From the series Methil © Gregor Schmatz 2015

Methil – by Gregor Schmatz

From the series Methil © Gregor Schmatz 2015
From the series Methil © Gregor Schmatz 2015

 

Gregor Schmatz has recently finished a BA Photography at Edinburgh Napier University. Document Scotland caught up with him and had a chat about his ongoing degree show project about Methil in Fife, Scotland.

 

DS: Tell us a little about yourself Gregor, and why you decided to make this particular project.

GS: I was born in Germany but grew up most of my life in Luxembourg. After a brief year in Australia I moved to Edinburgh where I completed a degree in Photography at Edinburgh Napier University.
Currently I am pursuing a career as a freelance editorial photographer.

I thought about doing a project about Methil or the area for a while and then I had to decide on my final year project for University. Since it became a project for University I had enough time to drive up there on a regular basis.

DS: What were your original hopes, objectives and ambitions for shooting the work? Why make this project?

GS: I knew that there was a lot to explore visually, just interesting photos to be found. But I also liked the project because it is of contemporary interest on a national and UK wide basis, I could sell this project in different ways.
But the subject matter was different from what I have done before, so I also had to adjust and think things through a bit more. Plus after 4 years in Edinburgh I am very happy I ended  the course with a particularly Scottish project.

The Windmill construction plant by SHI, who recently announced that they will pull out of the country. From the series Methil © Gregor Schmatz 2015
The Windmill construction plant by SHI, who recently announced that they will pull out of the country. From the series Methil © Gregor Schmatz 2015

 

DS: Why did you decide to shoot it in the way you did?

GS: I thought the project through more because it was a new subject matter for me, but I still shoot everything more or less instinctively. Currently I shoot everything medium format, it just works for me.

DS: Did you know Methil before? Why there?

GS: I drove through Methil with friends from Fife, that’s how I came across the area first. I knew I could shoot there pretty much immediately.

From the series Methil © Gregor Schmatz 2015
From the series Methil © Gregor Schmatz 2015

 

DS: What do you think these photographs say about Methil?

I tried to portray it in a way that people can make up their own mind but at the same time I was also aware that Methil had a overly bad reputation already and I wanted to focus on the everyday there, not the extreme.

From the series Methil © Gregor Schmatz 2015
From the series Methil © Gregor Schmatz 2015

 

DS: In your introduction you call Methil “an overlooked Scottish town.” What do you mean by that?

GS: Simply that most people never heard of it, or if they did, it was something bad. And there are many places like this; unknown towns, which actually have a huge history but lost their industry and slowly became increasingly desolate.

DS: Have people in the images, from Methil seen the work and if so what feedback, thoughts do they have on the work?

GS: Only one pair have seen them and they liked the images, but they were also surprised of the images. I think it was just a bit strange for them to see a series of images about their town, places they see everyday. All the other people in the photos were short encounters, I have no contact details.

From the series Methil © Gregor Schmatz 2015
From the series Methil © Gregor Schmatz 2015

 

DS: You’ve been studying at Napier for the last few years, how did you get started in photography and can you tell us a little about your journey to where you are now as a photographer?

GS: I think I first bought a SLR before travelling, that’s when I started seeing all the possibilities and just started taking photos and never got bored of it. My project “Amerikanare” was a project I started at the end of the first year at University. It was my first serious project and I went back last summer to finish it and the final project was exhibited in Boston and published in a couple of magazines. This is the project where learning curves were the most obvious and I learned a lot from doing it. Looking back I definitely feel more secure in my image making and more defined, but it just took time. I think I always had certain tendencies or preferences in photography but the course at Napier gave me the chance to explore many different styles and get better at taking photos through many many small projects. But I am far from settled, there are exciting times ahead.

From the series Methil © Gregor Schmatz 2015
From the series Methil © Gregor Schmatz 2015

 

DS: You mention that this project is still on going – what plans do you have to continue?

GS: I just learned that the Windmill plant will actually shut, so this is a bit a sad ending, however I will try and expand the series to the Levenmouth area.

DS: What are you up to right now? How are things since graduating and what are your future plans?

GS: Very good! I had a great exhibition in Boston as part of the Flash Forward Festival and some nice magazine and online features, creating some important contacts for the future, so I feel pretty lucky!

