A GLASGOW photographer has released her debut photo book of portraits taken during the lockdown in March 2021.

"What’s Your Favourite Outfit to Dance In?" by Anna-Rose McChesney was born out of a longing to dress up and go dancing as the photographer and artist could before the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

The unique book launched last week at Saramango in Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts.

172 young people participated in the project, donning their favourite partywear to pose at their front doors while Anna-Rose took the images from a safe distance.

Anna-Rose became interested in photography in her early teens and learned to develop her own film around this age too.

While her work usually explores themes of nature, politics, history, and myth working, Anna-Rose developed a particular interest in photographing people. She is now studying Communication Design at the Glasgow School of Art and describes the venture as capturing the "fashions and energies of the students in Glasgow".

We caught up with Anna-Rose to find out about the process behind the colourful book.

The National:

Where did the idea come from for the project?

We were all in lockdown and I think I was really missing meeting with people and the sense of community I found within the student population in Glasgow. So, it was a way in which I could connect with people, I'm interested in clothing and our relationships with clothing, I missed seeing everyone's fashions, dressing up, going out to a party, a music event, or an art exhibition. It’s been a way in which people could display their fashion on their doorsteps and have a performance.

What was the process of creating the project like? 

So, I started off taking photos of my friends, just as a sort of fun project, and then I began posting them online. People started circulating them and then more people would contact me asking to be in it, and then it kind of snowballed with friends of friends or strangers contacting me.

For taking the photos, I set up a tripod outside the house with a Mamiya 645 camera and I had a playlist of music that I'd play just to relax the subjects and have fun, then I would direct them with different positions that I thought could work also that they wanted to be represented in. I’d then take the photo; it would be a half an hour or 15-minute process.

What is the aim of the project or what potential impact would you like the book to have? 

I think the aim is really to showcase the sense of community amongst students and young people in Glasgow and show the people who live here and what we're about. Lots of people go to art school in the series so it’s a nice portrait of the arts community and those who are involved in the local music and art scene.

I guess I would just like joy to cover it I guess, I think it’s a celebration in a hard time. I found lockdown particularly hard, which is why I did this project. It gave me a lease of life where I could go and actually meet people at a safe distance.

‘What’s Your Favourite Outfit to Dance In?’ is available to purchase on Anna-Rose’s website here.