Paisley Museum & Art Galleries – What Presence!

What Presence! is a rock photography exhibition of work by the photographer Harry Papadopoulos and curated and produced by Street Level Photoworks and Ken McCluskey, of Scottish band The Bluebells. If you lived, loved and bought music in the late 1970s and early 1980s you’ll love this exhibition. It contains traditional black and white images of rock bands on stage including the Clash as well as informal shots of many Scottish bands in and around Glasgow comprising Orange Juice, Josef K, Aztec Camera, The Associates, The Skids, Simple Minds, Altered Images plus many more. You knew that there were a lot of a Scottish bands around at that time but this exhibition really brings home what a golden era for Scottish music this was as well as record labels and magazines. Poignant images of Billy Mackenzie of the Associates sit alongside early images of Jim Kerr of Simple Minds and we spent the whole time saying “Wow – remember that band?” The only drawback to this exhibition is the lack of a soundtrack. Not cheap to get licences for music these days however it would benefit greatly from a soundtrack. It’s a rock photography exhibition but people were walking around quietly and talking in hushed tones. We played a bit a music as we walked around and visitors loved it…. That said, it’s a great trip down memory lane and brings out a sense of nostalgia for those 80s days. It isn’t entirely devoted to Scottish bands and you’ll also find images of David Bowie, The Specials, The Birthday Party, Bauhaus and Cabaret Voltaire among many more. Street Level hope that this touring exhibition will bring increased exposure for the work of Harry Papadopoulos who, having worked for the Sounds music newspaper as well as Marvel Comics, suffered a brain aneurysm in 2002 and now lives back in Scotland.

If you’re in Glasgow, Paisley is only 10 minutes away by train so pop down to this FREE exhibition and indulge in some good old fashioned nostalgia for those heady pop days – just bring your own soundtrack and headphones!