I’d have to say one of the most special ones was with Cameron Downing, who was 17 at the time and studying makeup artistry at college. Having never met in person – we were connected via a Facebook callout I did for sitters for the project – I shot the portrait in his bedroom at his parents house, and we spoke about what it was like to be that age and not really have access to a major support network for young queer people, which is the club scene.

Another great moment in the project was being able to photograph James Faulkner, who I think is such an important member of the community. I see James as one of the founding members of the queer community in Edinburgh as it stands today – as one of the original drag performers in the city, he’s nurtured and supported a wide variety of performers and other queer people, and is a member of the Dive performance collective. My portrait was by no means the first (and I assume definitely not the last) time he’s served as a subject and muse for artists, and we were surrounded by various prints of different works he’s been a part of, as well as his incredible collection of antiques and curiosities, many bequeathed to him from his grandmother. It was just really lovely to get to know James better, and hear about his rich, and sometimes difficult life story, and we spoke about how the queer community was evolving in Edinburgh. It was one of the first portraits that I took for the series, and it was a real defining moment for how the project would continue.

I’ve always tried to keep a diversity of viewpoints in the project, so being able to include Katharine, a dear friend of mine and a queer woman, and Zachary, a trans man and one of the loveliest people on the Edinburgh queer scene, was incredibly important to me. They also turned out as some of my favourite new photos of the series.

 

Samuel Froggatt, 2017 © Image copyright Craig Waddell 2017
Samuel Froggatt, 2017 © Image copyright Craig Waddell 2017

 

Katharine Doyle 2018 © Image copyright Craig Waddell 2018
Katharine Doyle 2018 © Image copyright Craig Waddell 2018

 

DS: Are the portraits all made in Edinburgh? How have your experiences affected your opinion on the LGBTQ community in this city?

CW: Most of the portraits are shot in Edinburgh, with a few featuring people based in Glasgow. I think the LGBTQ community in Edinburgh definitely has it’s shining moments, and some of the people in the series reflect that, from inspiring creatives and performers to some of the new generation of queer people in Scotland. In general though, I do think Edinburgh is a smaller scene than other cities such as Glasgow and Manchester, and maybe sometimes we have less opportunity and resources. However, I have a lot to thank Edinburgh for – it has had a really profoundly positive effect on my personal development, and enabled me to be ever more confident and comfortable in my identity, no doubt due to the welcoming and accessible nature of the community here.

 

Ratty Davies 2018 © Image copyright Craig Waddell 2018
Ratty Davies 2018 © Image copyright Craig Waddell 2018

 

Zachary Emerson 2018 © Image copyright Craig Waddell 2018
Zachary Emerson 2018 © Image copyright Craig Waddell 2018

 

DS: It’s mature work for an undergraduate final project. How have you found making the transition from BA to professional photographer?

CW: The project was originally created for my final year degree show submission, and has formed the main basis of my practice post degree. It marked a real turning point in my practice – although I think I’d created some really wonderful portraits prior to this project, this was the first that felt fully cohesive and realised as a body of work, and very important to me as it interrogated a lot of issues very close to my heart.

I have a lot to thank this body of work for – it landed me my first big paid portraiture commission, on the Faces of a Vibrant Economy project for Grant Thornton and Getty Images, and I’ve also been fortunate to exhibit it in a few shows since my graduation, including at the Edinburgh Art Fair and as one of the finalists of the Scottish Portrait Awards 2017. Masc in it’s most recent iteration is being featured in the RSA’s New Contemporaries for 2018 – something I’m incredibly proud of and excited to be a part of.

I still definitely feel that I’m still finding my feet in the professional world of photography, and I’m very excited and optimistic about what is coming next in my practice.

DS: Is this a continuing project?

CW: After continuing the project until recently, I’m thinking of taking a break from it and exploring some new avenues. However, I feel it has become a real centre-point of my photographic practice, and something I’ll always be returning to and working on.

I’m currently doing a bit of thinking and research about future projects – something I’m particularly interested in currently is the increasing phenomenon of younger people embracing their queerness, and being able to define themselves far younger than I was ever confident enough to. I imagine this is linked to more progressive attitudes in society, and something I think is incredibly exciting and something I’d love to explore.

