1 Jan 2010

Home Truths

  The decision to return to Scotland was taken in the fall of '99 as an epidemic of idolatry was twisting the face of portraiture out of recognition. A coterie of cuckoos had migrated behind the lens; actors, designers, super models, rock stars, and their fledgelings all flocked to get in on the act. The cult of celebrity spawned unchecked ego's that pimped photography and mocked erudition. The contempt and conceit of the Noughties was depicted through their ersatz eyes, portraiture was bankrupt. Probity and subjectivity were carrion for the magpies. My propensity to puncture inflated egos and prize the persona out of the celebrity sealed my fate. I had no choice but to fly the coup, my last editorial commission was in 2005 - below. 

 Ten years on the view from the 5th column is spectacular and the scene is impregnable. This outpost is mired in contradiction - I'm at home and in exile. The captains of Scotland's cultural industry are a tenacious cabala - a decade later and still no phone call, commission, invite...nada. My aspirations to lecture were dashed by the principals of photography, I couldn't impart my experience without an arbitrary degree. Promises of guest lectureships never materialised. 

 Erratic provisions continue to come from south of the border. Collaborations with extraordinary talent pushes boundaries and fuels the journey. Doubt is momentarily gagged by recognition from renowned artists who entrust me with their vision. It's time to take hold of the wheel and charter a new course. A powerful sense of humour will be our protection and Santo Pepto-Bismol will comfort us on our journey. Let the Fujiama Mamas* set the sail as 'Come Hell or High Water'* blares over the Tannoy. Vamos a hoy!

Barry Adamson

2009 was the year of 'Homecoming Scotland' - the promotion of Scottish culture abroad, cynically timed to coincide with the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns. For the past three months I've been privy to the plight of some of Scotland's homeless. For the vendors of The Big Issue

All they can do now is hold tight and wait to see if the government honours it's commitment to provide all of Scotland's homeless with shelter come 2012.
'Homecoming' was a painful anathema- a reminder of severed bonds and embargoed kinship. They were unanimous in their contempt for the baneful title and the merits of the celebrations. Homelessness was off the agenda and they were barred from the party. Ex-pats were courted with Golf 'n' Malt served-up with an extravagant display of fiscal pyromania. 2009 wasn't a time for home truths.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
and gie's a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught,
for auld lang syne.