An interview with Stuart Paton

August 05, 2019  •  1 Comment

An interview with Stuart Paton

copyright- Stuart Paton

RH: Who is Stuart Paton

SP: Born and raised in the central belt of Scotland, I now live in Milan. 

Photography is my way of out-running my demons and re-enchanting my world. In parallel, it's also an attempt to evoke the sense of alienation, social dislocation and loss of personal singularity characteristic of late capitalism's demise. It's the cracked mirror poetry of an ideological spell unraveling. Eschatological eye-candy. A blend of 'Guernica' and The Shangri-Las.

 

Planning

copyright- Stuart Paton
 

RH: What attracted and inspired you to your current documentary project?

 

SP: A fine blend of self-preservation, revenge and a swashbuckling altruism. Photography is my method of coping with the dystopian aspects of Milan. Without a steady supply of new pictures I’d be swallowed up and disappear without a trace or do myself a fuckin mischief. That dialectic then translates into the mood of the pictures you see. I suppose it’s auto-biography overlapping with social comment.

 

RH: Can you talk us through the planning stage for your project?

 

SP: There was/is no plan. It’s spontaneous, jazzy, stream-of-consciousness. Much like many of the pictures themselves. I see myself as belonging (loosely) to the documentary tradition but believe pictures which resemble thoughts, memories, hopes and fears capture the lived experience of reality with more fidelity that ‘straight’ photography. As if they were shot by the mind’s eye rather than a machine. That’s not to suggest that I’m some post-modernist dismissive of any notion of reality itself but just that I have no delusions of objectivity.

 

RH: Is there anything you wish you had done differently?

 

SP: I wish I’d started earlier and wasn’t in a race against time.

 

Implementation and Completion

copyright- Stuart Paton
 

RH: How have you dealt with any challenges and difficulties within your project?

 

SP: With self-pity and childish tantrums against the galaxy’s intrinsic indifference to my expectations. But then my upbringing kicks in. A chip on both shoulders. So I tend to use set-backs and betrayals as fuel to the fire and come back out swinging. Ultimately, I’m grateful to them. 

 

RH: How long do your projects tend to take from start to finish?   

 

SP: ‘Haven’, a project following the quiet moments of a group of Pakistani refugees starting a new life in a tiny mountain village in Italy, lasted almost two years. I glibly call my most recent work ‘eschatological eyecandy’ but behind the cavalier term lies a genuine sadness and anger. At its most ambitious, it’s an attempt to document or at least evoke my impressions of a slow-motion, civilisational collapse via a visual collage of alienation, social dissonance and the erosion of individual singularity. If what I’m doing just now is a project then it’s the ultimateproject.

 

Editing and Sequencing

copyright- Stuart Paton
 

RH: Do you have several images to edit of one fleeting moment or do you have one well-constructed precise image that you have captured ?

 

SP: Both. But I tend to get more satisfaction from the latter.

 

 

RH: Within the editing stages, have you felt the project has taken on a different narrative than first envisaged?

 

SP: I don’t envisage anything. I’m just relaying what hazard and necessity throws my way then standing back to maybe make some sense of it all. I’m more of a messenger than a pivotal storyteller with a preconceived blueprint. There’s no real beginning and ending in real life, just a flowing succession of moments. Right ? That said, I hope to publish my most recent work in book form so I’ve been giving more thought to its eventual geography and soundtrack.

 

 

Tips and hints 

copyright- Stuart Paton
 

RH: What would you recommend for people starting their own photographic project?

 

SP: Make sure it’s heartfelt and personal. Be true to yourself. Don’t tell yourself porkies. Pour yourself into it. Practice integrity. Give a toss. Be decent. Be lucky. A bit like in life in general really.

 

 

RH: Does the camera really matter? 

 

SP: Of course it does, so don’t let Leica owners tell you differently. It’s basically the (weak) link mid-way between you and the pictures you want to make so it should be as harmonious as possible with both ends of that dynamic. But given that we’re all craven, covetous creatures it doesn’t do any harm for it to be a cool, object-of-desire because that will encourage you to use it more often.

 

 

RH:  Any books you would recommend reading to get the creativity started?

 

SP: ‘One Hundred years Of Solitude’ to stir your imagination, some basic Marxism for a wider understanding and a little Tamla Motown for kinetic energy and belief. To me, whatever creativity anyone has takes its root in our life story. Our loves and hates. Opinions and beliefs. Then all of that can be given purpose and refinement with a solid general culture and exposure to various art forms. From Chomsky to Frankie Boyle via Caravaggio, Lynch and Radiohead. 

 

 

RH: Would you recommend attending photography workshops?

 

I provide them, at my own modest level, but I’ve never attended one so maybe I’m not the person to ask. Nonetheless, I’ve rarely heard rave reviews, with the exceptions of Jacob Sobol and Paolo Pellegrin. But no doubt there are good ones available. But maybe just not always from the most obvious people. I see little point in forking out a small fortune in the hope of learning how to shoot like one of your heroes. There’s no such thing as a great tribute band.

 

RH: I you want to know more about Stuart vist the links below.

 

Website : https://stuartpatonphoto.wixsite.com/stuartpatonphoto

Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/_stuart_paton_/?hl=en

 

 

 

 

RH: if you think you have a great documentary project leave a coment below!

 

copyright- Stuart Paton

copyright- Stuart Paton

copyright- Stuart Paton

copyright- Stuart Paton

copyright- Stuart Paton

copyright- Stuart Paton

copyright- Stuart Paton

copyright- Stuart Paton
 

copyright- Stuart Paton
 

 

copyright- Stuart Paton
 

 

 


Comments

Philip Chudy(non-registered)
def worth exploring the site - great photos
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