Last week the third Carlisle Photo Festival took place utilising a variety of exhibition venues, not all the more common types of places you see photo shows. From images in a courtroom to images being presented in glass cabinets inside the waiting rooms at Carlisle Train Station, the show went out of it’s way to bring work to new audiences.
Thanks to the tireless Malcolm Dickson, at Street Level Photoworks gallery in Glasgow, myself and my Document Scotland colleagues Colin McPherson and Sophie Gerrard, along with other photographers Alan Knox, Colin Gray, Andy Weiner, and Donald John MacLean, all showed work on the pedestrian footbridge which cross the train tracks in the busy junction station of Carlisle. A novel setting for a photo show, entitled ‘Working The Border’, but one which will undoubtedly have reached a large audience, and perhaps an audience which may not have been tempted to venture to a photography gallery.
The work I had shown, and the theme of the small show was all photographers who have been working along the lines of borders in light of the recent Referendum on Scottish independence, were two images from my Edge Of An Empire series about Scotland’s Antonine Wall, the former north-western frontier of the Roman Empire. The images below shows my photos in situ in Carlisle station. The whole series of this work was show earlier this summer in a Document Scotland group show at the Impressions Gallery in Bradford, England, curated by Anne McNeill.
The above images show a mattress in a snowy landscape on the location of a former Roman fort at Castlecary hill outside Glasgow, and John Richardson of the Antonine Guard.
Thanks to Carlisle Photo Festival, Malcolm Dickson and all those who made the show possible, hung the pictures etc. Thanks.
Rome may be the Eternal City, but here in Glasgow, Scotland we have a City of Eternal Rivals. A city of football and the rivalry between the ‘Old Firm’ teams of Celtic FC and Rangers FC. Green against blue. And some may say Catholic against Protestant.
As a reportage photographer in Glasgow, one thing is sure, you’re never short of football culture to photograph, life unfolds on the street, life and death in 90 minutes plus stoppage time, and then after the final whistle, the fans depart the stadiums scurrying off to cars, bars and public transport. A sea of blue or green heading in every direction, like a battlefield of old.
Last year I spent a season following Rangers FC through the 3rd division, and then this year I’ve recently shot a feature on Celtic and Rangers’ rivalry for a European magazine, a few spreads of which are here. A nice layout and design I thought, a nice edit, but sadly didn’t use my favourite image which is the one above these words.
I had given permission for some of my images of Shoko Tendo, author, and daughter of a now deceased yakuza boss, to be used. I had first photographed Shoko Tendo, and her entire body full of tattoos on an editorial assignment for The Guardian, with journalist Justin McCurry, then shot again for Marie Claire Magazine. They proved to be a popular set of images, although I can never decide which part of the sentence ‘naked girl with yakuza tattoos’ draws in the attention…
Today I got an email from the publisher Manami-san and she tells me that the book has almost sold out now. Printed in a run of 3,000 Manami now only holds the last 10 or so copies that she had. Great news to hear of a photo book selling so well, and congratulations to Manami-san for producing a book which, even to non-tattooed folks, is a fascinating read, and with some beautiful images, both contemporary and historical. If anyone is interested in getting hold of a copy of the book, drop me a line, I can put you in touch with Manami-san, or try online.
Here’s the cover, and two of the spreads from my section in the book…Hope you enjoy it.
This is why it’s important to always keep the copyright to your own images, and to have them in an agency working for you…
Last night I nipped down the local supermarket here in Glasgow, Scotland, as you do, last minute baguette to go with dinner, and as ever when sent to the supermarket I walk past the magazines and newspapers, scan the headlines, scan the covers for anything that jumps out. Not particularly looking for my own photos, more just scanning them all to see what is happening in life, see any nice designs or some image by someone else which is a beauty. So last night, one jumped out, I thought, huh, that looks like an image I took. And the funny thing was I wasn’t sure, as it could have been a scene shot by any photographer, but there was a silhouette of a head in the bottom right corner, and it struck a chord with me, seemed to be something I remember from my own shot of that scene in Harajuku shopping mall, in Tokyo from a year or two back.
Anyway, as you do, flick to the contents page and scan for a byline, and yep, my name, my agency. Excellent. A baguette and a magazine cover. Worth nipping out for.
As Scotland nears a day of decision, on whether or not to leave the United Kingdom, I was asked by an editorial client to go through to Edinburgh for a portrait shoot with Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland.
Time was going to be short, after all Alex Salmond is nearing the end of his campaign and is no doubt busy, but there was a little time none the less, 2 minutes at the beginning of the interview to shoot whilst he and the journalist settled themselves, and then less than two minutes at the end of the interview. Such is the photographer’s lot sometimes, the journalist gets 24mins, you get 4. Hey ho. Whatchyagonnado? Complain? No, you use your time, you take it seriously, you get your images.
