I'm delighted to share with you a recent interview about my work, by the lovely people at Southside Happenings.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2012
Creative Thursday - Laura Hudson Mackay
This week we interview Photographer Laura SSH:What was the last exhibition that inspired you and why?
LH: I am thoroughly inspired by Maison de la Photographie in Marrakech. It is a collection which dates from 1870-1950 and the black and white photography looks stunning displayed against the backdrop of a traditional Riad, central courtyard and fountain, deep in the heart of the Marrakech Medina. Some of the photographs on display are anonymous and others by some of the first western photographers to ever capture images of the indigenous people of the High Atlas mountains of Morocco, the Berbers. The exhibition beautifully illustrates the history, culture and ethnology of this fascinating country, giving an insight into its daily life which has changed so little in thousands of years.
SSH:Where do you get your inspiration from?
LH: Living in Scotland is a great source of inspiration, after living most of my life in England I really notice a difference in the light here and particularly love the sea and coastline.
I also find inspiration for my work whilst travelling. My husband and I are currently rebuilding a traditional Riad in Marrakech and a big part of my life is now there. I find it a magical and vibrant place and I’ve met many interesting people; designers, artists, filmmakers and writers, drawn from all over the world who now live there. The Red City is host to a number of festivals including ‘Arts in Marrakech International Biennale’ and ‘Marrakech International Film festival’.
SSH:Where do you work? Include a photograph
LH: I have a studio at my home in Strathbungo, but my latest place of work is 'Herman' our VW campervan.
SSH: Tell us about Herman and his influence on your recent work
I recently spent a month driving in Herman, through Europe and North Africa and the road trip opened up some great photographic opportunities. I get out more, see more and shoot more. Travelling in Herman allows me to get off the 'tourist trail' and into the lesser seen places. It was in these places I found fresh inspiration for my most recent work.
SSH: What are you working on at the moment?
LH: I'm totally fascinated by tales from the Arabian Nights. Last year I found an unusual copy in Young's Interesting Books on Skirving Street. The late Victorian collection, published in 1893 is taken from the much loved 'Thousand and One Nights'. I'm working on a photographic collection inspired by jinns, genies, sultans and the magic of those tales. I have a few commissions on the go too, which I always find enjoyable as they are so varied.
SSH: What is important to you?
LH: Living life to the full and not being bored! Looking for something interesting and new is important, or looking at something you previously might have overlooked, in a new way. For example, I recently started a photographic study of snails.
SSH: If you could change one thing in the South Side what would it be?
LH: A few years ago I asked myself this very question and the answer was to do something about the amount of litter and fly tipping in the area. So I became a Neighbourhood Improvement Volunteer (a bit like a Womble) and set up a group called Brighter Bungo! We are now a group of about 30 volunteers who meet regularly for 'clean ups', work with the council and make a difference to our area on the southside. Brighter Bungo has recently been nominated to receive an award from Beautiful Scotland.
SSH: Tell us about some of your recent projects
LH: I've spent time working on a number of self portraits, using a polaroid camera which gives the images an interesting retro style. I also have an ongoing project titled 'Daily Life'. Taking inspiration from the Maison de la Photographie exhibition, I have created a series of images of daily life in Marrakech and Essaouira.
SSH: What advice would you like to share?
LH: The important thing is not the camera, but the eye. If you want to improve your photography, the worst thing you can do is buy a new camera. I don't treasure my camera, I use and abuse it.
SSH: What do you have coming up?
LH: I have recently been asked to host a couple of creative photography workshops, so I'm busy preparing for those. The workshops will be a new area for me but I'm looking forward to the challenge.
SSH: Tell us your favourite place in the southside and why?
LH: I really like Mulberry Street Bar and Bistro, the food is consistently good and the staff friendly. The owners commissioned a number of artworks from me, some of which are displayed in the restaurant. I also love Urban Beauty, it's one of the best places for a relaxing facial.
If you read my last post you'll know that this summer, with our camper van Herman packed full, Scott and I drove from Scotland, through France and Spain into North Africa, all the way to Marrakech. You can read all about our trip on Scott's blog Marrakech Riad Adventures. He blogs far more frequently than I do!
We're excited to be heading back to Marrakech soon to move into our newly renovated Riad (house). This got me reminiscing about our adventure driving there in summer. Such fond memories, it seems like a dream now.
Just how high can you pile hay onto a lorry in Morocco without it falling off?
Carry straight on darling...
The second the traffic lights turn green it seems the whole of Morocco beeps at you to go go go...
During our recent road trip from Scotland to Morocco in 'Herman' our camper van, we visited and stayed in some beautiful places, from Biarritz, La Rochelle, Cadiz, Seville, Rhonda, Montblanc, Montignac and Toubkal. My favourite place along the way, the one I long to visit again was Essaouira.
We needed to escape the heat of Marrakech so set off on a long and straight road, passing goats which oddly stand in trees all day and eat Argan nuts...
Eventually we reached the coast, a much needed breeze and beautiful Essaouira...