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.
All that is Blog
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 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.
Thanks to St Andrews Photography Festival who are showing some of my work throughout the month of September 2017.
I popped up for the launch and had great chat with passing people as I was taking some pics of the work. There are 12 images from 'In This Place' on show along The Scores which overlooks the East Sands in the town. The full program can be seen on the festival's website.
I am absolutely thrilled to find out I am a finalist in the Renaissance Photography Prize 2017 with a series of images from 'In This Place'. This prize raises money for a great cause and I am honoured to have been selected as a finalist. Congratulations to all the finalists and those shortlisted for the awards, you can see all the work on the Renaissance website. The exhibition will take place at the Getty Images Gallery in London from the 10th – 21st October 2017.
I was thrilled to find out that my image of Steven was awarded 2nd Place in the single image category of 'Defining Family' at the Kuala Lumpur International Photoawards.
The launch is on 9 September 2017, from 5 to 7pm with the exhibition running from 9th - 19th September 2017 at the Whitebox gallery, PUBLIKA in Kuala Lumpur.
It's Nice That got in touch recently for an interview about In This Place and Family projects. Thanks to Rebecca Fulleylove who wrote a really nice piece on the work. Amongst other things I was asked about the challenges in doing the work as well as recounting what it was like to photograph my family back in 1994. For me this type of work - as most photography - carries a large amount of responsibility with it, in both representing correctly and involving throughout the people that are photographed. That is a separate post in itself and one I'll get round to writing as it is massively important to the way I work.
One of my portraits from In This Place has been shortlisted as a finalist for the Kuala Lumpur International Photoawards. The portrait is of Steven that I took in January 2017. I am really excited to be a finalist for this award whose theme this year is "Defining Family'. Winners will be announced in mid July and the exhibition is on in September. I'll post more details later. I also want to write about why having this particular photo shortlisted means a lot to me. That's for my next post!
Thank you to Photomonitor the review of In This Place as part of the group show 'Ambit: Photographies from Scotland' at Street Level Photoworks.
'A stand out work is Margaret Mitchell's In This Place, an intimate family documentary that also relates to huge social and political questions.... Stunning environmental portraits balance vulnerability and strength, and interior and exterior details of their homes reveal a sense of stasis, alternating between frustration and acceptance. A limited edition newsprint publication accompanies the work, and gallery visitors who don't at least flip through it are missing out. Beautifully constructed text adds important nuances and background on these individual's stories, relating them to wider questions of class, urban renewal, and as the artist says 'choice -do we have choices in life or are some predetermined to an extent and made for us?'
Clare Samuel, from her review of Ambit in Photomonitor
Ambit is a new partnership between Street Level Photoworks and Stills, Scotland’s public venues dedicated to photography. The exhibition will be presented across both venues as a joint venture embracing some of the current tendencies and innovative talent from the art photography sector in Scotland.
Margaret Mitchell's In This Place looks at family and home, connections and place and touches on issues of social and personal inertia. Behind a personal familial connection sits a larger narrative of social mobility, environment and choice. Do we have choices in life or are some predetermined to an extent and made for us?
Fundamentally, this is a story of people’s lives: what they do and what they want. Where the ‘place’ is both mental and physical: where 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?