We catch up with Colin Fisher, founder of a new photography group that meets at Gorbals Library in Glasgow, to find out how photography has captured his imagination and why he wants to share his passion with others.

Why are you passionate about photography?

By its very definition, photography is the perfect mixture of science and art, recording images with the use of light through a chemical or electronic process. Photography is a means of expression quite unique to itself, images can be recorded in an instant or they may take a huge amount of time and planning to capture. I'm also an artist, however there is a crossover with photography and this enables me to literally capture moments in time. This can't be done in the same manner with oil paints.  

What motivated you to set up the Gorbals Photography Group?

My friend John Munro who runs the Gorbals Writing Group spoke to me about starting up a creative group in the area (more on the Gorbals Writing Group here). John is a very imaginative person who is great at creative writing, and after meeting with him and discussing his stories, it was decided that a photography group would complement the creative writing group and vice versa. The excellent facilities at the Library on Crown Street, with its friendly and informative staff, made the Gorbals Library the best place to host it. 

What are your hopes for the future of the group?

The photography group is open to everyone - I want it to be completely inclusive. All I ask is that whoever comes along keeps an open mind, has a sense of humour and is open to meeting new people. I want people who might express an interest in photography but never took it any further to come along, and am also keen to involve advanced photographers too - everyday is a school day and there is always room to learn new skills.  

I would like members to explore the Gorbals area, see new things through the eye of the camera, from making and recording images of historic importance to making images with a narrative that tell a story of the Gorbals, its people, the architecture, the vibe etc. Ultimately we look to publish our images in the mainstream media, so group members who joined knowing next to nothing, can see the creative process through to being properly published. It's also for fun, so if members are not looking to get published that's fine, too. We will cross over with the Gorbals Writing Group and pool our creative talents and ideas.

What projects or partnerships have you got planned?

We would like to make as many partnerships as possible, so anyone willing to partner with us would be great.  I know we have the excellent staff from the Gorbals Library, also Voluntary Arts Scotland and the BBC Get Creative Campaign have been really supportive, so hopefully we can continue working together.

In terms of photographic projects. I'm keen to get a project together that showcases old and new architecture in the Gorbals and the transition of building styles. Also, 'People make Glasgow' as the slogan says, and without people Glasgow would be pretty boring, so a project photographing the residents within the Gorbals going about their daily life would be interesting. I have some long exposure projects that aim to record the Gorbals in a different light that I would like to share, too.  

Have you got any tips about how to set up a creative group?

The best tip is to just bite the bullet and do it. Just get out there and do what it is you want to do. Shout it from the rooftops if need be - get talking with like-minded people, and if you don’t know any then get talking to as many people as possible, as it's only a matter of time before you come across some.

What has helped turn your ideas into a reality?

Meeting up with John Munro has been a massive help - he's been instrumental in liaising with everyone as he knows quite a few people in the Gorbals, since he lives there. All the staff from the Gorbals Library have been excellent as they have designed and printed our posters, promoted our events and provided us with a space to host the photography and creative writing group. Voluntary Arts Scotland and the BBC Get Creative Campaign have also been great help, both organisations have provided tonnes of information and useful weblinks which have enabled us to source information relating to setting up group and advertising our events.

Who can join the Gorbals Photography Group and how?

The group is completely open to anybody who is interested in photography. As long as you have a sense of humour, want to meet like-minded people and are creative, then come along.  If you would like to join, you can contact me via email on gorbals.pg@gmail.com or ask the very helpful staff at the Gorbals Library on Crown Street.

The Gorbals Photography Group Voluntary Arts Festival event takes place on Saturday 6 May, 10.30-11.30am at Gorbals Library, 180 Crown Street, Glasgow - a great opportunity to meet Colin, find out more about the group and get involved.


Thinking about starting your own creative group? We have some useful resources (free to download) on our 'Getting started' webpage to help you on your way. If you have any questions or need some support, please get in touch to see how we can help - cass@vascotland.org or 0131 561 733.