 

Thanks Gregor – to see more of Gregor’s work visit his website www.gregorschmatz.co.uk

 

Big Hooses Built on the Backs of Slaves

 

To complete this project I decided to find the properties that were bought or originally owned by these “respectable gentlemen”. As in Jamaica, some properties were splendid country estates, others in more dilapidated condition. Several like Rozelle House in Ayrshire and Strathleven House in the Vale of Leven have been taken over by local authorities as the cost of upkeep became too large for subsequent generations.

 

Another layer of steel

Andy Scott's Steel Man

During the spring and summer of 2014, I spent several months exploring the site of the former Ravenscraig steelworks in Lanarkshire.

Once Europe’s largest hot strip mill, the British Steel plant employed thousands of men – and some women – in what was commonly regarded as Scotland’s industrial heart from when it opened in 1957 to its controversial closure in 1992. When it shut, the surrounding area was devastated economically and socially and after the site was cleared in 1996, lay derelict and neglected for many years.

My project looked at the Ravenscraig site today and the people who were endeavouring to bring the area back to life. I photographed and interviewed people who had worked in the plant, as well as those now studying, working and living at the college, sports centre, businesses and housing estates slowly springing up on a site which is double the size of the principality of Monaco.

Andy Scott welding Steel Man in his studio workshop. Photograph © Colin McPherson 2015, all rights reserved.
Andy Scott welding Steel Man in his studio workshop. Photograph © Colin McPherson 2015, all rights reserved.

 

The result of my work was The Fall and Rise of Ravenscraig which was exhibited as part of Document Scotland’s Common Ground exhibition at Street Level Photoworks in Glasgow in the autumn of 2014. As with many projects, the story didn’t seem to end there. In the run up to the show, I had met Andy Scott, the acclaimed Scottish sculptor whose most celebrated work, the giant Kelpies statues was one of my favourite pieces of public art in the world.

I discovered that Andy was working on a new piece, which had been commissioned by a group of people connected with the steel industry in Lanarkshire, who wanted to make a commemorative statue to honour those who had lost their lives in the service of iron and steel making in Scotland. When I first visited Andy’s studio workshop in Glasgow, the parallels with steel making were instantly apparent: welding gear, safety equipment, heat and sparks flying everywhere. And before my eyes, rivet-by-rivet, Steel Man was taking shape.

Andy Scott during a break whilst working on Steel man. Photograph © Colin McPherson 2015, all rights reserved.
Andy Scott during a break whilst working on Steel Man. Photograph © Colin McPherson 2015, all rights reserved.

 

The major difference was scale: whilst Andy painstakingly crafted his statue with the precision of a jeweller, Ravenscraig was a belching furnace, a difficult and dangerous place of work, where many injuries were sustained and lives lost. Notwithstanding that places like Ravenscraig produced the steel which made everything from airplanes to washing machines and powered Scotland’s economy, those that worked there did so out of necessity, not choice. They also had no choice when the plant closed. Some took redundancy, some left the area to find employment and many simply never worked again.

Andy Scott working in his studio workshop in Glasgow. Photograph © Colin McPherson 2015, all rights reserved.
Andy Scott working in his studio workshop in Glasgow. Photograph © Colin McPherson 2015, all rights reserved.

 

As the statue progressed during the spring of 2015, it became apparent to me that it was not only a timely memorial to the past but a symbol of hope for the future. Ravenscraig today may not be the site of an economic powerhouse, but slowly, surely it is coming back to life. Steel Man is a poignant reminder of what has gone before, but as a piece of art by one of Scotland’s best-regarded contemporary creative minds, it offers us a glimpse of what is possible if a group of people are determined to make something happen. The fundraising effort to bring Steel Man to life involved people from the old industry and those determined that the site should have a positive future.

Steel Man taking shape in Andy Scott's studio workshop. Photograph © Colin McPherson 2015, all rights reserved.
Steel Man taking shape in Andy Scott’s studio workshop. Photograph © Colin McPherson 2015, all rights reserved.

 

Steel Man was finally unveiled at a moving and celebratory ceremony in June 2015, when the statue was shown off for the first time. Former steelworkers, trade unionists, religious and civic leaders were joined by local school pupils, supporters of the project and Andy Scott himself, who talked about the statue and how much it meant to him to create. There were prayers and dedications to those who had perished and as the wind whistled around, it was not difficult to image in noise, dust, smoke and heat of Ravenscraig past.

