Former Buzzcocks drummer captures beautiful pictures of abandoned Outer Hebrides homes
A stunning collection of photographs featuring uninhabited homes in the Western Isles of Scotland are being showcased in a new exhibition by John Maher, former drummer of the punk band Buzzcocks.
The “Nobody’s Home” exhibition features the decay of man-made objects, structures and houses set against the contrasting natural beauty of the Hebridian landscape and sky. It is being showcased at the Lighthouse, Glasgow’s Centre for Design and Architecture as part of the, “Say Hello to Architecture” programme.
Many of the photographs in the series were taken at night time and feature the natural light of the moon and stars blended with John’s own lighting techniques to emphasise the items left in buildings, as well as vehicles and boats that are scattered around the countryside. In some instances the photographer returned during daylight hours to shoot the interiors of the abandoned croft houses he had visited the night before.
Image by John Maher / The Flying Monk
While the collection of photographs began as a way to document the hauntingly beautiful abandoned houses of the area, they have led to a wider debate and even initiated change. As a result of seeing the images, the Western Isle’s housing body, Tighean Innse Gall in conjunction with the Carnegie Trust have set a motion in place to renovate some of the derelict properties. A donation of £50,000 from the William Grant foundation has also been secured to launch the project.
"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 said.
Speaking about the collection, Morag Bain of Architecture and Design Scotland said, “We are delighted to host the exhibition as part of our programme. Say Hello to Architecture is our contribution to the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design and our aim is to get the public involved with the architecture and places around them. John’s photographs will provoke discussions about what makes a home and how abandoned places can be revived to create housing and contribute to vibrant communities”.
John Maher joined the punk band Buzzcocks at 16 years old, which found worldwide acclaim with hits like “Ever Fallen in Love” before disbanding in 1981.
John relocated from his hometown of Manchester to the Isle of Harris in 2002. He has been photographing abandoned croft houses in the region for the past six years.