#BeTransported to Glasgow with Ronan Park
Emotive and powerful, the sounds we hear and the images we see transform our daily lives and are often best experienced together. Inspired by this, Glaswegian photographer and musician Ronan Park shares the sounds and images that best capture the iconic city he calls home and tells us what makes Glasgow so unique.
Tell us about yourself and your photography.
I’m Ronan Park, a 19-year-old fashion photographer and musician based in Glasgow but I work in London a lot too. My photography can be described as natural, raw and quite spontaneous. I started shooting when I was about 13 and turned professional aged 17. Being a musician as well as a photographer, music has a substantial influence on my work. When I look at my portraits, I usually hear a song or specific style of music. I can be out shooting with a model and they’ll ask if I can hear music – then we realise it’s me making music with my mouth without even meaning to. That happens all the time.
What role does music play in your life and your creative process? Which artists are you currently listening to?
Music plays a big part in my life, for sure. When I’m taking photos and editing, there’s always music playing either through headphones or a speaker. There’s a really cool relationship between visuals and sounds; how different shots work with different music and how it can affect an edit. I have been listening to Bonobo recently. Well, I’m always listening to Bonobo. Neil Krug creates his artwork and he’s been quite a big influence recently as half of what I do now is creating album artwork for musicians. That’s what’s so good about doing photography and music, you always find yourself in the position where they cross over. This is especially true for me being in Glasgow.
Tell us about Glasgow as a location for street photography?
Whenever I get back to Glasgow after being in London or anywhere else that’s even a little bit busier, I always have this feeling of comfort and instantly feel more at ease. It’s still quite a big city, but there’s always a calmness to it. The West End feels good to be in, it has this vibe I haven’t found anywhere else. The city centre is busier but still gives you enough breathing space to shoot in the streets. One of the best things about Glasgow is how close these different areas are. There are loads of hidden spots in between that I’ve just stumbled across over time.
Where in Glasgow do you find the most inspiration for your photography?
A lot of the time I’ll feel inspired (with portraiture) after looking at people as I’m just walking through the street. I could look at someone and see lots of images in my head. Quite a lot of my time is spent in coffee shops, that’s where I like to edit and think. You can usually find me in busy public places – that’s where I have the most concentration and focus. Sometimes before I go home I’ll take my camera out of my bag, put my headphones in and walk around. I think the music kind of brings everything to life – that’s why music is always so important in films. Visuals and music just work so well together and often bring out something extra in an image compared to when you have no music in the background.
Where is your favourite place in Glasgow and why?
Byres Road at sunset. The West End at sunset is incredible. It’s hard to choose, there are so many different, random parts of Glasgow that I love.
What would you say is unique about Glasgow compared to other cities?
I’d say the culture and the people. Every day that I’m in Glasgow, I end up talking to someone who I have similar interests with. Everyone is so friendly and there are so many talented creatives going around. Glasgow is thriving with successful musicians and visual artists at the moment. I recently looked on ‘The Indie List’ playlist on Spotify and nine of my friend’s bands are listed there, all from Glasgow.
You arrive in Glasgow for a weekend, where should you go first?
That’s a hard one. To start, it’s best to walk around the city centre, then head to Merchant City and eat out in the West End. Walk to the end of Sauchiehall Street and to the West End, you’ll find lots of cool places.
What do you do in your time off in Glasgow? What do you eat? Where do you go to see music events?
I don’t really like to have too much time off but when I do, I play music and go out to music gigs. My life revolves around photography and music. I’m in a band so I know all the other bands in Glasgow. It’s a really tight community of cool people and I love it.
For really good food, the Singl-end Cafe and Bakehouse in Renfrew Street is the best. Not far from that is the CCA [Centre for Contemporary Art] in Sauchiehall street, somewhere I also really like.
My favourite live venue and bar would have to be Broadcast in Sauchiehall street as there’s always someone I know in there.
Any hidden gems in Glasgow you’d like to share?
I’ll leave them for you to find.
Transport us to Glasgow through sound; which songs do you feel best represent Glasgow?
I love older music. A lot from the 80s like Simple Minds, Depeche Mode, Gary Numan etc. It all reminds me of Glasgow. Most of my friends in the Glasgow music scene are heavily influenced by this era, so I think that’s maybe why. I like a lot of newer music too, but still probably quite alternative. I guess I like atmospheric music, the kind that works in films. Again, that probably comes from the relationship between visuals and music.
Listen to Ronan's Glasgow playlist here:
All photography courtesy of Ronan Park.