The Scottish photographer’s first book aims to rediscover Glasgow through the people living there
Three years in the making, Rachel Lamb’s first book Glasgow is something of a homecoming for her. Having spent a decade away, living between London and Paris, the Scottish photographer returned to her hometown to work on the project, which captures 21 Glaswegian creatives inside their own homes. The book’s premise, much like Lamb’s style, is simple yet intimate – offering a look inside Glasgow’s vibrant creative community and, in the process, celebrating the spirit of the city.
The project began initially as a commission for Public Edition magazine in 2018, which encouraged Lamb to explore a subject that was personal to her. From there the series grew, and the photographer began to see the project as a way of reconnecting with Glasgow after so many years away. “It was nice to go home, spend a bit of time and reconnect with the people living there,” Lamb says, “exploring areas I’d never been to before and meeting new people who are creatives and growing up in the city, and just seeing it evolve in a different way from when I was young.”
Featuring family, friends and friends of friends, Lamb’s portraits present the Glasgow residents as their authentic selves. There is a sense of comfort and serenity in the images, which depict subjects in their own private spaces; poised in armchairs, slouched on sofas, reclining on their beds, and gazing into the lens.
To create this authenticity in her practice, it’s important to Lamb that there is a feeling of trust with whoever she shoots. “If I feel like I connect to someone and I have an interest in them, then that’s how the photography develops,” she says. “I spend a day with someone and build a rapport. And so for me, I suppose even if it’s fashion, my style is still quite documentary.”
As well as marking a personal pilgrimage for Lamb, the photographer hopes that the book will showcase the energy of Glasgow’s creative youth to the outside world. “Everyone in Glasgow is really open,” she says. “When I reached out to people, everyone was interested and just invited me into their home and were very welcoming … It’s nice to show people that there is another creative world going on outside of London.” Touched by the local’s generosity with their time and privacy, the image-maker has decided to give all proceeds of the book back to the community through donations to an arts organisation and a housing organisation based in Glasgow.
As Lamb still lives in London, her book reveals that home isn’t necessarily a physical anchoring to a certain place, but that it can be a feeling too – of personal identity, memory, or belonging. This idea is best captured in the book’s introduction, written by Julia Gilmour, which reads: “Moving from place to place allows for unwanted feelings of weightlessness or impermanence. But learning to understand ‘home’ for many does not equate structural permanence, material security or automatic acceptance from family, can create a sense of belonging in other ways.”
Glasgow by Rachel Lamb is out now and is available via rachel-lamb.com, Burning House books in Glasgow and Le Bal Books in Paris.