Photographer Alan Dimmick - interview
The Scottish photographer discusses his artistic habits and history
What was the first exhibition you went to see?
I recall as a very young lad going to the ‘Art Galleries’ at Kelvingrove a lot with my Mum in the late 60s – just remember being amazed. The Robert Mapplethorpe show at the old Stills in the High Street around the early-mid 80s made a big impression. I bought the catalogue, which was given to me in a brown paper bag!
What was your first paid job as an artist?
Believe it or not, it was selling b/w prints of specific girls to friends at school for 50p in 1978 [three years before Gregory’s Girl!].
What kind of music do you listen to while you’re working?
I own a large collection of CDs, but it’s only in the last six months I have got into iPods. At the moment we have Al Green [Belle period] followed by Gene Clark and Alasdair Roberts.
What are the best things about opening nights?
It’s really nice to meet friends and catch up – but also to keep on taking pictures while chatting – bit rude but no one seems to mind.
Do you read reviews of your work?
My work hasn’t really been reviewed. I tend to store them in filing cabinets for at least 15 years! I probably would, though.
Which living artist should be better known than they currently are?
Steve McQueen [neither the filmmaker nor the actor]. An amazing natural talent – check out his drawings and watercolours.
What has been your career highlight to date?
Certainly the current show at GoMA, I really hope I will be able top get more of these prints out of the boxes and onto the walls in the future.
What is your favourite work of art?
Very difficult but I am quite taken by Sandro Botticelli’s ‘Primavera’, cave paintings at Altamira in Spain and Emmet Gowin’s photographs at Danville in the mid 60s.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Good question – always have your camera with you [obviously] but also realise that images of quite ordinary things can be important in years to come, and keep your negatives neatly filed.
Alan Dimmick: Photographs from the last 15 years of Contemporary Art in Scotland, Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, until Sun 13 May.