Boys at Devol, Port Glasgow (2005)
About this artwork
In 2004, Mark Neville spent a year as artist in residence in Port Glasgow, a town confronting, in concentrated form, the hardship of Scotland’s post-industrial decline. His stay resulted in a photographic book which he then distributed free as a gift to the community. The book, according to the Greenock Telegraph, caused a “sensation”, as locals expressed both their disgust and appreciation. This image shows seven boys swearing and taunting at the camera. Their confident and cocky behaviour belies the underlying issue that many of them will grow up and be met with few local jobs or prospects. With the project, Neville sought to reignite the potential of the documentary tradition. Photography, he insists, can and should be shared.
Mark Neville’s lens-based work centres on his interest in subverting genres within film-making and photography and is an investigation into how different types of film and photographic practice align themselves with diverse demographic groups. Neville is concerned with how images generally are disseminated according to class and income, and how documentary practice can be challenged in order to empower its sitter, or subject matter, beyond the position of its author. Neville was born in London and studied Fine Art at Reading University from 1985-90, Goldsmiths College from 1992-3 and at the Rijksacademie in Amsterdam from 1994-5.