For me, it was another fascinating layer to the story of Ravenscraig, one which I first became acquainted with on a hot July afternoon in 1996, when the Independent commissioned me to photograph the destruction of the iconic cooling towers by controlled explosion. It took me fully two decades to return to Motherwell to take up the story again, but if I hadn’t, I would not have encountered so many interesting and inspirational people, and I would not have met Steel Man either.

Coverage of the making of Steel Man in the Independent. Photograph © Colin McPherson 2015, all rights reserved.
Coverage of the making of Steel Man in the Independent. Photograph © Colin McPherson 2015, all rights reserved.
Workmen preparing for the Steel Man unveiling. Photograph © Colin McPherson 2015, all rights reserved.
Workmen preparing for the Steel Man unveiling. Photograph © Colin McPherson 2015, all rights reserved.
Pipers welcome guests to the Steel Man unveiling. Photograph © Colin McPherson 2015, all rights reserved.
Pipers welcome guests to the Steel Man unveiling. Photograph © Colin McPherson 2015, all rights reserved.
Flowers growing on the Ravenscraig site. Photograph © Colin McPherson 2015, all rights reserved.
Flowers growing on the Ravenscraig site. Photograph © Colin McPherson 2015, all rights reserved.
Former steelworkers gather at the unveiling. Photograph © Colin McPherson 2015, all rights reserved.
Former steelworkers and their families gather at the unveiling. Photograph © Colin McPherson 2015, all rights reserved.
The unveiling ceremony of Steel Man. Photograph © Colin McPherson 2015, all rights reserved.
The unveiling ceremony of Steel Man. Photograph © Colin McPherson 2015, all rights reserved.
Andy Scott and Steel Man at the official unveiling. Photograph © Colin McPherson 2015, all rights reserved.
Andy Scott and Steel Man at the official unveiling at Ravenscraig. Photograph © Colin McPherson 2015, all rights reserved.

The Bigger Picture

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It’s always a nice way to start the day when a beautiful new publication arrives on your doorstep. What made yesterday even better was that the publication was unexpected, and that Document Scotland are featured in it.

The Bigger Picture: The Work of Impressions Gallery is a clever and comprehensive retrospective of Impressions Gallery.

 

“Since 1972 Impressions Gallery has changed the face of photography in the UK”. This beautiful book tells “the story of the gallery’s past, present and future; championing photography in Britain and beyond.”

 

We’re delighted to be included in such a publication and in such esteemed company as Anna Fox, Murray Ballard, Tessa Bunney, Melanie Friend, Paul Reas and many more. The book includes a spread about Document Scotland’s exhibition “Beyond The Border: New Contemporary photography from Scotland” in the summer of 2014, curated by the gallery’s director, Anne McNeill and is accompanied by a quote about the exhibition from Brian Liddy, Associate Curator of the National Media Museum, “Document Scotland occupies the latest in a long and rich tradition of Scottish documentary photography… the imminence of the vote only makes the exhibition even more pointed and offers a refreshing antidote to the hectoring of politicians on the subject.”

 

 

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Learn more about Impressions Gallery, their current and previous exhibitions and projects on their website

See more images of the book’s creative design and content here  www.behance.net

 

A recent acquisition – St Andrews University archive

Sophie Gerrard's prints being signed for The University of St Andrews Special Collection
Sophie Gerrard’s signed prints from the series Tunnocks, and Drawn To The Land being prepared for The University of St Andrews Special Collection © Document Scotland 2015 all rights reserved

 

We delivered four lovely boxes of prints and a hard drive of digital files to St Andrews this week and are very pleased that Document Scotland’s work has now become one of the most recent acquisitions to the St Andrews University Special Collection.

Document Scotland started working with Marc Boulay and the University of St Andrews archive just over a year ago.  The University’s Special Collections Division holds over 800,000 images from the 1840s onwards and we are delighted and proud to have our prints and digital files now included in such an extensive, impressive and important collection of photography in Scotland.