Later this year, I’m going to be working on a new series of portraits of performers during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, exploring the concept of the persona of the performer, which I’m also very excited about. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some incredible people in the performance community in previous years of the Festival, and I’ve made it a priority this year to produce a series of portraits that attempts to capture that vibrancy.

DS: Thank you so much for talking to us Craig – we wish you all the best with your future plans and the continued success of your work.

See more of Craig’s work on his website www.craigwaddell.com ‘Masc’ will be shown at The Royal Scottish Academy New Contemporaries 2018 from 24th March – 18th April 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

The Scottish Independence Referendum

 

Highs, lows, an historical and unforgettable week for Scotland.

Here are some of the images shot by Colin McPherson, Sophie Gerrard, Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert and Stephen McLaren in the lead up to and over the 18th September 2014. The world was watching, and so were we…

 

 

Colin McPherson

(above: Alex Salmond and a supporter take a ‘selfie’, Perth, Scotland image © Colin McPherson 2014, all rights reserved.)

© Colin McPherson 2014 all rights reserved.
A pro-independence gathering in George Square, Glasgow © Colin McPherson 2014 all rights reserved.

 

© Colin McPherson 2014 all rights reserved.
The audience cheer as former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown MP delivers a speech to supporters at a Better Together rally at Community Central Hall, Glasgow © Colin McPherson 2014 all rights reserved.

 

© Colin McPherson 2014 all rights reserved.
A musician with flaming bagpipes leads a spontaneous march to mobilise support for a pro-independence vote on the day of the independence referendum, Craigmillar, Edinburgh © Colin McPherson 2014 all rights reserved.

 

© Colin McPherson 2014 all rights reserved.
Members of the Protestant Orange Order march through Edinburgh © Colin McPherson 2014 all rights reserved.

 

© Colin McPherson 2014 all rights reserved.
Scottish socialist campaigner and former parliamentarian Tommy Sheridan speaking at Shottstown Miners Welfare club in Penicuik, Midlothian © Colin McPherson 2014 all rights reserved.

 

© Colin McPherson 2014 all rights reserved.
A pro-independence supporter breaks down in tears outside the Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh as the results of the referendum on Scottish independence are announced. © Colin McPherson 2014 all rights reserved.

 

 

Sophie Gerrard

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The media village outside the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, Edinburgh, on a misty 18th September 2014, the day of the independence referendum. © Sophie Gerrard 2014 all rights reserved.

 

Union Flag and St Andrews Cross fly from a front garden in Argyll, Scotland. © Sophie gerrard 2014 all rights reserved.
The Union Flag and St Andrews Cross fly from a garden in Argyll, Scotland. © Sophie Gerrard 2014 all rights reserved.

 

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The Craxton Family at their local polling station, Edinburgh, 18th September 2014 © Sophie Gerrard 2014 all rights reserved.

 

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Erik Kruse at his local polling station, Edinburgh, 18th September 2014 © Sophie Gerrard 2014 all rights reserved.

 

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A family at their local polling station, Edinburgh, 18th September 2014 © Sophie Gerrard 2014 all rights reserved.

 

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Bruce, Edinburgh, September 2014 © Sophie Gerrard 2014 all rights reserved.

 

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Overseas media report on the results of the independence referendum from outside the Scottish Parliament, Holyrood, Edinburgh, 19th September 2014. © Sophie Gerrard 2014 all rights reserved

 

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Being interviewed outside the Scottish Parliament, Holyrood, Edinburgh, 19th September 2014. © Sophie Gerrard 2014 all rights reserved

 

 

Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert

© Jeremy Sutton Hibbert 2014 all rights reserved.
Pro-Union No voters argue in the street with pro-Independence Yes voters, in the run up to the referendum in Glasgow, Scotland. © Jeremy Sutton Hibbert 2014 all rights reserved.

 

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Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland, talking to youths while out campaigning for a Yes vote in the Scottish independence referendum, East End of Glasgow, Scotland © Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert 2014 all rights reserved.

 

© Jeremy Sutton Hibbert 2014 all rights reserved.
A heated exchange of opinions takes place between pro-Scottish independence supporters and a pro-Union supporter in the run-up to the referendum on Scottish independence in Glasgow, Scotland © Jeremy Sutton Hibbert 2014 all rights reserved.

