Simon Murphy - Govanhill
21st October 2023 - 27th January 2024*
This major exhibition of Simon Murphy’s photographic document 'Govanhill' brings together his long-term project of a place in the southside of the city of Glasgow – a local place which is truly international in the demographics of those who live there.
Simon has been documenting people in this locality for several years with the resulting images giving an insight into one of Scotland's most diverse areas. Govanhill is a point of arrival for many. Traditionally it has been a place where immigrants arrive in Glasgow and often move on from. It is estimated that 88 languages are spoken in the densely populated area of only 0.33 square miles. It's a mixing pot of cultures and ethnicities. These differences have contributed to tension within the community but also make Govanhill one of the most diverse and exciting places in the city. Simon’s project consists mainly of street portraiture of individuals who live and pass through the area.
The exhibition coincides with Simon’s first major book 'Govanhill' published by Gomma Books, who have said: ‘with his black and white photographs, he eloquently captures the personality of his subjects that seem relaxed, truly in their own character and remain open and vulnerable for the spectator to connect immediately. The high quality of almost studio-like portraits in contrast to the harsh surroundings makes this book a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. Simon immersed himself fully into the project to create an ethereal yet grounded visual memoir of Govanhill.’
The project is a celebration of people and community but photographed with a raw reality. A portrait of circumstance, hope and aspiration. In this sense, Murphy’s work is in a strong humanistic tradition of documentary photography, amplifying the values of dignity, equality and tolerance. It is equally humanitarian in its celebration of the area, in amplifying a sense of pride to the residents and allowing the images to trigger conversation.
Simon has previously collaborated with Street Level Photoworks in two window exhibition trails during lockdown restrictions in 2020 and 2021 and over the past three years, work from the series has been featured in publications ranging from the British Journal of Photography, Black and White Photography Magazine, Huck Magazine and has been selected as winning work in the Portrait ofBritain, Portrait of Humanity and the Bartur Photography Awards. The project has been shot on black and white film with a medium format camera as the quality and camera operation fits well with the photographer’s process and communication style.
The Street Level Photoeworks exhibition features work from the main project 'Govanhill' and work from a smaller project 'Govanhill 100 rolls'. Simon was awarded a grant from the “Film Photo Award” of 100 rolls of Kodak Tri X film. From July 2022 to May 2023 Simon captured 100 new portraits which will be exhibited for the first time.
The exhibition is supported by Deadly Digital: Scotland's digital imaging specialists.
View the Virtual Exhibition Here
*Please note the gallery will be closed from 23rd December 2023 to 5th January 2024. The exhibition will re-open on 6th January 2024.