 

Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert's prints from the series 'Life in The Third' being boxed for the University of St Andrews Special Collection archive. © Document Scotland 2015 all rights reserved.
Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert’s prints from the series ‘Life in The Third’ being boxed for the University of St Andrews Special Collection archive. © Document Scotland 2015 all rights reserved.

 

Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert’s prints from the series ‘Unsullied and Untarnished’ being boxed for the University of St Andrews Special Collection archive. © Document Scotland 2015 all rights reserved.

 

Stephen McLaren’s prints from the series ‘Scotia Nova’ being boxed for the University of St Andrews Special Collection archive. © Document Scotland 2015 all rights reserved.

 

Stephen McLaren's prints from the series 'Scotia Nova' being boxed for the University of St Andrews Special Collection archive. © Document Scotland 2015 all rights reserved.
Stephen McLaren’s prints from the series ‘Scotia Nova’ being boxed for the University of St Andrews Special Collection archive. © Document Scotland 2015 all rights reserved.

 

Colin McPherson's prints from the Scottish independence referendum being boxed for the University of St Andrews Special Collection archive. © Document Scotland 2015 all rights reserved.
Colin McPherson’s prints from the Scottish independence referendum being boxed for the University of St Andrews Special Collection archive. © Document Scotland 2015 all rights reserved.

 

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Marc Boulay of The University of St Andrews Special Collections Division, receives Document Scotland’s prints and digital files for the archive. © Document Scotland 2015 all rights reserved.

 

Marc Boulay of The University of St Andrews Special Collections Division, receives Document Scotland's boxes of prints. © Document Scotland 2015 all rights reserved.
Marc Boulay of The University of St Andrews Special Collections Division, receives Document Scotland’s boxes of prints and digital files for the archive. © Document Scotland 2015 all rights reserved.

 

We’ve had the pleasure of working with the ever charming Marc Boulay and his team at the University over the last year or so. Thank you Marc for all your help, assistance, support and enthusiasm for our work.

 

Fitba’ daft

Tartan Army goal celebrations in the Faroe Islands. Photo © Colin McPherson, 2007 all rights reserved.
Tartan Army goal celebrations in the Faroe Islands. Photo © Colin McPherson, 2007 all rights reserved.

 

To most right-thinking people, all it involves is 22 men (or women) chasing an inflated leather sphere around a grassy field in a pointless physical activity of no consequence. To the rest of us it’s an obsession: football, otherwise known as our national sport.

I’ve been bewitched by the sport since my dad took me to my first match, as a 10-year-old in November 1974. I remember little of the game itself, other than Hibs defeated Morton 5-0 and it was raining and I ate a Wagon Wheel. Since that day I’ve attended hundreds of matches, mostly as a spectator but also many in a professional capacity, commissioned to photograph everything from top international fixtures, to obscure matches at n0n-League grounds in places which are little more than a dot on the map.

View from The Rock of Dumbarton v Cowdenbeath. Photo © Colin McPherson, 2012 all rights reserved.
View from The Rock of Dumbarton v Cowdenbeath. Photo © Colin McPherson, 2012 all rights reserved.

 

For the last decade, I’ve worked on a monthly basis for a football publication whose roots stretch back to the intoxicating days of the 1980s, when a generation of activists began self-publishing fanzines on every subject from music, UFOs, cinema, fashion and football. And so it was that When Saturday Comes (WSC) magazine began life in 1986. Over the past almost 30 years it has grown to become a much-loved and respected feature of the soccer season. With a mix of irreverent humour and critical analysis debunking much of the hype of the modern day football industry, it has seen an army of contributors commentating on the game from their own unique standpoint. Many writers have gone on to make careers in mainstream journalism and the alumni from the WSC academy includes top columnists, celebrities and even a former cabinet minister.

Alloa Athletic take on Aberdeen in the shadow of the Ochils. Photo © Colin McPherson, 2010 all rights reserved.
Alloa Athletic take on Aberdeen in the shadow of the Ochils. Photo © Colin McPherson, 2010 all rights reserved.

 

As the magazine grew and developed, photography was added to the monthly offering. Each edition now carries two features which rely on images to make them work: the eponymous Match of the Month and Shot! – an often wry look at life behind the scenes at football clubs across the UK and beyond. Now, the entire collection of photography shot principally by the magazines’ four regular photographers has been put together into an archive of historical and contemporary images, which is launched officially this week.

