For the past seven years, Scottish photographer Niall McDiarmid has travelled the length and breadth of the UK stopping at more than 200 towns along the way.
His latest book, Town to Town, will feature more than 60 portraits from this journey, in McDiarmid’s singular, colourful style.
Collectively they form a unique and poignant portrait of Britain.
The Martin Parr Foundation, Bristol, will also host an exhibition of the project from January 31 to May 12.
From Dingwall in the Scottish Highlands to the historic town of Bodmin in Cornwall, McDiarmid has taken more than 2,000 portraits on his travels.
The project has seen him visit town centres across the country. While many had the same high street shops and coffee chains, he found each retained its distinctive character due to the individuals walking the streets.
“As a nation we are blessed with a talent for being individuals who are not afraid to stick out from the crowd,” said McDiarmid.
“It is also a sign of our nation’s tolerance that in most cases no matter what your age, sex, ethnicity or social background you can be as you wish, wear what you like and walk down any high street without feeling alienated.”
Curiosity and chance
McDiarmid’s portraits are distinctive due to his inherent eye for colour and light.
Much of Town to Town was shot on film due to its delicate way of rendering colour.
It particularly suits this project where he stumbled across an infinite number of combinations of clothing, background and light.
Beyond capturing the individual style and character of his subjects, his compositions extend to record the shop fronts, hoardings and street advertising, rooting his subjects in the context of time.
The project arose in 2010 when McDiarmid had the simple idea of walking through the streets where he lives in South London to see who he crossed paths with.
He began to ask the people he came across if he could photograph them, and a majority of them accepted.
The locations are driven by whim and chance rather than scientific survey of the country, mimicking our own day-to-day interactions with those we pass.
An exhibition of the project will be shown at the Martin Parr Foundation, Bristol from 31 January – 12 May 2018.
For this exhibition, McDiarmid will be creating a new set of portraits in the West of England.
Niall McDiarmid is a Scottish photographer based in London.
His work is primarily about documenting the people and landscape of Britain.
McDiarmid’s first book, Crossing Paths, A Portrait of Britain, was published in 2013 followed by Via Vauxhall in 2015.
He exhibited at Oriel Colwyn Gallery in September 2016 and in Here and Now – London Portraits at the Museum of London in May, 2017.
Town to Town by Niall McDiarmid is available now.
The 1,000 print run includes 90 copies with one signed print and 10 copies with four signed prints.
Prices are £35, £125 with one print or £400 with four prints
To order your copy click here.
Main image: King Street, Kilmarnock, Fife – September 2016 © Niall McDiarmid