First on the floor was Sophie, introducing her new work The Flows, which takes a look at the management of the UK’s largest peat bog in the north east of Scotland, and the conservationists who manage it. Arpita led us on a brief trip through a few of her projects all of which look at Asian women, the diaspora and her own family and their journey through India, Kenya and Scotland. We were treated to a look at her new work ‘Nalini’, a project which will be on show at Street Level Photoworks in Glasgow, as of this Saturday, Feb 9th.
Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert presented images of the political demonstrations and marches that he has been photographing these past few years in Scotland, but started the talk with a few similar images from Romania in 1991, and Japanese demonstrations in 2003-2012, showing the threads and seams of work that run through his extensive archive.
Colin McPherson introduced ‘Edinburgh Unchained’ work of Stephen McLaren who sadly couldn’t make it along, talking to the Edinburgh crowd of the history of their city and how it benefited and profited from slavery and the end of slavery in the Caribbean, and the compensation paid to UK slave owners.
Margaret Mitchell silenced the crowd with her very thoughtful presentation of work about her own family, shot over 20 years. The projects, ‘Family’ and ‘In This Place’, provoke questions concerning options in life and how these are tied to the places you’re born, the society and families you’re born into, and the economic pressures which come to bare. You can read an interview with Margaret Mitchell about her work on our site here.
Colin rounded off the evening with a lovely presentation of his new work from Easdale Island on the west of Scotland, an island he has a 30-year history with, but through photographing there in recent months has rediscovered a new love for the place and and the people that live there.
Many thanks to all who came, for your thoughtful questions and also, much thanks to Ben Harman, Rachael and the staff at Stills for helping facilitate the evening.
The Document Scotland work on show yesterday evening can all be seen on the walls at the Martin Parr Foundation in Bristol until March 16th. Following that the work will tour to Scotland.
See more information about the show and the press release here.
Martin Parr Foundation 316 Paintworks Arnos Vale Bristol BS4 3AR
Gallery opening times Wed to Sat, 11am – 6pm Sun to Tue, closed
The event takes place on Thursday, 7th February and as well as presenting work from our new show, we are delighted to have two additional contributors to the evening’s entertainment. This will be our third salon at Stills, and we are very much looking forward to a stimulating, relaxed and enjoyable event.
Central to the evening’s programme will be presentations by three of Document Scotland’s photographers who will each talk about their own individual projects: Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert will guide us through Let Glasgow Flourish, his insider’s view of street politics in his native city, which has been the frontline in many of the recent political campaigns, from the Independence and Brexit referendums, to protests about refugee rights, arms fairs and nuclear weapons. Sophie Gerrard will talk about The Flows, her evocative and beautiful study of the unique landscape of the Flow Country in Caithness and Sutherland. The work discovers and explores issues behind the degradation and regeneration of this iconic location, which now enjoys protected status from rapacious exploitation. Colin McPherson’s Treasured Island looks at contemporary life through a historical prism on Scotland’s smallest permanently-inhabited inner Hebridean island, Easdale in Argyll. By weaving together the past and present, he tells the story of an island whose very survival is always in question, but whose population – numbering just 65 – is as resilient and imaginative as anywhere. Finally, we will look at Stephen McLaren’s Edinburgh Unchained, a fascinating investigation into the links between the wealth of Edinburgh and the city’s links to the African and Caribbean slave trade. This body of work poses questions which go beyond the merely rhetorical in seeking an explanation as to why Scotland’s capital still benefits for the actions and injustices carried out by Scots abroad in the 18th and 19th century.
We are delighted also to be able to include work by two of Scotland’s most outstanding current photographers, both of whom are making consistently captivating work. We have previously featured Arpita Shah’s work live and it is a pleasure to be able to invite her back again to see her latest stories. She is a photographic artist and educator based in Edinburgh and works between photography and film, exploring the fields where culture and identity meet. As an India-born artist, Shah spent an earlier part of her life living between India, Ireland and the Middle East before settling in the UK. This migratory experience is reflected in her practice, which often focuses on the notion of home, belonging and shifting cultural identities. Arpita is also co-founder of Focàs Scotland, an initiative that supports local and international emerging photographers.