Berwick's duel identity on display. Photo © Colin McPherson, 2014 all rights reserved.
Berwick’s duel identity on display. Photo © Colin McPherson, 2014 all rights reserved.

 

Each season WSC usually focuses on a number of stories from Scotland and it’s been me who is normally tasked with shooting features from my homeland. Most recent assignments have included the national team’s victory over the Republic of Ireland in a European Championship qualifying match at Celtic Park and a look at the duel identity of English-based Scottish League side Berwick Rangers, shot in the run up to the Independence referendum. Very different fixtures but a similar ethos and aesthetic when it comes to the approach and final edit of pictures.

Hibs fans look on as a gull looks the other way at easter Road. Photo © Colin McPherson, 2006 all rights reserved.
Hibs fans look on as a gull looks the other way at Easter Road. Photo © Colin McPherson, 2006 all rights reserved.

 

Whether its shooting an international match or something from the lower leagues, the brief is always the same: to present images which reflect the supporters’ experience of the games they attend. And while the magazine may be headquartered in London, its regular coverage of Scottish football has ensured an enduring and loyal readership north of the border.

Boiler suits and bouncers at Fraserburgh FC. Photo © Colin McPherson, 2010 all rights reserved.
Boiler suits and bouncers at Fraserburgh FC. Photo © Colin McPherson, 2010 all rights reserved.

 

This weekend I will once again be covering a match in Scotland, at one of the country’s most iconic and traditional stadiums. To find out where he will be, however, you’ll have to purchase the next edition of WSC, due out in early-March.

 

Empty Shops

EMPTY SHOP, by Kenneth Gray

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Working The Border – Carlisle Photo Festival

Many thanks to Malcolm Dickson and Street Level Photoworks Glasgow for including work by Sophie Gerrard, Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert and Colin McPherson in an exhibition entitled ‘Working The Border’  at Carlisle Photo Festival recently. Situated on the railway bridge linking Northbound and Southbound platforms at Carlisle Railway Station, the exhibition also includes work by Colin Gray, Andy Wiener and Donald John MacLean. The festival itself was on from 7th – 15th November, however, the works on the railway bridge remain in place.

All the bodies of work featured are based upon or comment on the Anglo-Scottish border and notions of national identity, landscape and history.

 

Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert's images from 'Edge of an Empire' installed at Carlisle Photo Festival © Streetlevel Photoworks November 2014
Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert’s images from ‘Edge of an Empire’ installed at Carlisle Photo Festival. Image © Claire Maxwell, courtesy Street Level Photoworks November 2014

 

Carlisle Photo Festival © Claire Maxwell, courtesy Street Level Photoworks November 2014
Sophie Gerrard’s images from ‘Drawn To The Land’ installed at Carlisle Photo Festival. Image © Claire Maxwell, courtesy Street Level Photoworks November 2014

 

Carlisle Photo Festival Colin McPherson's images from 'A Fine Line' installed at Carlisle Photo Festival © Streetlevel Photoworks November 2014© Streetlevel Photoworks November 2014
Colin McPherson’s images from ‘A Fine Line’ installed at Carlisle Photo Festival. Image © Claire Maxwell, courtesy Street Level Photoworks November 2014

 

Originally shown in Document Scotland’s summer exhibition ‘Beyond The Border’ at Impressions Gallery in Bradford, the images chosen for ‘Working The Border’ include those from Sophie’s ‘Drawn To The Land’, Colin’s ‘A Fine Line’ and Jeremy’s ‘Edge of an Empire’.

 

Carlisle Photo Festival © Claire Maxwell, courtesy Street Level Photoworks November 2014
Carlisle Photo Festival. Image © Claire Maxwell, courtesy Street Level Photoworks November 2014

 

Carlisle Photo Festival © Streetlevel Photoworks November 2014
Carlisle Photo Festival. Image © Claire Maxwell, courtesy Street Level Photoworks November 2014

 

Working the Border’ explores the geophysical & cartographic line that separates Scotland from England.  It borrows its title from the larger work by ae phor, a selection of which was exhibited in the waiting room on Platform 4, accompanied by a soundwork ‘Border Fiddle Music’. This space also included a selected series from Jo Metson Scott’s ‘The Borderland’ project, which was shown for the first time, alongside ‘Schengland’ and ‘The Debatable Land’ by Alan Knox.

