For the past seven years, Scottish photographer Niall McDiarmid has traveled the length and breadth of the UK stopping at more than 200 towns along the way.
Town to Town will feature more than 60 portraits from this journey, in McDiarmid’s singular, colourful style, which collectively form a unique and poignant portrait of Britain. An exhibition of the project, to coincide with the publication of the book, will be shown at the Martin Parr Foundation, Bristol from 31 January – 12 May 2018.
From Dingwall in the Scottish Highlands to the historic town of Bodmin in Cornwall, McDiarmid has taken more than 2000 portraits on his travels. He visited town centres across the country with the same high street shops and chains of coffee shops, but he found that each retained its distinctive character due to the individuals who walk the streets.
‘As a nation we are blessed with a talent for being individuals who are not afraid to stick out from the crowd. It is also a sign of our nation’s tolerance that in most cases no matter what your age, sex, ethnicity or social background you can be as you wish, wear what you like and walk down any high street without feeling alienated.’
McDiarmid’s portraits are distinctive due to his inherent eye for colour and light. Much of the work on the book was shoot on film due to its delicate way of rendering colour, suiting this project where he stumbles across an infinite number of combinations of clothing, background and light on his travels. Beyond capturing the individual style and character of his subjects, his compositions extend beyond to record the shop fronts, hoardings and street advertising, rooting his subjects in the context of this particular time.
The project arose in 2010 when McDiarmid had the simple idea of walking through the streets where he lives in South London to see who he crossed paths with. He began to ask the people he came across if he could photograph them, and a majority of them, charmed by his Scottish manner, accepted. The locations visited are driven by whim, curiosity and chance rather than scientific survey of the country, which mimics our own day to day interactions with those we pass.
An exhibition of the project will be shown at the Martin Parr Foundation, Bristol from 31 January – 12 May 2018. For this exhibition, McDiarmid will be creating a new set of portraits in the West of England.
Niall McDiarmid is a Scottish photographer based in London. His work is primarily about documenting the people and landscape of Britain. Niall’s first book, Crossing Paths, A Portrait of Britain, was published in 2013 followed by Via Vauxhall in 2015. His work was first exhibited at Oriel Colwyn Gallery in September 2016 and in Here and Now – London Portraits at the Museum of London in May 2017.
Town to Town
Yellow cloth sewn hardcover
240 x 270 mm
Edition of 1000, including 90 copies with one Signed print and 10 copies with 4 signed prints
£35 | £125 with print | £400 with 4 prints
The book can be purchased from RRB Photobooks here