in this place
“I want the viewer to ask themselves a question about how society operates, how choice is related to opportunity and environment. To see that lives are complex and that sometimes people choose what they do because actually, not much has been offered in the first place.”
Do we have choices in life, or are some predetermined and made for us? Covering both personal and social geography, ‘In This Place’ ask whether the choices we have in life are ultimately predetermined by social environment and socio-economic position.
The previous work ‘Family' (1994) featured the daily lives of Margaret Mitchell’s late sister and her three children as they navigated their lives in difficult emotional and socio-economic circumstances in Scotland. 'In This Place' (2016-17) revisits the children’s lives in adulthood, now with their own families in a story of love, loss with social inequality at its heart.
The children from 1994 did not travel far, moving from one area scoring high in government statistics on deprivation to another. A simple bus ride across town. These are life stories that ask questions on how society operates, how choices in life are related to opportunity and environment.
Through parental loss and limited opportunities, a glue binds the original three siblings together, intertwined and interdependent as they were as children in 1994. Yet, within this personal geography of one family, the social impact is evident. Choice is not equal for all.
Front image: Leah at age 11, on her Primary 7 Prom Night - ‘In This Place
Margaret Mitchell is a Scottish photographer working within a documentary and portraiture approach. Projects range from exploring communities and children’s worlds through to long-term documentation projects on environment, opportunity and social inequality. The inner and lived worlds of others are central to her photography which explores the intricacies and complexities of people’s lives.
Awards include the Sony World Photography Awards (2nd place Professional: Contemporary Issues, 2018) and The Royal Photographic Society’s IPE160 (Gold Award, 2017). Her work has been exhibited widely including at Somerset House, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Festival Circulation(s), Format Festival and Open Eye Gallery. Work is held in the collection at the National Galleries of Scotland.