 

Carlisle Photo Festival © Streetlevel Photoworks November 2014
The waiting room on platform 4 at Carlisle Railway Station for Carlisle Photo Festival. Image © Claire Maxwell, courtesy Street Level Photoworks November 2014

 

Carlisle Photo Festival © Streetlevel Photoworks November 2014
Alan Knox’s ‘Schengland’ installed at Carlisle Photo Festival. Image © Claire Maxwell, courtesy Street Level Photoworks November 2014

 

The festival was on from 7th – 15th November – only a week, however, the work on the railway bridges remains in place, so, if you’re in town, or waiting for a connection, or passing through at 100mph on a Virgin train – be sure to take a look!

 

 

New Talent…

Over the last few months here at Document Scotland we have been pretty busy, however, we always make time to see new work. Here we take a look at some of the work by graduates from Edinburgh Napier University 2014 which was on show earlier this year in their degree show and also at Free Range in London.

Here is a taster of some of their work which caught our eye… do take a look at their individual websites for further images.

 

Glasgow Mods by Lisa Boyd

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From the series ‘Mods’ by Lisa Boyd, image © Lisa Boyd, 2014, all rights reserved.

 

“This project is about the Mod subculture in Glasgow, focusing on original and long time members. I have always been interested in people and their uniqueness. My father was an old mod and seeing the mod subculture re-emerging was my main inspiration to do this project.  Several recent photographic projects have focused on the younger mod generation. I was interested in telling the story of the originals for whom being a mod has always been a part of their life. I started researching the subculture and going to a few mod events and club nights. These portraits were taken outside the ‘Tailor Made’ (previously ‘Friday Street’) club night round at the smoking area. I really enjoyed the time I spent doing these portraits. Speaking with the mods I heard some great stories and learned a lot about the subculture. After finishing this portrait project I am still photographing the mods. I am focusing on the different aspects of the subculture, in the end I hope to have a comprehensive body of work documenting the subculture from all perspectives.”

Lisa Boyd www.lisaboydphotography.com

 

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From the series ‘Mods’ by Lisa Boyd, image © Lisa Boyd, 2014, all rights reserved.

 

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From the series ‘Mods’ by Lisa Boyd, image © Lisa Boyd, 2014, all rights reserved.

 

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From the series ‘Mods’ by Lisa Boyd, image © Lisa Boyd, 2014, all rights reserved.

 

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From the series ‘Mods’ by Lisa Boyd, image © Lisa Boyd, 2014, all rights reserved.

 

Lolitas by Louise Anne Kennedy

Tina, a Gothic Lolita, From the series 'Lolitas' by Louise Kennedy. © Louise Kennedy, 2014, all rights reserved.
Tina, a Gothic Lolita, From the series ‘Lolitas’ by Louise Kennedy. © Louise Kennedy, 2014, all rights reserved.

 

“A Lolita could be best described as an individual who follows the Japanese subculture of wearing western inspired Victorian and Rocco style Japanese fashion. The history of the movement began in Japan during the 1970’s, with fashion companies such as Pink House, Milk and Pretty. Although Lolita is fairly unknown, this fashion subculture has become a growing trend among young women in Scotland. Lolita has dominated Japan for many years it has only been in the last decade that it has spread to many other countries in the world.

I am passionate about people and culture; I love to learn about new cultures and peoples stories. The inspiration for the project came from a long love of Japan and Japanese culture, I have an unexplored fascination with Japan and I created this project in order to find Japan and aspects of its culture in my home country.
The difficulty in finding such a secretive subculture is in gaining the access required in which to meet, learn about and photograph the girls who wear Lolita. My love of Japan and Japanese culture gave me a connection with the girls and slowly they allowed me into their world. Most Lolita’s enjoy being photographed; they like to show off their immaculately co-ordinated outfits.”

Louise Kennedy www.louiseannekennedyphotography.com

Rachel, 'Classic Lolita' From the series 'Lolitas' by Louise Kennedy. © Louise Kennedy, 2014, all rights reserved.
Rachel, ‘Classic Lolita’ From the series ‘Lolitas’ by Louise Kennedy. © Louise Kennedy, 2014, all rights reserved.

