Black & White photograph from Stuart Paton, Hoi Polloi series

Hoi Polloi A photography project by Stuart Paton

Born and raised in the central belt of Scotland, Stuart Paton is a street photographer whose pictures tend to revolve around themes like alienation, identity and social dissonance.

“My photographic baby steps with Don McCullin holding my hand. Circa nineteen oatcake. This is (mainly) Britain at the time Margaret Thatcher was pioneering neo-liberalism and much of the country was being coshed.

For a while I did harbour some fanciful idea of becoming a war photographer but it was McCullin’s social documentary that really got under my skin. So although I’ve no battle scars or tales of derring-do to brag about…. a fair amount of bus fare money, cul-de-sacs and cold pies lie behind the pictures.

Maybe it’s only in hindsight that the world seemed a more straightforward place to understand and depict. Thatcher’s model has imploded but nonetheless the world appears to be a more confusing, fucked up place. Maybe it’s just that I let go of McCullin’s hand but I also feel that a more splintered reality invites a different photographic approach.

The social signifiers have shifted once more and so these days I use a more oblique photographic alphabet. If the world was a potato before it’s more like an onion now.

Anyway…. I sometimes wonder what became of the people in the pictures. Personally, I’m still picking at the same scab.” Hoi Polloi by Stuart Paton

– Discover more of Paton’s work here: Stuart Paton and on Flickr.

NB: Hoi Polloi is Greek expression that means the people. In English, it has been given a negative connotation to signify the masses.

Monthly Photo Contest

Color film portrait photograph of a young woman by Michelle Marshall
© Michelle Marshall

2021 Portrait AWARD Deadline: 31 May 2021

"In a portrait, I’m looking for the silence in somebody."
- Henri Cartier-Bresson

Portrait photography has one of the oldest and most interesting histories that harkens back to the early days of the medium. Through portraits of iconic figures or ordinary people, we discover a deep interest in others.

Recent works or gems from your archives, classic or experimental, and through any kind of storytelling: we want to discover the most powerful and captivating images of today’s portrait photography. We are open to all interpretations and want to see faces that gaze right into the soul!


1st Prize: $1000 · 2nd Prize: $600 · 3rd Prize: $400

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