Revealed in Scotch mist

Clydebank workshops, Glasgow, by Anthony Coleman

Clydebank workshops, Glasgow
Clydebank workshops, Glasgow · Credit: Anthony Coleman

Anthony Coleman remembers the winter morning in 2006 when he flew to Glasgow, sunning himself high in blue skies before descending through a blanket of cloud and making his way through damp fog to ­Gordon Murray’s and Alan Dunlop’s new Clydebank workshops for a shoot. A regeneration project on the city’s western edges, the place was empty when Coleman set up his camera outside. 

‘The kids just came out of the fog,’ he ­recalls. ‘They felt quite intimidating, as teenagers can – but I felt it best to go with the flow.’ That was to diffuse the situation by putting the curious boys in the very frame they were interrogating. He was low on film and found himself resenting that three of the shots had been wasted by the gang showing the finger; but come the fourth, he says, even they momentarily tired of the high jinx. 

‘In the last shot they suddenly all seemed to stand still and stare at the camera. One boy’s face is blurred but I can live with that.’ At a time when photographers shifted from notions of architecture in splendid isolation to be inclusive of users, this image stands on the fringe of even that – Coleman will never know if any of these locals ever ended up ­employed in the workshops. It merely records a brief interaction between five kids and a stranger on a street corner; the building as immaterial as the Scotch mist renders it.