Towards the end of the interview as I sat awaiting my time I noticed the shadows of the blinds creeping up over Alex Salmond, up his trousers, across him, and then onto his face. Must be hot I thought, the sun now directly on him. But it also made a good image. I wondered to myself, do I shoot it and possibly ruin a chance of two minutes at the end, or do I wait for my two minutes? I waited, then the press officer says “last couple of minutes.” So I took my chance, I shot the First Minister with the shadows on his face. One frame. Quietly on the Canon 5D mk3.
To coincide with the show we’ve published an 84-page flu colour book of the work on show in Common ground, along with some work from our Beyond The Border show at Impressions Gallery, Bradford, and with essays by curators Anne McNeill and Malcolm Dickson. The publication costs £10.00 plus package and posting in the UK and can be ordered here.
Common Ground publication.
Common Ground publication.
Common Ground publication.
I hope you can make it along to the show, if not then the publication will give you a very good flavour of it…and more!
The info below, from the Gallery website, tells you a little more about the exhibtion and what each of us is showing.
A couple of weeks ago we made the journey to Bradford and ghave talks to an audience on a sunny Saturday afternoon. I spoke about my project on the Antonine Wall, the former north western frontier of the Roman Empire, which carves its way across central Scotland. In this following audio track and film you can hear me speak with curator Anne McNeill about my project, and then also you can hear my colleagues discuss their projects. Please take a listen.
From the Gallery website: “Set against the backdrop of the historic referendum on Scotland’s Independence, Beyond the Border brings together four Scottish photographers, each with a distinctive view of a nation in the midst of intense debate about its future.
This international premiere – one of the most significant shows of new Scottish photography in a generation – aims to challenge clichés and explore the country, its people and identity.”
Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert’sEdge of an Empire brings history to life in a fascinating study of the Antonine Wall, the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire, as the wall crosses through central Scotland attracting visitors and living history groups alike.
Sophie Gerrard’sDrawn to the Land is an intimate look at the role woman play in shaping the rural Scottish landscape. From Highland crofters to Lowland farmers, Gerrard explores how their lives interrelate with the land in which they live and work.
Stephen McLaren reveals the world of Americans with Scottish ancestry who retain close affinity with the ‘Old Country’, even through they may never set foot there. McLaren’s seriesAmerican Always, Scottish Forever depicts the athletes, musicians, artists, and visitors attending California’s burgeoning Highland Games season.
Colin McPherson presents A Fine Line, a year-long exploration of the physical border between Scotland and England, examining and questioning the very nature of the frontier and how it looks from the Scottish side.
Together, the four photographers are Document Scotland, a collective formed in 2012. Sophie Gerrard says, ‘We share a common vision to witness and photograph the important and diverse stories within Scotland, and to promote and support photography in Scotland’. Colin McPherson says, ‘the work in Beyond the Border is neither overtly political nor partisan, but aims to record and disseminate ideas and themes surrounding this pivotal moment in the nation’s history’.
The vote to decide whether Scotland becomes an independent nation takes place on 18th September 2014.
Beyond the Border is curated by Impressions Gallery’s Scottish-born director Anne McNeill.
Recently I was commissioned by L’Express in France to photograph a story on the forthcoming referendum on Scottish independence, and yesterday the pdf of the magazine spread popped into my mailbox… Merci beaucoup!
On 3rd July we held an opening party at the Gallery, which was well attended by friends new and old, as well as family. Thank you all for coming! The evening was kindly sponsored by Tunnocks who supplied 300 of their famous Scottish chocolate wafer biscuits.
Our show was opened by Anne McNeill of Impressions Gallery, with an added great touch that Annie Lyden, International Curator of Photography at the National Galleries of Scotland, journeyed down from Edinburgh to also say a few words and to discuss the work and open the show. Thank you both Anne and Annie!
Below are a few images of the show and the opening day festivities.
The show runs until September 27th.
Stephen McLaren’s ‘American Always, Scottish Forever’.
Annie Lyden awaits her turn of the microphone!
Showtime #1 – Going The Distance.
‘Going The Distance’ opens to the public tomorrow, Monday 7th July…!
My work on show at Going The Distance, Harbour Arts Centre, Irvine, Scotland.
The description and theme of the show is “Sport, like art, is a universal language, it is part of our everyday lives, and a feature of our society’s diverse cultural life, involving people of all abilities and backgrounds. This exhibition, which takes place in two venues across North Ayrshire coincides with the Commonwealth Games in Scotland and celebrates the exceptional and the commonplace in sport”.
Featured Photographers: Ande Murdoch, Bob Wark, Christopher Hogge, Hugh Walker, Ian McLean, Jane Stockdale, John Frew, Keith Ingham, Mary Freeman, Michael Maclean, Robin Mitchell, Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert, Gillian Sweeney.
So it was a few nights ago as I set up my backdrop, a la Richard Avedon’s In The American West, and awaited the arrival of the people I would immortalise photograph, and hey ho, who should walk past as I waited, none other than Tina the goose.
The photograph comes from my Instagram feed @JshPhotog, please join me there to see little snippets of life as I’m out and about on photographic assignments, thanks.