 

© Jeremy Sutton Hibbert 2014 all rights reserved.
A pro-Union Better Together campaign sticker reading ‘No Thanks’ is affixed to a window alongside a Union Jack flag, Glasgow, Scotland © Jeremy Sutton Hibbert 2014 all rights reserved.

 

© Jeremy Sutton Hibbert 2014 all rights reserved.
Pro-Independence Yes supporters in George Square the day before the Scottish independence referendum, Glasgow, Scotland © Jeremy Sutton Hibbert 2014 all rights reserved.

 

© Jeremy Sutton Hibbert 2014 all rights reserved.
Gordon Brown speaks at a pro-Union event, the day before the Scottish Independence referendum, Glasgow, Scotland © Jeremy Sutton Hibbert 2014 all rights reserved.

 

© Jeremy Sutton Hibbert 2014 all rights reserved.
Jim Murphy MP, former Secretary of State for Scotland, arrives carrying his soapboxes as he continued his ‘100 towns in 100 days’ tour outside the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, Scotland © Jeremy Sutton Hibbert 2014 all rights reserved © Jeremy Sutton Hibbert 2014 all rights reserved.

 

 

Stephen McLaren

© Stephen McLaren 2014, all rights reserved.
Bruce Turnbull, of Leith, Edinburgh, salutes after he has cast his vote in the Independence Referendum on 18th September 2014 © Stephen McLaren 2014, all rights reserved.

 

© Stephen McLaren 2014, all rights reserved.
Men walk on a foggy Calton Hill, a famous Edinburgh landmark, as the polling boots open for the Scottish independence referendum on 18th of September 2014 © Stephen McLaren 2014, all rights reserved.

 

© Stephen McLaren 2014, all rights reserved.
A young girl standing in front of TV crews as they interview Alex Salmond, in Glasgow during the independence referendum © Stephen McLaren 2014, all rights reserved.

 

© Stephen McLaren 2014, all rights reserved.
A supporter of the No to Scottish Independence campaign, at a polling place in central Edinburgh © Stephen McLaren 2014, all rights reserved.

 

© Stephen McLaren 2014, all rights reserved.
Nicola Sturgeon being interviewed in Glasgow for radio during the independence referendum campaign © Stephen McLaren 2014, all rights reserved.

 

© Stephen McLaren 2014, all rights reserved.
George Square, Glasgow on the night of the independence referendum © Stephen McLaren 2014, all rights reserved.

 

 

This is only a small selection of the work shot by Document Scotland’s 4 photographers on the days surrounding the 18th September 2014. You can see more on each of on our websites and by following these links …

Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert on Getty Images

Colin McPherson on Corbis Images

Sophie Gerrard for The Financial Times

Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert in TIME

Colin McPherson in The Independent on Sunday

Sophie Gerrard in The Telegraph

Stephen McLaren and Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert for Der Spiegel

Colin McPherson in TIME

Sophie Gerrard on Instagram for The Photographers’ Gallery

Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert in The Guardian, here, here, and here

Colin McPherson in The Guardian here , here and here

Sophie Gerrard for Le Monde

Colin McPherson for Le Monde

Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert and Colin McPherson in Armen Magazine

Colin McPherson in The New Yorker

Photographs were also published in The Daily Record, L’express, Internazionale & Nation

Document Scotland in the British Journal of Photography and again here

Document Scotland on Photomonitor and again here

Document Scotland in The BBC

Regeneration

Over here at Document Scotland we enjoy the work of Iain Sarjeant, who is based up north, a tad north of Inverness. But Iain’s location doesn’t stop him from wandering the streets of Scotland capturing his quietly observed moments. We’ve previously run some of Iain’s work from his ‘Out of the Ordinary’ project, but here we showcase some of his newer work from Leith, Edinburgh, which has recently been released as a small book in a limited edition of 150. – Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert

 

Regeneration, by Iain Sarjeant.

'Regeneration', ©Iain Sarjeant 2014, all rights reserved.
‘Regeneration’, ©Iain Sarjeant 2014, all rights reserved.

