Caught by the River

Glasgow: a photo zine

Brian David Stevens | 7th June 2017

Glasgow by Phoebe Kiely
(Antler Press, A4 zine, 10 pages, edition of 50. Out now and available here)

Review by Brian David Stevens

“I walked for miles as the days stretched into weeks”

In 2016 photographer Phoebe Kiely moved to a new city — Glasgow — and set out, over a period of twenty days, to walk the city. She recorded her explorations in both colour and black and white photographs, the result being this A4 book/zine Glasgow.

“I needed to place myself into a new environment. I had no idea what I was going to do, I just planned to walk and see. During that time I was filled with the need to keep putting myself in these situations, knowing that by doing this, no matter how uncomfortable I was, I would still be capable of making work.”

The book feels like a traveller’s journal of photographic encounters; the coiled hose, serpent-like at the foot of the stairs, warming its cold blood in the sun. The patch of moss caught in the puddle of sunlight, the illuminated palm tree enclosed in a perspex box, the running sores of water and rust. Small moments in Kiely’s personal landscapes as she and her camera traverse this new unfamiliar city, mapping and recording.

“I chased the sun, the few moments of it I found.
I was also chased back in by the rain.

The misty rain was the worst….”

I asked Phoebe a couple of questions about the project, starting with whether there was a reason she picked Glasgow for these photographs.

“Glasgow was a city I had never visited before, I had never even been to Scotland. I can’t entirely explain why I chose Glasgow.”

Had you any preconceptions about the city?

“I was drawn to the idea of a new environment. Simply new surroundings which I knew I’d be able to throw myself into for longer than I’d ever spent in a new city before. I was completely submerged and overwhelmed by the city when I was there. I had an idea that there was a darkness to the city, that was the only preconception I had.”

Is the ‘unfamiliar’ important in your work?

“The unfamiliar is always important, the magic of coming across a scene I would never have come across if I hadn’t been in that space in that moment holds significance for me.”


Glasgow is out now and available here, priced £7.00.

More of Pheobe Kiely’s work can be seen here.

Brian David Stevens on Caught by the River/on Twitter