INSTAMATIC is a photo-audio nocturne; a story in progress, that has still to reach a conclusion. It was created by Khursheed Ali & myself, through a series of late night wanderings around the streets and alleyways of pandemic stricken New Delhi, and Glasgow in 2020. Why make it? In these strange times of isolation and ever decreasing social circles it feels more important than ever to reach out and connect.
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Photography has always played an important part in my work for stage and page.
Goats on the Roof, (short story, Gutter Magazine 2012) took shape as I looked at an untitled 1954 photograph by W.Eugene Smith and wondered what lay beyond its frame. The Dark Room (The Arches Theatre 1999) was a play inspired by Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida, and by the origins of that ground-breaking collective of international photographic storytellers, Magnum.
Tick One Box (Ankur Productions 2014) delved into the family photo album, while the starting point of another play, One Straight Line (A Play A Pie & A Pint, 2011) was the work of artist/ photographer Richard Long. A brief but crucial episode in my first novel Blessed Assurance, (Vagabond Voices, tbc 2018/19) concerns a late night encounter between the 11 year protagonist, Joseph Kirkland and a mysterious American landscape photographer.
Going back further, when I went to East 15 Acting School in the 80s, the book at the top of the recommended reading list was not, as you might expect, Stanislavsky’s An Actor Prepares, but the seminal work of art criticism, Ways of Seeing by John Berger, whose lifelong fascination photography is well known. Imagine my delight then, when immediately upon leaving East 15 I was lucky enough to work with John Berger and his long-time collaborator, photographer Jean Mohr, on Tim Neat’s award winning Play Me Something. (see below), a film which celebrates, among other things, photography and storytelling.
I make photographs for musicians, performers, poets, publishers, theatre, television festivals, individuals and collectives. But mostly I make photographs to satisfy my restless curiosity and to chronicle events.
“Well, I am a dilettante. It’s only in England that dilettantism is considered a bad thing. In other countries it’s called interdisciplinary research.” Brian Eno
Photography Credits – a slection:
- Instamatic – The Occasion – Street & Performance Photographs
- Celtic Connections – BBC Alba – Performance Photographs
- Glasgow Life/Ward 18/ Tramway – Documentary & Video
- Faber & Faber – Cover Art
- Lady Salsa – Havana, Cuba Documentary & Production stills.
- Preacher Man – Malawi, East Africa , Documentary & Production Stills
- Vagabond Voices – Author Book Jacket Portraits & Video/Still Documentary
- Q Poetics – Commonwealth Games 2015 – Documentary stills /video
- International Workshop Festival – Manipur, India – Documentary stills
- Theatre – Production & Publicity – various theatre productions
- Portraits – Actors head shots – various
- Music – Album cover stills for Annie Grace. Alyth McCormack, Ali McCrae, Blue Flint & others