 

'Regeneration', © Iain Sarjeant 2014, all rights reserved.
‘Regeneration’, © Iain Sarjeant 2014, all rights reserved.

 

“Leith is the port and waterfront of the city of Edinburgh, and like many similar areas in other cities it has undergone major redevelopment in recent years. The landscape has a strong industrial and historical feel, but dramatic regeneration has seen office blocks, shopping complexes and luxury flats radically change the skyline. For me, this contrast makes it a fascinating place to wander and observe – a landscape of constant change, with diverse architectural styles and building types alongside open areas of land in transition.

This series of photographs, taken between 2010 and 2013, aims to explore the effects of these rapid changes on the landscape of Leith.

It wasn’t a body of work that was pre-conceived. I initially visited Leith as part of my Out of the Ordinary project, quite early on. I spent a morning there just wandering and was really taken by the diversity of interest. It struck me that there was a slightly different story, or subject, to capture here – a landscape in constant transition with industrial, historical, residential and commercial all sitting side-by-side. Here was a traditional, industrial location re-defining itself as a modern, dynamic, vibrant place. For me, this created fascinating visual interest so I decided to work on a separate project to explore Leith in a bit more detail.

I visited frequently between 2010 and 2013, and found many changes each time – quite a few of the scenes in the book no longer exist, and I like this historical element to the project also.” – Iain Sarjeant.

 

'Regeneration', © Iain Sarjeant 2014, all rights reserved.
‘Regeneration’, © Iain Sarjeant 2014, all rights reserved.

 

'Regeneration', © Iain Sarjeant 2014, all rights reserved.
‘Regeneration’, © Iain Sarjeant 2014, all rights reserved.

 

'Regeneration', © Iain Sarjeant 2014, all rights reserved.
‘Regeneration’, © Iain Sarjeant 2014, all rights reserved.

 

'Regeneration', © Iain Sarjeant 2014, all rights reserved.
‘Regeneration’, © Iain Sarjeant 2014, all rights reserved.

 

'Regeneration', © Iain Sarjeant 2014, all rights reserved.
‘Regeneration’, © Iain Sarjeant 2014, all rights reserved.

 

'Regeneration', © Iain Sarjeant 2014, all rights reserved.
‘Regeneration’, © Iain Sarjeant 2014, all rights reserved.

 

'Regeneration', © Iain Sarjeant 2014, all rights reserved.
‘Regeneration’, © Iain Sarjeant 2014, all rights reserved.

 

To view more photography work by Iain Sarjeant please visit his website.

Iain Sarjeant’s book of the above work, ‘Regeneration’ is available to buy via Brown Owl Press, priced £8.00.

The Southsiders – Peter Dibdin

Document Scotland were handed a newspaper a while ago of a project by photographer Peter Didbin, called The Southsiders. It’s always really interesting to come across a project which is shot in a place very familiar to you. Document Scotland’s Sophie was born and raised in the Southside of Edinburgh, she went along to meet Peter at his studio in Summerhall to chat with him about the project.

Ellen Rilley, Florence Reynolds & Janet Frost, The Candle Lighters.
© Peter Dibdin 2013, all rights reserved.

 

DS – How did the project come about?

PD – It was a commission. I’d been working with The Causey Development Trust, and they approached me to collaborate on this project. They really wanted to
create a portrait exhibition which looked at the regeneration of The Causey.

I saw it as a personal project, something I really wanted to engage with and work on, I’d been working on pictures of local traders – a series of portraits of Marchmont Traders, so it felt like a natural progression.

We worked together, we got a project manager, Shona Thompson and had a huge help from Lucy Brown who did the main fundraising. We decided not to start the shooting until the funding was in place and then I started making the photographs from May – August 2013.  I was really lucky also to work with Joe (George Joseph Miller IV) who not only made the documentary about the project but also did all the audio and also Janine Sack who did all the design work.

 

George Pitcher, Community Activist
© Peter Dibdin 2013, all rights reserved

 

Robert McDowell, Patron, Summerhall
© Peter Dibdin 2013, all rights reserved.

 

DS – How did you decide who to include in the project

PD – For me as a photographer, it was important that I had total control over the choice of who I included in the project. I didn’t want any direction with that which the CDT were very good about it. The nature of who ended up in the pictures was partly serendipitous and partly planned. Some people recommended and suggested other people, then so on and so on, but some I came to entirely independently.

