I love working for clients whose causes I admire. I recently finished the images for the ‘Are You With Us” campaign for Shelter Scotland. The campaign asks the public to support signing a petition to ensure that housing rights are recognised as a human right under Scots Law. Please sign if you can.
“PhotoForum is a series of inspirational talks about the world of photography. Margaret Mitchell is a Scottish documentary and portrait photographer featured in FORMAT Festival, whose work is held in the collection of the National Galleries of Scotland. She will be talking about Family & In This Place, a portrait documentary project that covers one family over 22 years. Through this extended observation, the series asks questions about the choices we have in life and if they are ultimately predetermined by upbringing, locality and socio-economic position.”
I will be talking about my work including the projects, Family 1994 and In This Place 2016/17, which were recently exhibited at Format 2019
The PhotoForum takes place at QUAD - Derby on Thursday 23 May at 18:30.
I am very pleased to be showing a selection of work at the Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool as part of the exhibition Kinship. Alongside my prints is a slideshow video especially made for the show giving some more background and images from the projects Family and In This Place.
Kinship runs from 9th May to 7th July with work from myself, Pixy Liao, Lydia Goldblatt, Johanna Heldebro, Jenny Lewis and Momo Okabe.
I’m very excited to have been selected as one of the two photographers for Slideluck Editorial’s Leica Award.
“LFI - Leica Fotografie International's picture editor Carol Körting chose the two photographers who will be able to complete a future project with Leica equipment from the LFI loan pool: the Dutch photographer Tara Fallaux, whose entry Wild Poppy touched on beauty ideals and expectations in China and Scottish photographer Margaret Mitchell, whose project In This Place revolves around family ties in a world of social injustice.”
I am very much looking forward to starting on a new body of work through this opportunity in 2019.
Read more on the Leica Fotografie International website
I’m continuing this series on children that has been dipped in and out of for the last while. I made a decision to work in black and white for this series, liking the idea of stripping back from all that colour again to see what might result. We’ll see.
I recently did an interview with Then There Was Us and they asked why I photograph children so much. It was interesting to consider why I continue to photograph children after more than 25 years in photography. It is because they intrigue me, I am fascinated by their worlds and the stories that lie within.
I am excited to have been selected for the Slideluck Editorial tour along with nine other photographers. A multimedia piece of ‘In This Place’ will be presented as part of Slideluck Editorial’s 'Love Me Tender' projection starting off at DocField Barcelona on the closing evening at Palau Robert on 5th December. It will then travel to Brazil for the Fotofestival Solar on the 8th before travelling onto more venues including Lagos and Bari in 2019.
I was honoured to be asked to be involved in the Invisible Britain: Portraits of Hope and Resilience book earlier on in the year. Such a strong team of people organising with a great bunch of photographers and participants telling poignant and absorbing stories. You can read more about it all over on the Invisible Britain website.
'People don’t want to be felt sorry for, they just want to be heard'
I photographed Marie and her daughter Olivia on Easter Sunday. Marie was dressed in her lovely yellow shirt, returning from church - ‘a happy colour’ she said. She is one of the strongest people I have met who has been through numerous challenges in her life and works tirelessly in the community for other people. Her own living circumstances see her remain on the economic breadline but after years of volunteering she is now working two days a week for a local charity, doing great things at a community bakery in a high rise flat in the Gorbals. Marie recounts her story in the book alongside over 40 other people.
“Most of what I have was given to me”
Photographing Marie opens up many questions in photography: about representation, about dignity; perhaps challenging what some viewers expect those who live under the poverty line to look like. Photography is powerful and must be part of redressing the stereotypes, the cliches, the expected. It is a long and interesting conversation - one I look forward to expanding on.
The book is released on November the 1st and Marie will join myself, Paul Sng and Kat Dlugosz at the Filmhouse on the 10th of November on the panel. As a founding activist of The Poverty Truth Commission here in Glasgow, I look forward to the discussion and expert information that Marie will offer the audience.
I’m really pleased to have been able to pull the last three Halloween’s worth of photographs into a newsprint publication this year. The full project and background information can be seen on the website here whilst some images from the newsprint can be seen below.
The participants - the guisers - will be given a copy of the paper as a keepsake and thank you for taking part. Guising is a fantastic and meaningful centuries-old tradition in Scotland. The photographs allow us briefly into that childhood world again - a child’s mind - as well as becoming a document of their time with 60 guisers taking part.
The 16 page publication is printed on lovely 90gsm bright white paper and copies are available to purchase online here from me.
Group exhibition: Exchanges: Dialogue, Hesitation & Creation June 23 - September 16, 2018
I have work on show as part of "BRAVE: The Festival of Risk and Failure" at Artport Gallery, Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. A result of the Feminist Photography Network’s Online Residency which revolved around monthly deadlines, feedback on work-in-progress, and peer motivation.
I am showing finished work as well as outtakes and 'process' work including for the first time a short movie showing my digital diary for the series In This Place. This shows behind-the-scenes snaps, image 'sketches' and ideas as they progressed during the project, all shot on my phone.
