‘In This Place’ looks at family and home, connections and place, touching on issues of social and personal inertia.
Over 20 years after her first project, Family (1994), Margaret Mitchell returned to photograph her sister’s three children—Steven, Kellie and Chick—and update the story of where their lives have taken them in adulthood. The resulting work traces the narrative of their present-day lives and that of their own children. In the intervening years, their mother has died, and all the children from the earlier project have moved from one estate poised to undergo urban regeneration to another, where they live in pockets yet to be touched by redevelopment.
‘In This Place’ raises questions about choice—do we have choices in life, or are some predetermined and made for us?
Where a ‘place’ can be both mental and physical; a place we put ourselves and where we are put, sometimes by others and sometimes by circumstance? What puts us there, what keeps us there and do we want to be there?
Life feels somewhat static in the housing estates of central Scotland; as the world changes, the lives portrayed here remain relatively still and immobile. Within this social landscape, movement has occurred—but only from one area that scores high in government statistics on deprivation to another. A simple bus ride across town.
This is a personal yet universally relatable story of family, loss, love & survival set within a wider socio-economic context. Against a backdrop of parental loss and limited opportunities, there is a glue that binds the original three children together now as adults—living in similar flats, in the same area—intertwined and interdependent as they were as children in 1994. The family renews; it endures.
'In This Place' (2016/17) updates the lives from the work ‘Family’ (1994), a series of images of the photographer’s sister and her children.
Full project text below.