Valencia14 - eoincarey_09
Its almost too cliché to bear to say that I am always re-learning my relationship to photography. But it’s true. A year is enough time for the ground to shift significantly for me, but also for the medium. This blog is a good example. In the world of broadcasting images, even a well tended and lovingly updated online diary struggles for traction next to the manifold digital highway. The internet isn’t a slow place anymore. And its permeation day to day makes our lives feel the same, distracted to the point of distraction. And so this place lies dormant, unable to match the speed my mind and my work move at.
But a year has passed nonetheless. So this post is no attempt to explain away the decline of the blog, nor is it a typical review of a year complete with boastful proclamations and grand ambitions. After all, it is about the only time of year we are allowed to think slowly about the past and the future, as we transition into a new year. It remains as ever, just another thankful nod to the camera. The constant change that my eye is always noting. Fastening down faint irregularities and profound expressions beyond the point of memory. As I think about all the activity ahead, there is a deep gratitude for all the little things I see and the stories I begin to tell, the non-moments that stop me. Frames of someone else’s world that build up the small picture, of what it is to be living in 2015.

Hawaii, Glasgow
Glasgow Market
Single tandem, Amsterdam

Glasgow bus station
Highlands Scotland

Brighton Pier
Dog Tongue

Glasgow Skyrise
Bus Stop

The Phantom Band

Rock & Roll, they say, is all glamour.

It’s a good thing that this is all lies and that The Phantom Band don’t exactly fall under the simplified banner of rock. Them, their music and even their name have never been simplified, so why should a photoshoot be straightforward?

To coincide with the release of their third album Strange Friend,  The Skinny asked if I could shoot the band for the latest cover and in Dumbarton. Enter stage right: two car loads of Phantoms and myself, on the road west one sunny Sunday afternoon, what could be simpler? In the run up to shoots like this I always like to prepare. I pencil down visual ideas or a theme and check out artwork. I was sent a clandestine link to the new album which I listened to in complete darkness. I packed and repacked my gear like a sherpa. I even had time for some chakra vowel chanting before meeting the guys. The band though, were suffering from their side-project obligations from the night before and had used the morning to spontaneously move their entire studio.

Fifteen minutes later, we have bypassed Dumbarton looking for a good location, made every wrong turn and both cars are now totally separated in an Exodus scale downpour. Unimaginably, the only constant to the shoot is our original idea to eat some ice creams by the seaside. We career into the first sodden, seafront we find. A phalanx of Phantoms head off to find somewhere for ice-creams and to genuinely buy chips, priorities. As always, at the height of the struggle, from the wall of rain emerges the most enthusiastic local out for his Sunday rain walk who see’s our head scratching as an opportunity for the chat of a lifetime. By the time the band are back, shielding their dissolving ice-creams with takeaway bags, we’ve been on the go for 2 hours. But we’ve had chips.

Fifteen minutes later, Helensburgh pier is littered with flakes of sodden cone wafer and streams of ice-cream runoff. The sky and the sea are the exact same colour and the rain has charmed its way inside my camera making all my pictures look like we are in a turkish bath. Except we aren’t, and to our further disbelief Andy’s car battery has died during the shoot. What a scene this must have looked from above as me and Iain push-start the car and it rolls to a halt in the centre of a lagoon of rainwater. A lucky set of jump leads at hand we wait wringing with monsoon, listening to the revs of a very low fuel tank from the other end wondering if we need to start thinking about something more substantial then chips.

Back on the road and soaking the upholstery, the guys all kick back and get talking about albums and afterpartys with no afterthought to the shoot as if this was as ordinary a day in the life of The Phantom Band as they come.