I was asked by the lovely folk at Art On a Postcard to donate some work for their event at this year's Photo London. Their initiative raises money for the Hepatitis C Trust and is supported by many artists and photographers. I was delighted to contribute these two images, selected because they are mother and daughter, 23 years apart.
Chick at age 5 (Leah's mum)
Leah at age 11, on her Primary 7 Prom Night
I am delighted that a series of images from 'In This Place' was 2nd Place in Contemporary Issues at the Sony World Photography Awards. The exhibition is on at Somerset House in London until the 6th May 2018 showing work from across all the awards. In This Place looks at how life has turned out for my late sister’s children and grandchildren. It traces their loves and losses and offers a broader commentary on Scotland and social inequality. I hope viewers will be left with some questions about how society operates, about the role of opportunity and environment, about issues around (in)equality.
I was interviewed about my work shortlisted in the Sony World Photography Awards for the Art Bahrain magazine. Here's a few photos of the Spring|Summer 18 edition - the interview is also available online.
"I hope that people will look at the project in two ways. Firstly, at the lives that are lived and the individuals in the images. That they see the love, the connection, the resilience but also see the loss, the difficulty. Secondly, I hope viewers will be left with some questions about how society operates, about the role of opportunity and environment, about issues around (in)equality."
It's quite interesting to have a project being exhibited in different places whilst at the same time continuing to work on parts of it. Work from 'In This Place' could probably be considered quite finished in some ways but in my own life it continues, new work produced. How to wrap up a project that doesn't quite feel like it should wrap up? This is no ordinary project for me, this is personal and because of that it has a life of its own. I work on it every few months, off and on, when it feels right, when it is possible. There are relationships within this work, I am an auntie and great-auntie, we are connected. I am the insider. I am the outsider.
I usually let work sit there before I do anything with it. It sits on my computer screen and I look at it, or perhaps it looks at me. I do small workprints from the local photo shop and stick them on my wall. I live with them, am surrounded by them. Perhaps immersed.
I'm delighted that work from 'In This Place' is shortlisted in this year’s Sony World Photography Awards in the Professional Category: Contemporary Issues. Finalists and winners will be announced at the awards night on the 19th of April 2018 with the exhibition opening at Somerset House in London from April 20th. I will be joining Mike Trow, Nick Dolding and Tim Cornbill to talk about the awards at The Photography Show in Birmingham on the 18th March.
I wrote a piece for the National Galleries of Scotland recently on my experience and thoughts on photographing my own family members. The blog talks about the two series Family and In This Place of which six photographs can be seen at the current exhibition When We Were Young at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. It was interesting to reflect on this work and discuss photography, representation and the responsibility we have to others when photographing them.
I am delighted that six of my photos have been acquired by the National Galleries of Scotland for their collection - two images from 'Family' (1994) and four from 'In This Place' (2016/7). It is a really nice selection from the projects which tells a story across three generations from my family. Weaving its way from my late sister Andrea, through her youngest daughter Chick and onto Chick’s daughter Leah.
Below you can see the selection from the projects made by Anne Lyden, International Photography Curator at the National Galleries of Scotland. Displayed first is Andrea holding a photograph of her children (including Chick) in front of her face back in 1994. An additional photo of the three children, slightly younger, can be seen on the wall behind her. Chick is then shown in the kitchen as a child in 1994 and then nowadays, as an adult, at the back of her flats. The next image shows Chick with her arms around her own daughter Leah. Finally the environment of Leah is pictured: firstly as a portrait of Leah out the back of the flats were she lives and then inside the flat, a photo of her pink room with the broken window. The boarded-up part of the window decorated with felt pen by Leah - to make it more beautiful, to make it fit in with her room, including the words “Leah ♡ Dadd”.
These six images succinctly convey a strand from my family’s story - a story that raises questions on choices in life and the influence of opportunity and environment on that choice.
The photos are included in the current show at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery ‘When We Were Young: Photographs of Childhood from the National Galleries of Scotland’ which is on until 13 May 2018.
I am completely thrilled and honoured to be announced as the Gold Award winner in the 160th edition of the RPS International Photography Exhibition. Four images from In This Place were selected for the award. Congratulations to my fellow award winners and exhibitors.
"The RPS IPE is the world’s longest running photographic exhibition. For the first time, all four medals, Gold, Under 30s Gold, Silver, and Bronze, have been awarded to photographers who entered photographic work from a series.
Glasgow based photographer Margaret Mitchell has won the Gold Award for her series of images entitled In This Place. Taken from an emotive portrait project focusing on Mitchell’s family, the images trace the lives of her sister’s children growing up in central Scotland, dealing with issues of family, loss and survival.
IPE 160 Selector, curator Zelda Cheatle, commented: “Margaret Mitchell’s images are made from the heart. They speak of this modern world we live in, there is a sincerity and depth of emotion to this work that resonates long beyond the initial view.”
There will be a touring exhibition which opens at The Old Truman Brewery as part of PHOTOBLOCK 13 - 16 October 2017, before continuing to other venues.