Graham MacIndoe (Coming Clean)

Graham MacIndoe

While thinking around assignment three ‘ self portraits’ and ‘putting yourself in the picture’, I read an article in the British Journal of Photography (January 2017, page 70) about Graham MacIndoe and his series ‘Coming Clean’. MacIndoe, a portrait photographer from Scotland, developed a ten year heroin addiction, which saw him spending four months in prison. However, he turned his life around, published two books, got taken on by a gallery and became professor at a prestigious university in New York City.

His graphic work shows his experience of living with a heroin addiction and shows the viewer the realities of such a life. The series shows the grim unkempt environment, the actual injections, basic facilities, with an unhealthy colour tint to compliment the unhealthy environment. I think this is a brave series. It can be hard to reveal personal things about yourself and revealing this subject in this way must have required courage and a determination to show real life in the midst of such an addiction.

Coming Clean

This series does not directly influence how I want to approach the third assignment ‘putting yourself in the picture’ BUT it sort of does! There is an honesty that MacIndoe demonstrates, and a willingness to show himself ‘warts and all’, no attempt at flattery, just as it is; no apology. I admire this, it shows an acceptance and I will bear this in mind for future.

Interview with Graham MacIndoe

Image from ‘Coming Clean’ series


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