What I didn’t want it to be was a reflection of my personal group of friends – you know – not just people I knew or was linked to. It had to be about my perception of the Southside, a representation of how I saw the area as a whole.

I chose the elements I wanted to include, for instance I wanted to represent a range of ages, religions and political views. I created this big diagram and worked on it throughout the brainstorming process. This was important for me to be able to establish a kind of visual understanding of what it would become. It gave me a link between everyone, and a kind of narrative. The research part of the project was extensive.

Location was important to me too. I would say to my subjects that it was up to them where they were photographed. The only thing I wanted in terms of consistency was their gaze, I asked that they all hold the gaze of the lens, so in that respect I did control some elements but not all.

 

Kevin Gill, City of Edinburgh Council Gravedigger
© Peter Dibdin 2013, all rights reserved

 

Patty McGonigal, Artist and Cleaner, Royal Commonwealth Pool
© Peter Dibdin 2013, all rights reserved.

 

DS – Is that idea of collaborating, and working together with your subject important to you when you make portraits?

PD – Yes, During the process of the project, there was a constant dialogue between all of us, and alongside my collaborator Jo, about the concept of a portrait. The nature of what portraiture was.

Something which was interesting was that at talk about Valentina Bonizzi’s Exhibition at the Portrait Gallery, well known Scottish photographer Robin Gillanders was in conversation with Valentina. He made a comment along the lines of “the photographer is in absolute control” and for me – that’s something I had to disagree with. I think that the sitter is not that passive.

For me certainly, making a portrait is not only about the control the photographer has over the situation, it’s as much to do with the subject. I see it as a collaboration.  Ultimately I think making portraits is about both of you. The photographer and the subject. So I think yes, there is an element of me in these pictures.

 

Caroline Barr, Disabled Rights Activist
© Peter Dibdin 2013, all rights reserved.

 

DS – The way you chose to exhibit this work was unusual, and site specific – can you tell us a little about that?

PD – It was really good to get away from the white cube of the Gallery as the exhibition had to happen at a point where West Cross Causeway meets Buccleuch Street.  That is not to dismiss the white wall, which isolates an image putting it into its own context, but by putting large 5 by 4 foot images on walls in the street the buildings start to frame the images.  It was integral that I used the space fully so that the Southside became physically part of the exhibition.

DS – You also produced a fine looking newspaper – we’ve managed to produce a couple of newspapers here at Document Scotland and we really like the format, can you tell us a bit about why you chose to publish the newspaper and the pros and cons of doing so?

PD – I was incredibly lucky to work with Janine Sack who is not only an artist in her own right but has worked as a newspaper creative director in Berlin.  As I could only afford to put 9 images up in the street I wanted to expand the exhibition so that it could have all the images in and also the transcription of the audio.  I needed it to be free so that I could deliver it to all the flats in the immediate area and people could pick them up and take them home.  For me it is an extension to the exhibition showing in people’s homes.  I love the utilitarian aspect of a newspaper but it is also really restrictive in the production side of it, especially as a photographer who strives to make the images as perfect as possible.  It was a real eye opener how much you have to squish the images to make them OK for the colour gamut of newsprint.

DS – Tell us more about what you mean when you talk about the ‘concept’ of portraiture.

PD – I like to show some kind of vulnerability in my portraits. Not in the sense of trying to show them in a way which isn;t representative, but I mean more in the sense that I’m looking for some empathy. I loved the process of photographing the subjects and also interviewing them. That added to the process. It was really interesting. It allowed me to ask each one of them “what does portraiture mean to you”. I asked all my sitters that questions, one of the most interesting responses was from Nieve – , when I asked her “what is a portrait about?” she simply replied “me”.

I really enjoy looking at portraits too. I look for that empathy. It’s a study and recognition of what it means to be a human being.

Darren Goldsmith, Nicky Roy, Robert Uttley, Canongate Youth
© Peter Dibdin 2013, all rights reserved.

 

Emma Gill, Student at the University of Edinburgh
© Peter Dibdin 2013, all rights reserved.

