Groups like Black Skull have been negatively cast as militant factions. Buchanan’s work, however, seeks to recast that stereotype – though not in a partisan manner; more as an exploration of how culture intersects with belief, and the mechanics of how we judge from a distance – by homing in on the single humans who make up the grouping. On the face of the sitter, we don’t read intolerance so much as pride and fortitude intermingled with sadness; at the works fullest stretch, we see a concept that rises above specifics to talk about how people pledge themselves to larger ideas in order to make their lives meaningful, and how a shared idea unites a diversity of individuals. Miscellaneous beneath their colours, Black Skull members gaze implacably out, latently asking for connection; and we come to recognise that none of us are defined by our alignments, while being reminded of the degree to which, from the outside, we typically are.
Martin Herbert Within: New Photographic Portraits, Essay
Scottish by Birth, British by the Grace of God, Image, text. Photographic series with hand painted text panel’. ‘Within’, Bloomberg Space, London, with curatorial support from Graham Gussin & Sacha Craddock.