Because We’re Here

‘We’re here because we’re here’ saw around 1400 voluntary participants dressed in First World War uniform appear in locations across the UK on the 1st of July 2016. Each participant represented an individual soldier who was killed on that day one hundred years before. The day long event marked the centenary of the Battle of the Somme and the 19,240 men killed on the first day.

Curated by 14-18 NOW and directed by Jeremy Deller, the work collaborated with a number of host organisations and covered the width and breadth of the UK, from Shetland to Plymouth visiting shopping centres, train stations, beaches, car parks and high streets – taking the memorial to contemporary Britain and bringing an intervention into people’s daily lives where it was least expected.

I worked alongside the National Theatre of Scotland and was commissioned to document the day long activities in Glasgow city. I followed the regiments along high streets, train platforms, concourses, escalators, motorway overpasses, derelict sites and up and down Glasgow’s unforgiving hills. Under the shadows of monolith buildings and out into the rare sun, by bench or bus stop, the procession went. I followed the turned heads and silent contemplation of a city to a cacophony of hard boots into the long Scottish summer dusk.