Glasgow-based Margaret Mitchell’s work spans over two decades and has recently started to receive the recognition it richly deserves. A first-time collaborator with Document Scotland, Margaret will talk about two projects: Family (1994) & In This Place (2016-17). Taken over 20 years apart, these two connected series ask whether the choices we have in life are ultimately predetermined by upbringing, locality and socio-economic position intertwining with the issues of social inequality that they raise.
Document Scotland is looking forward to a great event and we hope that those who have already bought tickets will have an enjoyable and thought-provoking evening.
Please note that the event is now officially sold out, however, if you wish to attend, please email for the up-to-date situation regarding the waiting list and returns.
We are still buzzing after such an interesting, creative and energetic evening at The Scottish National Portrait Gallery last night for Document Scotland’s 1st ever portrait event “Face To Face: The Portrait in Photography Today”.
Thank you to the photographers which Document Scotland invited to take part along side us, Ben Roberts, Arpita Shah, Emily Macinnes and Graham MacIndoe. Thank you to Annie Lyden, the International Curator of Photography at The Scottish National Portrait Gallery, and her brilliant team for chairing and organising the event with us. Thank you to you the audience for coming along, for sending us your support from a distance if you were unable to make it, for following the events on Twitter, for being there, for helping to spread the word, for making it such a success and for your support of Document Scotland on our (relatively short but eventful) journey so far.
Here’s some images from the night, if any of you have any others which you’d like to share with us please do send them in – we’d love to see them.
The evening started off with Document Scotland’s Sophie Gerrard who showed new work, made over the last 18 months during Sophie’s return to Scotland. Sophie talked about re-aquainting herself with Scotland through portraiture – and spoke of the collaboration between sitter and photographer when making a portrait.
Then we heard from Jeremy who talked us through his Roma portraits, his experiences of living and visiting the camps and later houses of those featured in the project, some individuals he met and re-photographed almost 10 years later. Jeremy also showed a short piece of film footage of him in the camp making his portraits.
Next up was Ben Roberts, who started by talking about some his influences, Chris Killip & Laura Pannack and then showed us images from the series ‘Higher Lands’, which Document Scotland featured as a portfolio on the website last year. He talked about his photographic process and approach to making the portraits and also about why they have remained such a popular body of work, raising the question that perhaps we all see a little of ourselves in these portraits.
After Ben we watched a moving piece of multimedia by Graham MacIndoe documenting his journey through heroin and crack cocaine addiction. Graham’s images have been featured in The Guardian and other press lately and his decision to release such a personal body of work was something he talked about in the multimedia presentation he made for the evening.
After the break first up was Colin McPherson with a lighter hearted look at his portraiture taken mostly from his 1 year journey along the border of Scotland with England. His presentation showed people he’d encountered along the way and those who had become part of the journey but who, in his words, remained strangers. He titled the collection “In the Company of Strangers”
Then we heard from Arpita Shah who took us through a several bodies of her work, and talked about the relationship between mythology and portraiture and how she uses it to explore the experience of Diaspora for Asians living in Scotland.
Then it was Emily Macinnes who showed, for the 1st time her project “Paradise Lost: Testimonies of Abuse”, a powerful presentation of images and text documenting the thoughts and experiences of men who have suffered sexual abuse. A powerful and moving piece.
Last, to finish the night was Stephen McLaren’s work who’s series of portraits of Americans in California was introduced by Annie Lyden and left us all with the sound of bagpipes in our ears – and a smile on our faces.
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.
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.
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.
‘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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sophie Gerrard will talk about what Document Scotland have been working on, our projects so far, how we came about and our plans for 2014. The talk will be at The Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow on Monday 13th January.
Photographer Arpita Shah will also be talking about her work.
TalkSeePhotography is a monthly photography workshop, organised for and by artists working with still imagery in Glasgow. The workshop aims to be a forum for sharing, discussing and looking at photography, with a focus centred on visual presentations by photographers and thinkers, followed by an open discussion.
This is a FREE event and you are all welcome – it starts at 7pm. Please see further details on the CCA website.
Centre for Contemporary Arts
350 Sauchiehall Street
Glasgow G2 3JD