Monday, 14 September 2015

Roger Lever - 1000 Faces Scotland

Photographing and filming the people of Scotland. Capturing the Soul of a Nation

Since starting this project a couple of years ago I have been fortunate to meet, photograph and film many interesting people. The list grows but instead of trying to photograph 1000 people in one year it has become a never ending project.

When posing the question “Would you like to take part in my project" the responses often vary from an immediate “Yes, why not?” to "Well, tell me more about it” and “I hate having my photograph taken”

The strange thing is that the most reluctant person often turns out to be the most interesting. Since we started filming this has added a complete new dimension to the project. It becomes more than just a portrait but a real person with real feelings, expressions and often with an interesting story to tell. At the moment the website contains just a few of the portraits. Most of the portraits and film however remain in archive ready to be edited. This is going to be a mammoth task for me over the next few years of course.

Slowly I will be drip feeding these portraits and videos onto the site.

The interviews

All take place at home in my own studio or in a separate organised venue where I can set up my lighting effectively. There has been a certain amount of experimentation with the lighting and I am still trying new arrangements.

The reason for this is that all the portraits and films will be shown in Black and White eventually. As with portraits black and white films give a more interesting view of the person. We are so used to seeing everything in high definition colour on our TV screens that when a black and white image or film is shown you immediately see the difference. Most of the films will be just 5-10 minutes long but some extend for 20-25 minutes usually because the person being filmed is on a roll and into some really interesting part of their life. We leave the book open for them to talk about anything they want. "What makes you get up in the morning?", "what makes you tick?", "have you accomplished anything in your life that maybe other people are unaware of?” Some of the more self conscious people have surprised themselves once they have become relaxed in front of the cameras and some have been so elevated they end up in tears.” I never thought I would be able to do that"

I do have a person helping me who calls himself ‘The Chief Way Layer’ He has a wonderful way with words. Approaching the the most unsuspecting person in the street he convinces them that they can actually sit down in front of the cameras and speak for a few minutes about themselves. This is at no cost to them personally but has the potential to make them feel good because they have surprised themselves that they have done something they thought they might never have done in a Month of Sundays.

Our Venues to date have been Lerwick - Shetland, Glencoe Visitor Centre, Loch Arthur – Beeswing, Wigtown Book Festival ( We will be there again this year from 24th to 26th September if you wish to pop along) The Globe Inn – Dumfries and of course my own studio in Dalbeattie.

If you know of someone who should be one of my 1000 Faces then let me know or if you yourself think you have a story to tell then please get in touch. We just need the time and the place.

Roger Lever

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