Nobody’s Home – an exhibition featuring the work of photographer – and former Buzzcocks drummer – John Maher is part of Architecture and Design Scotland’s Say Hello to Architecture Programme, is now open at at the Lighthouse, Glasgow. The exhibition captures abandoned crofts from across the Outer Hebrides.
At 16 years of age John Maher was recruited as a member of the punk band the Buzzcocks, and a number of chart hits followed, before the band broke up in 1981. In 2002, John relocated from his hometown of Manchester to the Isle of Harris, where he lives and works today. John’s photographs of decaying man-made objects set against a backdrop of stunning Hebridean landscapes have appeared in a wide variety of publications.
Speaking ahead of the opening of the exhibition, John Maher said, “Taking this exhibition to Glasgow is the realisation of a long held ambition. What started out as a personal project – documenting abandoned croft houses in the Outer Hebrides – has had an unexpected side effect. As a result of displaying my photographs, there’s now a real possibility of seeing at least one of the properties becoming a family home once again. Putting on this exhibition in collaboration with the team at Architecture and Design Scotland means Nobody’s Home is about more than pictures on a gallery wall. It shows that looking through a lens to the past, can help shape things in the future.”
John initially photographed in the dead of night, under the light of a full moon, and many of his night photographs involve lighting the interiors of old buildings, vehicles and boats scattered around the Hebridean landscape. In several instances he would return during daylight hours to shoot the interiors of abandoned croft houses he’d visited the night before. This was the beginning of a new way of photographing the islands, which ultimately led to the Nobody’s Home project.
As a direct result of seeing John’s images of abandoned croft houses, the Western Isles’ housing body, Tighean Innse Gall, in conjunction with the Carnegie Trust, have set in motion a plan to renovate some of the derelict properties.
Image (Detail) by John Maher: Bedroom and Chapel, Ensay.