Margaret Mitchell is a photographer based in Glasgow. Her overarching interest lies in people and their stories, with childhood, youth, place and belonging often explored in the people and places photographed. The inner and lived worlds of others are central to her photography with her work seeking to portray the individual and their experience. Her work has been exhibited widely, including at the European Parliament and at the National Portrait Gallery as part of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize.
When we came across Margaret's latest project we were struck by the powerful and poignant images, and knew we needed to share it – so we invited her to share some detail on In This Place, and tell us more about the project in her own words.
In This Place looks at family and home, connections and place and touches on issues of social and personal inertia. The project revisits people from a 1994 series of images of the photographer’s sister and her children (the 1994 series can be seen here.)
The story resumes in 2016 with images that trace the narrative of their present lives and that of their own children. In the intervening years, the original three children’s mother has died and they have all started their own families with seven children between them. All have moved from one housing estate in Central Scotland poised to undergo urban regeneration, to another in the same town, where they live in similar flats in random pockets that have yet to be touched by redevelopment.
Life feels static in the housing estates of Central Scotland; as the world changes, the lives of the people in these photographs remains relatively still and immobile. Within this social landscape all that has changed is movement from one area scoring high in The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation to another. A simple bus ride across town.
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? These are the central questions of In This Place.
In This Place can be seen at Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow as part of ‘Ambit: Photographies from Scotland’
22nd April 2017 – 18th June 2017.
All images: © Margaret Mitchell
You can see more of Margaret Mitchell's work on her website here.
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