Alan Crumlish


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Artist Biography

In 1989 Alan accompanied his brother Brian, a film director, and producer Christeen Winford of Cormorant Films, to Cambodia to document many aspects of the social and cultural recovery that was taking place 10 years after the displacement of the Khmer Rouge. During this time, he photographed what was then known as the Cambodian National Dance Company. On his return these photographs became key to the world-wide charity Oxfam securing the company’s first international visit to the West in 15 years, with an invitation to perform in Glasgow during its European Capital of Culture celebrations. During their stay, Alan photographed all aspects of the company’s visit, from performances to public workshops. This led to a large exhibition - “A View of Cambodia” - which toured throughout Scotland. Some of these images now form part of this current show. Amanda Rogers, a British academic at Swansea University, has extensively researched the dancers’ tour to Glasgow and examined its cultural and political implications. Her work provides some of the contextual backdrop for this current exhibition.

On home territory, in the world of theatre Alan has worked regularly for Scotland’s national companies - Scottish Ballet and Scottish Opera - as well as some of its experimental theatre groups such as Wildcat. A particularly significant moment came in his documenting the extensive range of international companies and artists who featured throughout the year when Glasgow became the first European City of Culture in 1990. A revived interest in this period of rapid development in Scotland’s cultural life led to his most recent exhibition - “Playing to the Crowd” - in conjunction with fellow photographer Andy Wilson, documenting the music scene in Glasgow in the 1980s and ‘90s.  He also undertook the photography for Glasgow School of Art’s Centenary Exhibition, as well as the photography for a book on Glasgow’s complicity in the slave trade, entitled “It Wasnae Us” (“We didn’t do it”). More widely, his portfolio has come to feature an enormous range of international ensembles and global artists – from the Peter Brooke Company (Mahabarata  and Carmen), the Bolshoi Opera, the Dance theatre of Harlem, the Murray Louis Dance Company (USA), the Paris Opera Ballet with Rudolf Nureyev, Rambert Dance Company, Sankai Juku and Surakarta, to such outstanding individual figures as Luciano Pavarotti, Frank Sinatra, Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, Ravi Shankar, Nina Simone, Cher and Mohammed Ali. He has also been commissioned to undertake portrait studies of such celebrated literary figures as novelist John Fowles and Laurens van der Post for in-depth media profiles. Following the death of the visionary British choreographer, Peter Darrell (who also became the founder of Scottish Ballet) Alan advised on, and contributed to, a photographic tribute book, dedicated to Darrell and his achievements - “Man of Tomorrow”.

Alan Crumlish was born in 1954 in the river port of Greenock, on the west coast of Scotland.

He originally qualified as an architect, but after a period of teaching at Glasgow’s Strathclyde University, decided to make the major career move of becoming a freelance photographer.

Over the 30 years since, Alan’s work has comprised a variety of commissions for commercial clients, the tourism industry and organisations promoting social welfare and minority interests. But other, larger interests have always predominated and besides continuing a fascination with architectural form from a photographic perspective, much of his work has been devoted to the performing arts – especially theatre and dance. He is also keenly interested in capturing the ephemeral beauty of gardens and of the wider natural environment, for which his travels have taken him throughout Europe, to South East Asia and to Australia and New Zealand

Alan currently lives near the town of Hawick, once a centre of Scotland’s textile industry, where he is using his original architectural training to restore and renovate a much-neglected 1740s traditional mill house and its walled garden. He is also enjoying photographing his ever-growing collection of trees and flowers.

About Artist work

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