The ‘Glasgow Smile’ is the slashing from mouth to ear resulting in a crescent shaped scar. It’s a cultural thing, unique to Glasgow, you can’t help noticing them- they’re everywhere. In a world obsessed with cosmetic and aesthetic perfection this act of deliberate disfigurement and defilement flies in the face of cultural norms. The prevalence and persistence of this ‘culture’ perpetuates a state of underlying fear- reinforcing the hard-man stereotype. The consequences for the victim are; imposed vilification and demonisation resulting in simultaneous social imprisonment and exile. The ‘Glasgow Smile’ is synonymous with gang culture but is also an act randomly inflicted on innocent bystanders- like Barrie. This practice has existed for at least 60 years and is sustained by the turning of the cheek.
Dr.Goodall introduced me to a member of Strathclyde’s Violence Reduction Unit who assures me that I can be introduced to many victims and perpetrators if I want to turn this line of inquiry into a photographic project. With Medics Against Violence’s support I am seriously considering exposing this cultural malaise- if I can make a positive contribution to their goals.
A: When it’s a Glasgow Smile.