Kirstin is a freelance photographer and filmmaker originally from Dumfries & Galloway, but now living in Edinburgh. She is documenting the What We Do Now project alongside filmmaker Patrick Rooney. Here she shares her reflections on working with established artist Jim Buchanan, and emerging artist Sian Yeshe, in Langholm.
What excites you most about documenting this project in Langholm?
Working with Jim and Sian has definitely been one of my highlights of documenting the WWDN project in Langholm – they are both such great artists and practitioners and I’ve loved photographing their projects individually as well as what they have produced together. Since the pandemic, a lot of my work has shifted to creating work that is focused on nature and the outdoor, so it’s been particularly great to have the opportunity to capture what Jim has been doing during his weaving workshops. It’s helped me to build on and understand ways in which to document people’s connection with the outdoors and nature, and how we can build community and ownership of places through shared learning and forging strong relationships with other members of the community.
Has anything surprised you about documenting this project in Langholm?
Before this project, I hadn’t spent a lot of time in Langholm unfortunately, but it’s since become one of my favourite places in the region. There’s a lot of exciting things happening there, and it’s lovely to see the way in which Jim and Sian’s projects have engaged the community and other organisations working hard to make Langholm an exciting place to be.
Why do you think a project like WWDN is important in Langholm?
Being a small town, a project like WWDN has the potential to be hugely beneficial for Langholm. The themes of ownership and voice are really suitable for Langholm – often smaller towns can be overlooked, and these themes allow the community to explore ways in which they can express themselves creatively, gather together and build strong relationships and make a positive difference to the town that so many people call home. Much like the other projects, it’s really exciting to see that this project will be extended for a second phase, and I think that there is real opportunity for Jim and Sian to continue to build on the work they have been doing for the past 12 months to create something really important for the town of Langholm.
What has impressed you most about working with the artists in Langholm?
It’s been a real pleasure to work with Jim and Sian over the last year – they are both such different artists, but their practice and ideas complement each other’s so well. It’s been a joy to not only capture the work they’ve produced and the events they have done for the community of Langholm, but also to be able to document their growing working relationship and how it has evolved over the last 12 months.