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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Wednesday, June 07, 2006
    The Port Glasgow Book Project
     


    A morning meeting in Glasgow to follow up recent work on Iona, and enough time afterwards to eat a lunchtime butty on the sunwashed steps of the Buchanan Galleries while reading the latest edition of Scots arts journal The Drouth.

    Issue 19 features the work of Mark Neville, from The Port Glasgow Book Project, a series of documentary photographs of the area which he published in a 'coffee-table' style book and distributed exclusively - and freely - to all the area's residents (delivered by the 100 members of the local boys' football team).

    The books aren't available elsewhere - the usual purchasers of coffee table art (like me, yes) deliberately denied this by the artist who wanted to use the project to '(subert) conventional ways in which such books are disseminated ... and (question) the way in which social documentary photography sometimes depends on an inherent framework of exploitation.' Only the subjects of the photographs saw them ... and made their responses known to the artist (and his boys club messengers).

    So it was a treat for me to see some of the images, in The Drouth. But in the end I put the mag away and people-watched, on Glasgow's busiest corner at the peak hour of one of Scotland's warmest, brightest days.