A remarkable set of pictures by ‘Glasweegee’ Dougie Wallace of the wealthy on the streets around Harrods and other shops selling ridiculously priced bling have apparently caused quite a stir in Qatar (where many of those he photographed have their homes) according the the British Journal of Photography, in an article Qatar responds to Dougie Wallace’s photographs of Britain’s wealth tourism.  The BJP also claim responsibility for having given him the idea, when they erroneously reported last December that he could be found working outside Harrods. It seemed to him to complement work he was doing in  one of the poorest areas of Glasgow, close to where he grew up.

You can see more of his work from ‘Harrodsburg‘ at The Story Institute, which also has some text worth reading on his work and the motives behind it. The area in which he worked – not just around Harrods, but down to Sloane Square and around the Ritz, once the home of many over-wealthy British, is now largely in the hands of “the various tribes of the global super-rich buying up London homes like they are gold bars, as assets to appreciate rather than as homes in which to live.”

More interesting than the BJP story is the article it links to in The Doha News, published in August.  It’s also worth reading the comments. (To save you worrying as I did, the hashtag  #دوغي_والاس  is simply #Doga_walas.)

Wallace’s images remind me of things that I’ve seen walking around some of those same streets, but have never photographed. Perhaps I should say, have never had the bottle to photograph.  Though rather that I’ve never had a very good reason to want to photograph. They are streets too that I dislike, only going through them when I have to, usually on my way to some embassy or other to photograph a protest. But his work is impressive – even if it doesn’t go down too well in Qatar. At the moment we can photograph freely on the street – a liberty I value that we may well lose unless we defend it.

Ooredoo (formerly Qtel Group) which provides most of the internet in Qatar (and probably other internet providers there) was quickly forced by the authorities to block the web site with the images, probably because as well as causing the ultra-rich embarrassment they also show their hypocrisy, particularly in wealthy visitors to London abandoning the strict rules of dress they forcibly impose on others in Qatar.
Pictures from ‘Harrodsburg‘ have been on show in London at the Printspace on Kingsland Rd, but the show, part of the East London Photomonth, was due to close today – or tomorrow or Wednesday – all three dates are in the links.

You can also visit Dougie Wallace’s web site, and buy his books Shoreditch Wildlife and Stags, Hens & Bunnies. The Shoreditch book is I think much better than the presentation on the web, and I hope that Harrodsburg will become available in print before too long.

One Response to “Harrodsburg”

  1. […] photographer Dougie Wallace photographed at work on his ‘Harrodsburg’ project (which I wrote about last October) and talking about it. It’s better not to rely on the subtitles which I think had a little […]

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