In 2006 I worked for five weeks as Artist in Residence on the project ‘Virtual Mackay Country’ in Durness, Scotland. This was funded by ‘Scotland Against Drugs’ and ‘The Heritage Lottery Fund’. As part of the project, I photographed all of the Mackays living in the village - 32 out of the 364 residents being Mackays, mostly from the same family. The village is situated on the far north coast of Scotland, 140 miles from the nearest town. The task I set myself was initially very difficult, as most of my chosen subjects were reluctant to have their portrait taken. However, with much persistence and cajoling, all but three finally agreed to take part.

The portraits formed part of the final exhibition, but they were viewed by only a limited audience. As the struggle to execute the final outcome had been so challenging, I felt disappointed that so few people had seen them. This prompted me to use the portraits again. While taking the portraits, I had many conversations with the subjects and realised that most had never ventured out of Scotland. It was time to bring the ‘Mackays Down South’. I took the black and white portraits around East London. I  approached people at random, asking them to choose a portrait and have their photograph taken as that person. I was taken aback by their response; everyone that I approached agreed to take part and enjoyed playing with the idea. The Mackay portrait became a ‘Mask’, enabling people to be relaxed and playful. These are six of the images taken from the body of work that comprises a total of 24 .