This image has always been a favourite of mine although it became edited out when I worked on ‘At Sixteen’ originally.
When asking if I could do his photo, this teenager became a little flustered about what to do with his cigarette and so stuck it behind his ear. I only got one shot, unfortunately before he turned away to take another drag.
The ‘At Sixteen’ archive is being scanned and updated and all images will be online (kinda) soon.
I’ve decided to start publishing more random images on the blog. Sometimes they will be something I have just shot that is sitting there not doing much at present and needs a home; sometimes it will be an image from the archive. Older images and snaps which just sat on the blog have been put in here too.
So kicking it off here’s ‘just a photo’.
Over the years I have often photographed my extended family within their own environments. I also sometimes photographed their friends and their relationship with them. This photo is of my niece and nephew taken behind their house in the Raploch in Stirling circa 1992. The Raploch had a – rather unjust – less than glorious reputation for itself and has had significant regeneration over the past decade.
At one stage my mum, sister and brother and their respective families all lived in the Raploch and I knew the area and some of the people quite well. I always found it to be a decent place with decent people and its reputation unfair in its negativity.
Whilst these pictures were taken for personal documentation at the time I can now look at them as situated within a time and a place and what they tell us of that. This vast expanse of grass behind the houses where the kids played was full of mattresses and settees and sometimes empty bottles of cider. People probably complained of needles and dog mess but I cannot remember it being a main issue. Rather there was a freedom in this area of untamed grass and expanse of land where you could run around and jump on old furniture and play. There was a wildness and an adventure to be had.
None of my family live there now. It has been designated Urban Regeneration pathfinder status by the Scottish Executive. It has changed and for those who live there now, it is probably much improved.
Yet some part of me still believes that children might miss those vast expanses of untamed land and the possibilities that lie therein.
Originally, I never included this photo as part of my Tiree Schoolchildren Project but I kept coming back to this boy. I really wanted to get a decent photo of him and it annoyed me that I didn’t quite get what I was trying for (whatever that is…)
As we wandered round the windswept landscape on Tiree, we came across this stookie (plaster cast for those non-Scots out there). The possibilities of where this came from saw me invent many fantastical scenarios in my head. Maybe that’s why I didn’t get my ideal photo…..
Still, I quite like this boy with the “stookie in the landscape” and he is now part of the series, adding something to the experience and feel of Tiree.
As a student, I worked in a Bingo Hall. This photo was taken at the Bingo Christmas Party, a free event for pensioners run by the manager and staff every year.
After this party I made some notes of the events:
“A man collapsed and died whilst we served the entree. Those beside him complained that they were still waiting on their soups. The man lay in the aisle, shirt open, resuscitation in progress. Eventually the punters beside him moved. They took their soup with them”
I met this guy when I was on a short residency in a small village in Poland. He was really helpful in walking me around the village and giving me the background on what kind of place it was.
There was a strange melancholy in the whole experience: from meeting the oldest man alive (as he was known) through to the town drunks who hung around the village square all day. Some I photographed, some not.
The camera gives you this way in to people’s lives and it is a honour to experience that. All the people you meet that you would never have met otherwise, all the conversations and all the shared moments, some deep, some not.
I don’t really get why people go on holiday and take pictures of buildings. That’s it. What’s it all about?
Though you might ask me why some people go on holiday and take pictures of strangers.
Do the building-snappers ever look at their photos afterwards? Or are they just collectors. Though we all are of one sort or another.