In Focus with Joe McKillop

Giving us a glimpse into his life and surroundings, photographer Joe McKillop’s thought provoking pictures show pride and affection for his heritage, family and environment. Here, he takes us through some of his favourite shots and the stories behind them…

‘My name is Joe McKillop, I’m an amateur photographer from a small town in the west of Scotland called Port Glasgow. I started taking pictures using my mobile phone documenting my son’s football games when he was younger and I then found myself taking odd pictures here and there while walking the dog – it was then I discovered an enjoyment for landscape and street photography.

I try to keep my homelands as centre focus for the majority of my work. My local city is often discounted as ‘rough’ and somewhere you’d rather drive through quickly but with my photos I like to challenge these assumptions and show that there is beauty and personality within this wee town. Also in the collection are some snaps from holidays and neighbouring cities.’

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To most folk this picture doesn’t say much but it is important to me as it reminds me of my roots. This was where I grew up, definitely not one of the posher areas of the Port. While it wasn’t perfect, it gave me warm memories of my family and childhood friends.

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I took this photo at night. During the day it just looks like your average tunnel but at night, with the lights on illuminating the graffiti, I felt it gave off more of an urban vibe. Still, I felt it needed something extra – so I set up the timer and put myself into the shot.

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This was taken outside a sports shop in Glasgow whilst out doing some street photography. The boldness of the sign struck me and I liked how it stood out.

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This is another street shot in Glasgow, the focus is on the lady’s coat. I had a lot of fun with the editing process of this one darkening the background and highlighting the redness of the coat.

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This is one of my favourite shots as I love the hustle and bustle shown which is typical of Glasgow city centre. Also the light of the sun reflecting down gives a good contrast to the silhouettes below.

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This was taken on our first family holiday with my grandson. I just liked the way the red sofa contrasted against his blue onesie and, to be honest, he is quite a poser. For anyone wondering, the reindeer toy was his favourite, it was singing the same song over and over… conveniently that toy was left behind.

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Again, this is from our family holiday. I just spotted this as a good shot as I saw how the light hit my son’s tattoo while he was reading. One of my better candid shots.

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This was taken from the top of Conic Hill in Loch Lomond. Walking has become another hobby of mine and it assists me well in capturing scenic shots like this. When people talk of Scotland, this is what I imagine they picture.

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I took this on a snowy, misty morning up the back roads of Port Glasgow. It was the way the mist hid the buildings at the end of the road that caught my eye; I thought it would make an eerie shot with the icy road seemingly leading to nowhere.

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This was a long exposure shot taken by the light house in Port Glasgow. I was quite pleased how this turned out – I had many friends and family comment on how they liked how the brightness of the light stood out and shone over the Clyde.

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This was taken on a family Holiday in Salou at the theme park Portaventura. It was the wettest, bleakest day of the holiday but the dark clouds made for a good atmospheric photo. Something about a rollercoaster about to tip over the edge added to the excitement of the clouds forming a storm in the background.

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This was a street shot down in Greenock. It was the old red door that initially stood out for me, I waited for the right time for someone to walk into shot to snap the photo. I particularly enjoyed playing around with the colours in this photo; matching moody black and whites with the vibrant red.

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This is another long exposure picture taken on the edge of the River Clyde. Not much to look at in the day time; however the street lights hitting off the water at night make this little part of the river look quite beautiful.

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This was in the windy waters of Lanzarote. My wife and I were on the beach watching the water sports and I started taking shots of the windsurfers. This was one of my favourites. I love the look of the choppy sea and the determination of the windsurfer to stay upright.

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I chose this as my final shot as I identified strongly with the symbolism behind it. The boy in the photo is my grandson. Having a baby in the family again reminded me once again how much children depend on us adults to make sense of the world for them. The picture of the child in my hand was to represent how our kids sometimes need us to give them a help up in the world now and then.

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All photos and words © Joe McKillop. If you would like to see more of Joe’s work and follow his posts, you can find him on Instagram and Facebook.

29th April 2019