The Gathering XI at The Glasgow Collective.  

 

I received an email announcing a call out for artists, designers, photographers and architects to showcase work at The Gathering in Glasgow on Saturday 2nd July 2016. I decided that I didn't really want to simply exhibit existing work but to use the opportunity to kick start research for my (possible) dissertation subject at Glasgow School of Art next year - investigating the apparent paranoia and anxiety that surrounds photography today; why it is that anyone with a camera is more or less instantly assumed to be up to no good.  

 

To this end, I thought I would attend the event, brazenly take photographs of people as they arrived and then hopefully engage them in conversation long enough to hand them my leaflet which explained what I wanted from this exercise; responses to my questionnaire in return for access to their photographs on this site, which they could choose to ignore, request a copy, or demand to have deleted.  Their decision would be documented on this site as part of the process - a marker taking the place of any images that had attracted requests for removal.  

 

My experience on the night, and the events of the last few days suggest that this experiment was something of a failure.  Most of the people attending the event were quite happy to have their photograph taken, indeed, seemed to expect it.  I did have some very interesting conversations on the subject of candid 'street' photography, and several people agreed to take my leaflet.  However in the three days since the event, noboby has emailed with responses to my questionnaire with a burning desire to see their images.  I have to wonder if this is because they are so used to the idea that their attendence at such events will be well documented on social media that they don't care about another batch, or if it is to do with the inherent effort required to fill out a questionnaire.  Who has time for that these days?

 

The chances are that it is something to do with both, and that the parameters of my experiment were flawed.  This was me dipping a toe into the research that I want to do for this project so all experiences are valuable, even the ones that yield no results.  At least I know what not to do in future.  

 

Anyway, I present here the images taken on the night at Glasgow Collective.  The idea was that I would sit in one position and take photographs of people as they got close enough for my 50mm lens to get an image I liked.  I knew there would be other people documenting the event but assumed that they would (as I would ordinarily) move around the venue, seeking out the best angles, following the action, looking for the interesting characters.  I wanted a static position so that perhaps people might question what I was doing more.  It might be that such a way of working (on a chair in one place) might attract more attention out in the street.  It didn't seem to faze anyone here!

 

I should also take this opportunity to say thank you to all those at Glasgow Collective and at Scot Street Style who took the time to say hello at The Gathering and make me feel most welcome,  It's never easy barging into a new situation with people you don't know, in an area of Glasgow you're not that familiar with, conducting an experiment you're not sure will yield results - especially when the task you've set yourself expressly negates the opportunity to mingle!  I was kept plied with rather delicious cocktails from The Drinks Cabinet and engaged in interesting conversations.  I do hope I can make the next one!