My name is Bryan M. Ferguson and I’m a filmmaker and photographer from Glasgow, Scotland. I am currently based between Glasgow and Florida. I taught myself how to make films by experimenting with visuals through an array of different cameras from a young age.
I spent the first 10 years of my life without a camera. But when I finally got my hands on one I began to construct my ideas by making films. My first camera would only shoot in black and white and could only work if a big yellow cable was plugged into the back of a VCR loaded with a blank VHS cassette tape. Unfortunately the cable was a restraint and I was stuck having to shoot a lot of interiors and dress my bedroom to look like it was outside but even with its drawbacks I was hooked, I had never been so focused. As I reached my mid-teens I had upgraded to a Hi8 camcorder and this is when I developed most of the optical and visual gags that I use today. I would experiment with compositions, transitions and narratives. At this time I never had access to any editing equipment and so I would need to edit the films in camera. I would do this by having the subject freeze, cutting the camera, repositioning the set up and hitting record. This would make for some unusual glitchy cuts and odd noises in the final product, of which I found quite strange and vivifying. These are devices I still incorporate in my work today.
When I was 18, I made my first serious short film with an HD camcorder. It was chosen to be screened at the Edinburgh Filmhouse and for the British Council in Edinburgh followed by a Q&A. Now 28, 10 years on from then, I have continued to evolve and shape my work. I’m still learning but I’m at a point now where I feel confident in my work and have a particular way of executing my ideas. I rarely work with a crew, I take on many roles behind the camera, from writing, lighting, shooting, cutting and even developing the sound design.
I was 22 when I started to finally shoot with a DSLR camera, I would often use it to shoot photographs in-between making films. Photography wasn’t something I was too interested in to begin with. My passion lay with film. But I found the luxury of working on a single frame addictive. I used to work alone during the vampire shift in an old hotel and I would shoot self portraits in the vacant rooms until dawn. Photography was a hobby that became a study and which for me has now developed into a medium that I enjoy working with.
I feel falling into photography in-between making my films has really benefited my filmmaking. I don’t feel I fully understood the power of composition in an image until I started getting involved in shooting photographs. Having the time to put all my thoughts and energy into one single frame really satisfies my perfectionism and has helped me to be more engaged and meticulous with shaping how I want my films to look.
A typical day for me is as anticlimactic as anyone else’s. I wake up, drown my innards in coffee and over analyse how awful my day will be. Though recently I’ve been spending most of my days and nights hunched over and illuminated ghoulishly at my computer editing my new project. I don’t have an office or studio. I find shooting at found locations much more invigorating and less restrictive. Strange surroundings inspire and allow me to develop the ideas I already have and really add flesh to the bones.
Presently I’m almost through with post-production on my new film, “CAUSTIC GULP”. The film was shot in Florida at the start of the year. It tells the story of a mysterious chemical reacting with the chlorine of a hotel swimming pool. This causes the birth of an irregular cult. I feel the project has really allowed me to unspool my fascination with the eccentricities of human behaviour. I developed the film for an audience to study the irregular behaviours of strangers in an unusual situation. I think we’re a generation of perverts and I find it thrilling to watch an audience of regular people transforming into a crowd of peeping toms. The film was constructed to keep its viewer at a distance but to quickly engage them while slowly leading them into the film’s darkly comic but disconcerting situation.
You might’ve caught another one of my films, “THE MISBEHAVIOUR OF POLLY PAPER CUT”, at the opening night of Hidden Door in Edinburgh on 22 May. The film just recently opened for David Lynch’s BLUE VELVET at “Painting in Perpetual Motion” to coincide with his recent exhibition at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art. The film tells the story of a hispanic girl trapped in delusions of grandeur and submerging herself into a world of comics and candy coloured nihilism.
For more information on the Hidden Door event go here.
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