 

Ruth, 'Sweet Lolita' From the series 'Lolitas' by Louise Kennedy. © Louise Kennedy, 2014, all rights reserved.
Ruth, ‘Sweet Lolita’ From the series ‘Lolitas’ by Louise Kennedy. © Louise Kennedy, 2014, all rights reserved.

 

A detail in "Sweet Lolita" Ruth's bedroom. From the series 'Lolitas' by Louise Kennedy. © Louise Kennedy, 2014, all rights reserved.
A detail in “Sweet Lolita” Ruth’s bedroom. From the series ‘Lolitas’ by Louise Kennedy. © Louise Kennedy, 2014, all rights reserved.

 

A Classic Lolita wears tights detailed to look like a doll's knee. From the series 'Lolitas' by Louise Kennedy. © Louise Kennedy, 2014, all rights reserved.
A Classic Lolita wears tights detailed to look like a doll’s knee. From the series ‘Lolitas’ by Louise Kennedy. © Louise Kennedy, 2014, all rights reserved.

 

Gorgie Road – The Maroon West by James Parker

From the series 'Gorgie - The Maroon West' by James Parker. © James Parker, 2014, all rights reserved.
From the series ‘Gorgie – The Maroon West’ by James Parker. © James Parker, 2014, all rights reserved.

 

“Situated between Edinburgh’s city prison and the financial sector, resides Gorgie. The densely inhabited area has one of the highest populations per square mile within the country. Historically it contained the largest pig farm in Scotland, with local residents claiming that the creation of the digestive biscuit hails from the area.

This project views the social network of people and place along the main western artery into Edinburgh city life and the chance encounters along the route.

Since completing the project and graduating from Napier, I currently work as a summer school photography teacher at Queens College, Cambridge. I intend to use images from the project towards my submission for several MA courses. However, for the time being I am based back in South Yorkshire and will begin work on several fresh longer-term projects, collaborations and commissioned work soon.”

The entire project with 30 images is available in a newspaper format here.

Limited Edition –  £20
One Project
One C-Print of choice from the series
Protective cardboard sleeve.

James Parker www.jameschrisparker.com

From the series 'Gorgie - The Maroon West' by James Parker. © James Parker, 2014, all rights reserved.
From the series ‘Gorgie – The Maroon West’ by James Parker. © James Parker, 2014, all rights reserved.

 

From the series 'Gorgie - The Maroon West' by James Parker. © James Parker, 2014, all rights reserved.
From the series ‘Gorgie – The Maroon West’ by James Parker. © James Parker, 2014, all rights reserved.

 

From the series 'Gorgie - The Maroon West' by James Parker. © James Parker, 2014, all rights reserved.
From the series ‘Gorgie – The Maroon West’ by James Parker. © James Parker, 2014, all rights reserved.

 

From the series 'Gorgie - The Maroon West' by James Parker. © James Parker, 2014, all rights reserved.
From the series ‘Gorgie – The Maroon West’ by James Parker. © James Parker, 2014, all rights reserved.

 

Autumn Salons – Edinburgh & St Andrews

As the nights start to draw in, Document Scotland look forward to welcoming you to our two evening Autumn Salon events this November.

We hope you can join us for informal, informative and lively evenings of multimedia presentations, photography and conversation featuring work by the four members of Document Scotland as well as special guests including Sarah Amy Fishlock and Marc Boulay from the Special Collections Division
at the University of St Andrews.

The first of these evenings takes place at Stills Gallery, Edinburgh on Wednesday 12th November, where doors will open at 6pm for a 6:30pm start. The following day, on Thursday 13th November, we will be at St Andrews University Special Collections Reading Room where proceedings will begin at 7:30pm.

To book a place for the event at Stills, please click here.

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Wednesday, 12 November 2014
Stills Gallery, Edinburgh
6:30pm – 8:30pm

FREE

 

Thursday, 13 November 2014
University of St Andrews Special Collections Reading Room
7:30pm – 9:30pm

FREE

 

New book by Marc Wilson

We interviewed Marc Wilson and featured his impressive project ‘The Last Stand‘ on the Document Scotland site a while ago. His project beautifully documents some of the physical remnants of the Second World War on the coastlines of the British Isles and northern Europe.