 

DS – You’re a commercial photographer, how did this process differ in process?

PD – As a commercial photographer, when I am taking portraits, I’m used to working fast with a 35mm Camera. Straight away for this project I wanted to make about 40 portraits. I knew that was the number I wanted to do. The pace of everything was really the biggest change for me, not only did the research process slow me right down but I was I was using medium format, and that in itself dictated the pace. I had forgotten that pace, and really liked it.

The deliberation and thought process gave me time and space and the choice to choose moments rather than just taking the photographs. That’s what I mean when I say it was partly planned and directed and partly not.

DS – what’s next for you?

PD – I’m working on a project with Jeep Solid – he’s an interesting character. I’m working on that with a friend who’s a filmmaker and an artist. I’m much more into collaboration now than before, I see it as a natural way forward.  I am really looking forward to expanding this project as well.

Many thanks Peter – it was lovely to meet you – we look forward to seeing you at future Document Scotland events in and around Edinburgh.

 

The Southsiders newspaper © Document Scotland 2013 all rights reserved.

 

Peter Dibdin’s Southsiders exhibition at The Causey, Edinburgh. © Document Scotland 2013, all rights reserved.

 

To hear the extensive audio which accompanies each portrait and to see the rest of Peter’s project please visit www.edinburghsouthsiders.co.uk

To see more of Peter’s work please visit www.peterdibdin.com

 

 

Scotland on the march

Saturday 21st September, 2013: thousands come to march in support of a ‘yes’ vote in next year’s Independence referendum. Edinburgh provides the venue and historic backdrop for this milestone event.

As the crowds gathered in the High Street, so our photographers went to work, capturing the mood and atmosphere of one of the biggest political demonstrations in the Scottish capital city for years. They came from across Scotland and beyond, the ubiquitous kilts and saltires mixing with flags from Sardinia, Catalunya, Flanders and even Venice. At times it looked and felt more like an away day with the Tartan Army, rather than serious political protest. But I guess that’s the way the Scots do it: colour, humour, banter and a wee bit of Braveheart bravado.

As the marchers processed down North Bridge and up to the rallying point on Calton Hill, Edinburgh’s magnificent skyline revealed itself. It was hard to ignore the stunning background, a 360-degree panorama encompassing urban, rural and maritime. The grey, sober wash of the hintergound  contrasted vividly with the pro-Independence foot soldiers. Songs were sung, speeches made, photographs taken.

The skirl of the pipes finally fell silent as the crowds drifted away from Calton Hill at the end of the day. Down on Princes Street, the faithful were swallowed up by shoppers, tourists, hen parties and locals. All that remained were the media, scribbling, filming, editing, filing and recording an historic day.

Participants gather for the march and rally For Scottish Independence, Edinburgh.
©Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert, 2013, all rights reserved.

 

An onlooker watches the march as it leaves the High Street, Edinburgh.
Pic © Colin McPherson 2013, all rights reserved.

 

A participant on the march and rally for Scottish Independence waits by Adam Smith’s statue.
© Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert, 2013, all rights reserved.

 

A West Highland terrier on the march in the High Street, Edinburgh.
Pic © Colin McPherson 2013, all rights reserved.

 

Participant in the the march and rally for Scottish Independence, Edinburgh.
© Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert, 2013, all rights reserved.

 

Crowds marching down North Bridge, seen through graffiti.
Pic © Colin McPherson 2013, all rights reserved.

 

Participant in the the march and rally for Scottish Independence, Edinburgh.
© Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert, 2013, all rights reserved.

 

A man on the march with a slogan on his back, North Bridge, Edinburgh.
Pic © Colin McPherson 2013, all rights reserved.

 

Participants in the the march and rally for Scottish Independence, on Calton Hill, Edinburgh.
© Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert, 2013, all rights reserved.

 

A woman in the crowd signing during the rally on Calton Hill, Edinburgh.
Pic © Colin McPherson 2013, all rights reserved.

 

Participants in the the march and rally for Scottish Independence, Calton Hill, Edinburgh.
© Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert, 2013, all rights reserved.

 

Crowd cheering Alex Salmond’s speech on Calton Hill, Edinburgh.
Pic © Colin McPherson 2013, all rights reserved.

 

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