Artist Residence – Aloha Glasgow

I am almost at the end of my current three week residency with Team Effort! in Glasgow’s southside. A residency is an exciting thing. It is business as usual really, but with a hard focus, and a hard deadline. Two things I sorely crave when I can focus on personal work. I have taken these 3 weeks to break from my commercial diary to focus on, and actually begin from scratch, a project I have wanted to try for a long time. I don’t say “try” lightly. The project itself ticks all boxes of Team Effort’s “ethos of exploration, risk-taking and collaboration” and I cannot put enough stress on the risk-taking.
Since this project is in two parts I wanted to explain a bit more about it and its background. I have split it into two parts, I am just finishing the R&D phase. The notion of a breezy holiday tripping through Glasgow’s galleries have been quickly dismissed! Instead, my research here has been hard currency. It has been pavement pounding, door knocking, emails and phone calls. The life of a producer, and not much a photographer (bit of a running joke here.) But for what I want to achieve, it is the approach.
The working name of my project is PARADISE and its aim is to explore notions of identity, of veracity and, most urgently of all, of Glasgow. Its practical aims though are to visit everyday scenes of city life and dress everyone within in a Hawaiian shirt. Anyone familiar with my other personal work won’t even bat an eye. Part of my learnings these last few weeks have been deeply personal, and it would appear that the only projects worth my salt are those that are only as preposterous as they are ambitious.
For this work, I am drawing on the early colour photography and practice of John Hinde. Photographer/ ringmaster/ visual embellisher extraordinaire, Hinde is widely known for his saccharine and idealistic scenic representations of Ireland and the UK. He was commissioned by Butlins Holiday Camps during the1960’s to impart his signature saturation to a series of postcards depicting the ceaseless delight of the resorts. He worked as a director, with a team that would pose holidaymakers and add lighting and props where necessary to crystallise his great modernised Arcadia. Injecting maximum colour into the frame, Hinde’s team would saturate a scene however they could, including carrying a bag of bright shirts to dress anyone too pastel. In its excess and artifice, colour forms an inadvertent caricature of the setting of the images.
Fast forward to Glasgow. Here is a city that seems a living caricature. A historical and modern city, it wears itself openly. It visually balances its past with its future in an immediate, hacksaw affect; splicing old merchant sectors with motorways and modern housing. A city infinitely grey, commercial, derelict and rain-soaked, but electric with personality, character, creativity, myth and legend. That humour in Glasgow even is antipodean, renowned as dark and deadpan, wit becomes an intrinsic part of its ambiguous character. These romantic contradictions were my first impressions of Glasgow when I started to visit for work years ago. And it is these naive and flawed assumptions that I wish to nourish for this project.
Drawing on, and frankly inverting, Hinde’s approach have begun creating caricature scenes of Glasgow’s sub-urban life. I want to inject disproportionate colour into packed, mundane scenes in pubs, bus stops, pool halls, care centres, chippies, the park, tea rooms, art classes and the streets of the city, by dint of a wardrobe of colourful shirts. Faithful to Hinde, I am shooting everything on large format colour film. I wanted to draw individuals, communities and organisations in to an art project that presents a humorous, relevant image of the city. Where Hinde set out to use colour to create a hyper-reality, I am creating a sur-reality.
The good news is, the hardest part is almost done. After an electric three weeks, I have bounded forward. Over the next few weeks when everything returns to chaos, I will have results to show that take me to the next chapter. This is a collaborative project, and in the not too distant future, I will be calling for helpers, assistants, collaborators and conspirators who like the feel of a Hawaiian shirt and know where to find Glasgow’s intangible colour.

Artist Residence – Before Colour

Time flies when you’re having fun. Before I know it it is Tuesday again. A dusty carbon sky hangs over Glasgow.
So where has this week seen me? Detailing my project with Team Effort! and opening my eyes to Glasgow. I have spent the last 5 days engaged in my favourite activity. I have walked the streets of the city and watched, as if in slow-motion, the grey throb and heavy unfurling of urban life day to day. Since my very first vista of the city, I have always maintained a naive perspective on what makes it so rare a place. On its exterior it is a portrait of bleakness. Modernity and urban sprawl at its most literal,  it is like an unfinished masterpiece. Great angular citadels tower above the rain gloss asphalt, while below a tumult of limbs and commerce drown the great unrequited cry of crumbling heritage. A city infinitely grey, commercial, derelict and rain-soaked, yet, within the structure, it is electric with personality, character, creativity and myth. That humour too is renowned as dark and deadpan in Glasgow, wit becomes an intrinsic part of its colourful and ambiguous character. These romantic contradictions were my first impressions of Glasgow six years ago and it is these naive assumptions that hold me to my current project.
What I am working on is an exploration of colour. I am working to a slower and more traditional pace on large format film. January is both the most and least ideal time for this project to develop. I have spent the last week walking through the city at its most grey, searching for locations and framing up a shotlist, all the while remembering its hidden colour. The picture above sits over my desk as a reminder. My project here is to find a way under the surface, to find Glasgow in bloom with its own native colour. A colour that I hope to show everyone in the next two weeks if we can see past the fog.

Artist in Residence – Raw Materials

Aloha from Glasgow! I have just settled down for my first of three weeks as an Artist in Residence in Southside Studios with the eponymous Team Effort! I was accepted for the position before Christmas and am delighted to say I am the first of their eight resident-ees for the year 2014.
As an opportunity it is brilliant, but it is fully loaded! I have given this blog a colourful touch-up for the duration of my project here and I expect to be dusting off my lack-of-posting-finger and using this as a place to update on my projects development, my research and the general Bon Temps! of working life in the studios. I very much expect this to be an open and honest forum for me. This is the first Residency I have ever participated in, I am in unfamiliar territory and I have a lot to achieve during my short stay. On top of that, the dates for the project were decided just before Christmas, so my head is still spinning that I am here so soon.
For now, it is me, an empty space and a bag of Hawaiian shirts as the raw materials to develop this project from nothing. These three weeks are the first leg of a two stage collaborative project. Collaboration and conversation go hand in hand for me so can I extend an invite to anyone local who wants to call in for a cuppa and a tour. I’m here all week *boom boom*


Another blast from the past. Every time I collect new film I am stopped in my tracks. Every time a reminder of what this whole thing is about. Photography for me is still learning, still my main mode of discovery.

