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Work / Photography

Scott Gallagher photographs the youth of marching bands in Northern Ireland

When flicking through the latest issue of Boys magazine, the opening pages featuring photographs of a marching band by Scott Gallagher caught our eye instantly. The Northern Irish photographer captured the band’s cheeky chappy smiles, but also some great poses that convey the uneasiness of being that age where you’re eager for attention, but still unsure how to act in front the camera.

The project, titled Band Practice, developed after Scott had been studying a masters in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the University of Westminster. After living in London for three years, Scott “wanted to go back home and do a project in Northern Ireland with new eyes,” he tells It’s Nice That. The subject for the photographer’s home-based series is The Twelfth of July march, a traditional Protestant celebration. “Often misrepresented in the media, with an image associated with sectarianism, the point of Band Practice was to show the Protestant celebrations in a positive way.”

The subjects of Scott’s series are the Orange Order marching band, featuring portraits of its younger members who will “carry on the traditions of the Twelfth into the future with their march,” he explains. “Growing up in Northern Ireland, the celebrations are such a big thing, it’s difficult to avoid. I went through phases of enjoying the celebrations, and then hating them. It was only when I moved away that I appreciated how significant they are.”

When Scott began working on the project, he had just finished his Masters and “wasn’t completely satisfied with my major project,” he says. “I wanted to do another project that felt more like me and one I could proud of.” Therefore, Band Practice saw the photographer expand his practice, he bought his first medium camera, and followed alongside the march taking portraits. “It was the first time I’d really put myself out there,” he explains. “People thought I was part of the press – carrying this massive Mamiya around my neck, so some were quite wary of getting their photo taken. Saying that, a lot of people were up for it, although I did get a lot of ‘what the hell is mate!’”

Band Practice feels like a breakthrough project for the photographer. It is a common to have a feeling of uneasiness when graduating, but Scott went with his gut to shoot a subject close to him. “I’m inspired by home and the little things which make it unlike anywhere else. The uniform, the hair cuts, the ‘LOL’ slogans, the badges, the earrings, and the enthusiasm people have for these celebrations.”

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Scott Gallagher: Band Practice

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Scott Gallagher: Band Practice

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Scott Gallagher: Band Practice

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Scott Gallagher: Band Practice

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Scott Gallagher: Band Practice

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Scott Gallagher: Band Practice

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Scott Gallagher: Band Practice

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Scott Gallagher: Band Practice

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Scott Gallagher: Band Practice

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Scott Gallagher: Band Practice

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Scott Gallagher: Band Practice

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Scott Gallagher: Band Practice