I grew up during the 90s in Livingston, one of Scotland’s “new towns”. Imagine roundabouts, cul-de-sacs and council underfunding. We usually had to make our own fun, so at some point I taught myself how to use a camera—I’ve carried one ever since. Thanks for the life changing birthday present, Mum. For years I didn’t show my pictures to anyone except friends. Things changed in my mid twenties when I watched ‘Everybody Street’ by Cheryl Dunn. It felt like Joel Meyerowitz and the other NYC photographers in the film reached into my brain, pulled out everything I thought I knew about photography and told me how to start over. So I did.
I take pictures of real life. I like saying that because it’s a stupid phrase that’s kind of true and kind of a lie. The truth is, my pictures are about real people in real places—there’s a documentary element to them. The lie, I think, comes from having something to say. I’m biased, I’m opinionated, I could never be a journalist. The beauty of street photography is that I don’t have to tell the whole truth. I think it’s more exciting and rewarding to (mis)direct the viewer towards alternate realities. When this pays off the resulting picture feels more real and more meaningful than what actually happened.
Currently: whenever it’s raining or a Queen dies. Usually: every day unless I have a really good excuse. The hard work is being there when stuff happens.
My local park. In the past it was a Victorian pleasure ground with grand fountains, gardens and an iconic glass structure called the Crystal Palace. One night in the 1930s somebody “dropped a cigarette” and the palace burned to the ground. The surrounding park has been in varying states of decline ever since. When I visit I feel part of something bigger than me. It’s somewhere I can return day after day, noticing the overlooked and discovering the unexpected. After working in the park for two years it’s started to feel like home.
Because I have to!