An Exhibit of Self-Portraits Taken During a Photographer’s Years as a Heroin Addict

Show opened April 8 and runs through Nov. 5

Graham MacIndoe: Coming Clean runs through Nov. 5.
Headshot of Richard Horgan

A notable photo exhibit opened at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh over the weekend. Titled Graham MacIndoe: Coming Clean, it features artifacts from the darkest years of the New York-based photographer’s life. From the show notes:

MacIndoe’s series of self-portraits confronts his addiction to heroin in a group of photographs that are graphic, unflinching and powerful. Several years after beating his addiction, MacIndoe rediscovered the images and in 2015 a selection of prints was acquired by the National Galleries of Scotland.

Although MacIndoe has in recent years shared this 2004-10 chapter through a pair of books and an associated exhibit in Los Angeles, this is the first time such an event has been held in his native country. In concert with the Edinburgh show opening, MacIndoe spoke with The Guardian about his life before drugs. When he first came to New York in 1992, it was an era when someone like Quentin Crisp was listed in the phone book. The then-aspiring photographer called up Crisp and wound up taking a celebrated photo, as he recounts:

Given the way Crisp looked and talked, I thought he would live in grandeur, but his apartment was by a Hell’s Angels club on Third Street, just a room and a bathroom. He had no kitchen, just a bed, chair, books, papers and plates that had never been used. When his phone rang, he would give the same greeting: “Oh yeeees?” He answered it a couple of times, then fell asleep. I didn’t want a picture of him sleeping, so I just sat down and waited. Luckily the phone went again and he jolted up: “Oh yeeees?”

In 2014, MacIndoe shared some of the self-portraits from his spiral through a housing project, Rikers Island and near-deportation with New York magazine. Check out that article here.

Previously on Fishbowl:
Chris Arnade Offers Another Harrowing Look at Heroin Addiction
From the Ashes of Heroin Addition to the Pinnacle of Viceland

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.