Reuben Ross is a filmmaker, photographer, and visual anthropologist based in Edinburgh, Scotland and Antwerp, Belgium. Much of his work is strongly ethnographic in nature, exploring the relationship between individuals, communities, and places. He has worked on short community film projects, feature-length documentaries, and collaborated with NGOs and arts organizations around the world. His latest series, Snapshot Scotland, takes us through a unique time in Scottish history - the lead up to their independence referendum last September - using instant photography (read this, this or this for some background on Scotland's referendum).
Reuben describes the event: "As you can imagine, the final few weeks before the referendum were incredibly tense and almost surreal. Scotland was on the verge of possibly becoming an independent country, breaking away from the United Kingdom after hundreds of years. People were discussing politics on the streets, international media had descended on Scotland, the London politicians were panicking. I wanted to capture this mood, to document the stories of places and individuals as the country went through a period of huge transformation. No matter what the outcome, the referendum was sure to change Scotland for many years to come."
Snapshot Scotland was fueled by Reuben's attraction to the unique nature of instant photography. Stylistically, he is intrigued by the "timeless" quality of instant film. But, most importantly, he is interested in exploring a different relationship between the camera, photographer and subject, a different way of taking photographs and thinking about photography. To Reuben, instant photography has more in common with painting than photography. They are imperfect, one-off, physical objects which, inevitably, will one day be destroyed. And, in an "age of mechanical reproduction," an age of smartphones and Facebook and Twitter, they cannot be reproduced. In some ways, deliberately choosing this form of photography was, to him, a political act. Make sure to visit Snapshot Scotland!