David Peat: A Retrospective (5 stars)

Subtly staggering collection explores art of street photography

David Peat: A Retrospective

This retrospective of the photographic works of Scots documentary filmmaker David Peat is a subtly staggering collection of work: an eye-opening historical document, a rich exploration of the art of street photography and a masterful display of control in wringing the authentically human out of a cruel situation. The half of the show dedicated to his work in the condemned tenements of Glasgow in 1968 is the most resonant, focusing almost exclusively on children of an age that affords them a look cheek rather than real menace, as bright-eyed and often smartly-dressed young boys and girls tip paint on the pavement and brandish sticks at the camera amidst litter-engulfed, window-boarded streets which resemble those of a war zone.

Towards the end of the set a tentative picture of the future emerges, as sleek, modernist tower blocks emerge from the scorched earth of the old Glasgow. While Peat’s later collection of international street scenes isn’t so charged with the sense of a long-gone place and time, his technical skills and ability to select prints with humorous pathos have only increased.

Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow, until Sun 5 Aug

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