When we first spoke to Marc, he had already travelled to over 100 locations and was in the process of crowd funding  to complete the project and travel to further locations all over Scotland, England, Wales, France, Denmark, Belgium, The Channel Islands and Norway. The result is a beautiful book and an impressive document of the various bunkers, gun emplacements and observation posts which exist on these coastlines. Many of these locations are no longer in sight, either subsumed or submerged by the changing sands and waters or by more human intervention. At the same time others have re-emerged from their shrouds.

In Scotland, the building of coastal defenses was concentrated on Scotland’s east coast as anti-aircraft defenses existed to protect strategic locations on the west, such as the Firth of Clyde, the region’s industries, the shipyards and the city of Glasgow. Some of the locations Marc photographed in Scotland include Lossiemouth, Newburgh, Findhorn, Loch Ewe, Hoy, Flotta, Northmavine, Unst and Lerwick.

 

Marc sent us some information about the book which you can pre-order here – we hope you enjoy it…

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Stanga-Head, Unst, Shetland, Scotland image © Marc Wilson 2013 all rights reserved
Stanger Head, Flotta, Orkney, Scotland, 2013 © Marc Wilson 2013 all rights reserved.  To protect Hoxa Sound, the main entrance channel to Scapa Flow, new coastal defences were established during WW2. They included gun and rocket batteries, boom nets, searchlights, also anti-aircraft and barrage balloon sites. The Navy’s signaling and observation station on Stanger Head was also enlarged.

 

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Lamba Ness, Unst, Shetland, Scotland, 2013 © Marc Wilson 2013 all rights reserved. Because of their proximity to occupied Norway, where the Germans had established U-boat and Luftwaffe bases from which they threatened Allied shipping in the North Atlantic, it became urgent for Britain to extend the range of the radar covering Orkney and Shetland. A Chain Home Low radar station (RAF Skaw) was set up at Lamba Ness in Unst, the most northerly island of Shetland. It could detect enemy aircraft flying at a minimum altitude of 500 feet.

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You can click here to see more of Marc Wilson’s project The Last Stand on his website www.marcwilson.co.uk

Marc is also on Twitter here.

 

 

 

 

Common Ground – our new publication

We’re delighted to announce that to accompany our ‘Common Ground’ exhibition at Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow, we have self-published an 84-page colour publication, and one which we can offer exclusively for sale here.

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Including two photo essays from each Document Scotland member, Sophie Gerrard, Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert, Colin McPherson and Stephen McLaren, ‘Common Ground’ takes a look at contemporary Scotland as the country stands on the verge of making a political decision which, whatever the outcome, will resonate through the ages. From the common riding festivals of the Scottish Borders, to the women farmers who work the land, a walk along the Scottish-English border or a car road trip through the streets and daily life of Scotland, this publication showcases new projects completed with assistance from Creative Scotland, for our current Street Level Photoworks exhibition.

 

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This publication also introduces work by our colleagues and friends at the Welsh photography collective A Fine Beginning – James O Jenkins, Abbie Trayler-Smith, Gawain Barnard and Jack Latham, work which can also be seen in the ‘Common Ground’ exhibition.

We are delighted to also include essays by Malcolm Dickson, curator and director at Street Level Photoworks, and Anne McNeill, director of Impressions Gallery, Bradford and curator of our ‘Beyond The Border’ show which runs at Impressions Gallery until September 27th.

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We are very proud to be able to present two photographs by Glasgow-born photojournalist Harry Benson CBE, who has graciously accepted an invite to become Document Scotland’s Honorary Patron. Stephen McLaren recently journeyed to New York to meet with Harry and his wife Gigi, and in an essay he recounts this meeting, along with the two historical photographs Harry chose for the publication from his archive.

The 84-page, A4-sized, full colour publication, which has a print run of 1,000, was designed by Cabin8Design – the same artists who beautifully designed our first two newspapers.

To purchase a copy please use the buttons below, if you have any problems just give us a shout!  It costs £10.00 GBP per copy, plus postage.

We are pleased to make this contribution to Scottish photography in this landmark year for our nation’s history, and we hope you too will enjoy the work within it.


Cost incl P&P



Many thanks indeed,

Sophie, Jeremy, Colin and Stephen.

 

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