Photograph of Pilton, Edinburgh, 1980s.

Edinburgh in the 1980s | Photographs by Graham MacIndoe

British Culture Archive

As a young punk from Broxburn in West Lothian, Graham MacIndoe started out on his creative path studying painting at Edinburgh College of Art. That all changed when Graham developed a serious passion for photography, documenting street life around 1980s Edinburgh, creating intimate portraits of ordinary people going about their day-to-day lives.

Ordinary People

He went out every weekend when he wasn’t in the painting studios at college, taking lots of photographs. He wanted to document the real Edinburgh – the ordinary people in the working class parts of the city, away from the tourist attractions that is portrayed across the world, places like Craigmillar, Wester Hailes and Pilton.

Photograph of Pilton, Edinburgh, 1980s.
Pilton, 1980s. Photo © Graham MacIndoe, all rights reserved.

Stills Gallery

“My photographs were a bit of a backlash against Colin Baxter who did all the picture postcard stuff – It wasn’t an Edinburgh that I associated with”.

“Murray Johnson former director of Stills gallery, just started a photo department at the art school. He Took Graham under his wing and introduced him to photobooks by the likes of Robin Gillanders and Murdo MacLeod. Graham carried his Olympus RM1 around with his everywhere. Taking pictures of student protests under Thatcherism – “They were cutting grants and making life difficult for everyone”. In contrast to that he would take photographs of young families enjoying the amusements arcades at Portobello.”

Photograph of Portobello, Edinburgh, 1980s.
Portobello, 1980s. Photo © Graham MacIndoe, all rights reserved.

Graham has lived in the States for many years and now works as an associate professor of photography at Parsons The New School in New York City. He continues to document the current political climate and BLM movement in New York. You can keep up with his latest work on his website here.

Gallery

Jim's Poolroom. Edinburgh, 1980s.
Jim's Poolroom. Photo © Graham MacIndoe.
Broughton Road, Edinburgh, 1980s.
Broughton Road, 1980s. Photo © Graham MacIndoe.
Photograph of Edinburgh, 1980s.
Edinburgh, 1980s. Photo © Graham MacIndoe.
Photograph of Edinburgh, 1980s.
Edinburgh, 1980s. Photo © Graham MacIndoe.
Edinburgh, 1980s.
Edinburgh, 1980s. Photo © Graham MacIndoe.
Student protests against Tory cuts. Edinburgh, 1980s.
Student protests against Tory cuts. Photo © Graham MacIndoe.
Muirhouse, Edinburgh, 1980s.
Muirhouse, 1980s. Photo © Graham MacIndoe.
Muirhouse, Edinburgh, 1980s.
Muirhouse, 1980s. Photo © Graham MacIndoe.
Portobello, Edinburgh, 1980s.
Portobello, 1980s. Photo © Graham MacIndoe.
Portobello, Edinburgh, 1980s.
Portobello, 1980s. Photo © Graham MacIndoe.
Edinburgh, 1980s.
Edinburgh 1980s. Photo © Graham MacIndoe.
Edinburgh, 1980s.
Boys messing around for the camera. Photo © Graham MacIndoe.
Edinburgh, 1980s.
Edinburgh, 1980s. Photo © Graham MacIndoe.
The Castle Tavern. Craigmillar, 1980s.
Castle Tavern, Craigmillar, 1980s. Photo © Graham MacIndoe.
Edinburgh, 1980s.
City Centre, 1980s. Photo © Graham MacIndoe.
Edinburgh, 1980s.
City Centre, 1980s. Photo © Graham MacIndoe.
Ladbrokes. Edinburgh, 1980s.
Ladbrokes. Edinburgh, 1980s. Photo © Graham MacIndoe.
Edinburgh, 1980s.
Fish and Chip Shop. Edinburgh, 1980s. Photo © Graham MacIndoe.
Edinburgh, 1980s.
Edinburgh, 1980s. Photo © Graham MacIndoe.
Edinburgh, 1980s.
Edinburgh, 1980s. Photo © Graham MacIndoe.

All Images © Graham MacIndoe, all rights reserved.

Edinburgh in the 1980s | Photographs by Graham MacIndoe

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