Over the last few months I have made lamentable starts at writing posts to apologise for the blog silence and account for the dip in updates. Really tragic writing actually. Some great apologia,and in the end I don’t even have room for photos. In reality, it turns out, I’ve not had the time or the enthusiasm to write about what I work hard and enthusiastically at all week. This ol’ blog has always been an archivist and diary to my heady, chaotic activity. But by the time I sit down to sift through my thoughts on a project, I have already moved on to the next two. Of the things I should always be writing about, is photography’s great brotherly companionship showing us how to keep exploring. Not specific to any camera, or any format, the very act is still universally thrilling.

So hey! I am once again drawn back to earth. Not the commissions or work that I finished in the last two weeks, but small iridescent rectangles of emulsion that I shoot at important points on my search for new ideas. They document and promise nothing but humble, forgettable microseconds in my own travels. There are no stories, nothing to sell.What is here in these rolls, are the beginnings of a documenting of Glasgow’s Southside. Something, I hope in time, I will talk a lot more about. Here is a place I am drawn to like gravity. Its latent, hidden colour and personality are heralding an adventure. For now, film still has a place at my side.

Irn Bru

Govanhill Demolition, Glasgow

Govan Demolition, Glasgow


eoin carey
I shot CHVRCHES for this month’s cover of The Skinny
We all deserve a hardy pat on the back for this one: turning a blustery, overcast Glasgow evening into an awesome colourful set of images. 
And Heckle of the Year goes to sweaty jogger guy from about a mile away with: “…X-FACTOR.”
Glasgow, you never disappoint.
eoin carey
CHVRCHES:  Lauren Mayberry, Iain Cook, Martin Doherty

eoin carey, Glasgow Science Centre

eoin carey, Glasgow Science Centre

eoin carey, Glasgow Science Centre

eoin carey

eoin carey



This weekend ushers in the end of The Arches Behavior Festival for 2013. A heady five weeks of completely new work for the stage from Scottish and international artists. Eclectic and contemporary as only the Arches can, even the term “stage” is only applied loosely. This year saw a new creative partnership come to fruition between the Arches and NTS, which I am very indebted to have been involved in from early on.

The project gave five rising Scottish devisers an opportunity to research, incubate and perform new work at the festival. Each with their own developing trademarks and disciplines, some of them out and out rogues, but all of them auteurs of their craft. Having had the chance to meet them together for the school portrait lineup for a feature in The List, I was brimming to shoot all of their performances individually over the course of the month.

First was Gary McNair’s brilliantly referential investigation into stand-up comedy: Donald Robertson is not a Comedian.

Kieran Hurley explored notions of community and ideals of Scottishness in, effectively, a living room jamboree. Intimate and foot tapping: Rantin

Claire Cunningham’s ongoing curiosity in the body brought her to and back from Cambodia to begin a work meditating on the effects of landmines. A framework of disability through which the indiscriminate excess of war can be viewed from a humble perspective: Pink Mist

Finally, Rob Drummond’s centenary revisiting of Stravinsky’s Rites of Spring, through a screen of contemporary dance and music as well as recent societal dysfunctions. Leaving the outcome in the hands of the audience: The Riots of Spring

There have been heaps of great writing documenting the Festival, but for a succinct in house perspective check out Rosie’s blog.


New year, new you,etc….CHIPS.

Only the 8th of January and I’ve already ticked off an entire new year’s resolution. Oh dear.
I promised myself last year to shoot a cover and hold a solo exhibition in 2013. And Hark, I had the pleasure of shooting The Skinny’s January cover, before the year was even underway.
You’ll notice I say that I had the pleasure. For the man at the other end of the camera, the pleasure was fast transforming into a gastro feat of stodgy stoicism. Rick Redbeard basically ate all the chips.

Better get working on that exhibition then, I might even be able to knock off 6 months early!



Continuing our winter round-up, here is a selection of some live music i have been shooting between here and Glasgow for the Skinny the last few months. 

Gruff Rhys @ The Bongo Club

Muscles of Joy @ Orán Mór

Gillian Welsh @ Clyde Auditorium

The Dirty Dozen with Clean George IV and Riley from Aberfeldy