Since the end of last year I’ve found myself spending more and more time in Scotland, particularly Edinburgh. Whilst overseas work continues to be a great passion and I am fortunate to have a job which will always necessitate trips to far away places, exploring new stories and gaining insight into people’s lives, for now, I find myself increasingly focusing my attention nearer to home.
I’ve been splitting my time between Edinburgh and London for a while now. There have been editorial assignments and jobs in Scotland, as well as commissions in and around London and the south east. Since my three colleagues and I established Document Scotland, I’ve been shooting a lot of new work and travelling all over Scotland for both personal projects and also to meet with new and inspiring photography contacts. I’ve been working on projects in London and presenting work alongside Slideluck London, Miniclick in Brighton as well as with the gallery that have represented me for 6 years, The Photographers’ Gallery. In the autumn term of 2012, I was a visiting lecturer at Edinburgh Napier University, a fantastic experience which taught me a lot and allowed me to see the students through a great term of documentary photography to the production of some excellent projects. I also presented work at Hereford College of the Arts and talked to the students there as well as giving a similar presentation with Document Scotland at The School of Scottish Studies in Edinburgh. Personal commitments have also given me reason to be in two places at once as it were, there have been important people to spend time with in both. It’s involved quite a juggle.
Partly, those contributing factors have made me feel more and more at home in each city, given me a real sense of place and the travelling in between has felt quite freeing. I look out of the train window as I travel up and down on the east coast at the sea and the cliffs and the waves and I think - there are worse office views. That journey has given me a real sense of geography, of knowing where I am. At times, however, this dual existence has been slightly more unnerving. It’s left me with a feeling of restlessness, of unease and that something isn’t quite right.
I’ve tried to make sense of this, to articulate it, and to organise my thoughts and put them in neat little labelled boxes - but you know, that doesn’t work for me. Then I remember, the great thing about photography is that often, it can help you address questions. It can be used as a tool to explore, to go wandering and to stop and think.
So, a while ago I decided it might be time to stop trying to make sense of it all in my mind - and instead to make photographs about it.
With the working title of ‘Homecoming’ I’m embarking upon a new and on-going project about the communities, people and places which evoke a sense of place for me. Sometimes, that feeling is a familiar one, and sometimes not, there aren’t necessarily any themes. Sometimes I photograph strangers, people I meet for a fleeting second as they walk past my front door, sometimes it’s views, of places I’ve looked at a thousand times since my childhood. Whatever this project is, it’s personal, it’s new and it’s finding it’s feet and tentatively putting a toe in the water. Here are a few images ….