#Holyrood100

#Holyrood 100 – What’s it all about.

As most of you will know I have recently relocated to Scotland.  One of the key differences I have noticed between England and Scotland is the level and interest of political engagement north of the border.  Last year’s Scottish referendum energised a whole new generation of political activists but also sparked the country into a genuine debate about where it’s headed politically and what the newly devolved powers can mean for the Scottish people.

On the back of all that political activity last year comes the latest general election for the Scottish Parliament.  It really is a defining election that will shape the political future for Scotland for some time to come.  There will be big changes within the chamber itself with turnover of around 35% expected.  Within the election itself a number of questions will be answered; how well will Nicola Sturgeon and her SNP Train do, will they sweep the board effectively wiping out the opposition parties in constituency seats? What is the future for the Labour party in Scotland? Can Kezia Dugdale start to rebuild a future for socialist politics in Scotland or are we witnessing the death of effective left wing opposition in Scotland.  And finally will the right wing tory party steal second place and how will the Euro Referendum affect the party who always seems keen to tear itself apart over the question of the UK in Europe?

So all of this means the scene is set for a very exciting and historic election.  I predominantly photograph live music so suddenly to announce a project around the election might seem on the face of it a slightly odd move.  There are, however a lot of similarities between live music and politics.  Artists and politicians are bot centre stage for a limited time.  Musicians are trying to shift records and politicians are vying for votes and finally both feature a well-choreographed and planned performance.  So turning my camera towards politicians isn’t such a step into the unknown.

Finally I have been a political activist in some way shape or form for most of my life.  It’s the unseen volunteer force that is for me the heroic and fascinating element of any election.  Look at any election in the world and behind the glitz of the main camoping is a quiet and hard working largely unrecognised army of volunteer and activists who gladly give up their time and work for nothing in order to get their candidate over the line.  In a lot of cases they are working for a candidate with a very slim chance or no chance of victory but nevertheless they mobilise and work behind the scenes for no real reward other than delivering their message to the electorate.  So #Holyrood100 will focus on them as well and document what this election will look like away from the policy announcements, rallies’ and political grandstanding of the candidates.

So for the next couple of months I will be shooting and documenting this election but also the EU referendum which follows shortly after both of which will redefine the political shape of the UK for decades to come.  I’ll be updating the website with images every week.  There is no political agenda for this I’m not being sponsored by a particular party and I’m not pushing anyone’s agenda. 

I’ll be speaking to all the main parties and hopefully getting behind the scenes access and exhibit at the end of this process what the election has really looked like away from the headlines.  

So there you have it – yes I’ll still be at gigs and spending time in cramped uncomfortable photography pits but I’m also going to see a bit of daylight over the coming months!  I hope as many people as possible will follow the project on Social Media and that the parties themselves will buy into what I’m doing.  

As I mentioned at the end of the project I’ll be publishing a book and I’m planning for an exhibition of the images as well so do watch this space.   Here’s the next 100 days!!!