Introduce us to you and your brand
Hi I am Stuart of Stuart Brown Photography. I produce and sell urban images of Glasgow, Edinburgh, New York and beyond using my own photography. I work with my partner Richard from our Dennistoun tenement where we have converted the second bedroom into a home studio. We create our prints in small batches using high quality materials and then sell them in select stockists plus online.
How has your brand / work developed since you began?
It’s important to find a niche especially in photography as in reality everyone is a photographer now with their smartphone cameras always to hand. So I fairly quickly decided to concentrate on urban photography and not try to compete with the many talented landscape photographers in the market. This has developed from initially just Glasgow photos to include Edinburgh plus photos from our travels. Recent additions include Japan which was one of our favourite trips ever, Barcelona and Madeira. We made special collage prints of each of these places. We can’t wait to get travelling again and be able to photograph some more amazing cities. First up is Dubrovnik, fingers crossed we get to go this time after lots of cancelled trips the last couple of years.
,"It’s important to find a niche especially in photography as in reality everyone is a photographer now with their smartphone"
What do you consider to be your most popular product?
In terms of image it’s probably the ‘iconic’ series of collage prints including Glasgow and Edinburgh which we have now made available in both colour and black and white versions. These have become popular as gifts especially the mounted versions which are easy to pop in the post. Our coasters are also very popular. They are produced by another small east end business which we have worked with for several years and it’s great to be able to support each other.
Tell us a little about the piece you are the proudest of
I am really fond of our new Dennistoun print. It’s been a work in progress for ages and it’s a
celebration of our local neighbourhood, the people, the cafes, the architecture and history. We
have been really pleased with how it’s been received by the local community.
Do you have any past accomplishments you wish to share?
We did a great little exhibition a couple of years back at the brilliant Dandelion cafe in Newlands Park where we showed a selection of my New York work. We asked a lot of local artists to do a remix of a photo and were surprised and delighted that so many agreed and created some maxing original works of art, most of which sold at the event. It was a fun and interesting collaboration and a great memory.
How did you find out about SDX? And what made you apply to sell with us?
My friend Simone who is the talented force behind not one but two SDX businesses suggested I applied and to be honest it’s one of the best pieces of advice I have ever had. I thought it sounded like a great idea for a business and liked the social enterprise factor. We have been absolutely delighted with the success of our mini shop in SDX Glasgow and last year joined the new Edinburgh SDX store.
What would you consider to be the most challenging aspect about being a working artist /designer?
I think there’s a lot of challenges to be honest. You have to keep a lot of plates spinning - making products, managing supplies, cash flow, marketing, visiting stockists, managing online, plus somehow squeezing in time to take new photographs. I’m not complaining, it’s way better being your own boss than having a regular job. Sometimes I can be a bit lazy and procrastinate. It's funny how the same old tasks get repeatedly bumped hahaha!
What have you found to be the most challenging aspect to your business since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020?
I think there was definitely a moment of panic when the first lockdown was announced as
everything just stopped overnight with little warning. But after that first panic passed we adjusted like everyone else and actually saw a surge in online sales which was a welcome relief. We were pleased to see once the shops reopened that customers hadn’t forgotten us and were still interested in our products.
How have you spent your time during lockdowns, any new hobbies or passions discovered?
We had fun doing a weekly 3 course international night - we would pull a country out of the hat and then cook food from there. It was a great way to build up our cooking repertoire but also resulted in our clothes not fitting quite so well lol. We also enjoyed discovering parts of our city we had never seen before on our daily walks, sometimes streets or buildings just round the corner we had never noticed before. So like a lot of people we came to appreciate what was on our doorstep. We used the Necropolis for daily exercise plus photography opportunities and created an atmospheric black and white collage print which always reminds me of lockdown when I look at it.
How do you think the pandemic will affect shopping habits and the retail industry moving forward?
Obviously a lot of people moved to online when things went pear shaped and so it’s going to be even more important for small businesses to have an online presence going forward. There’s
always going to be a need for physical retail spaces though and where SDX has an advantage is all the unique items from local makers that you can’t get elsewhere. Sometimes it’s nice to see things in person, to see the work put into items which you can’t always get a sense of online. People always comment on what a lovely place to shop SDX is. It’s a real treasure trove to browse in and people like to know they are supporting local artists and makers with their purchases.
How did SDX being closed affect your business?
SDX has quickly became a major part of our small business so it was a real blow to have it taken away so suddenly. It’s a testament to the team behind it that they had faith to keep it going behind the scenes and manage to not only reopen but to get back to pre pandemic sale levels. That is no mean feat for any small business.
,"People always comment on what a lovely place to shop SDX is. It’s a real treasure trove to browse in and people like to know they are supporting local artists and makers"
What do you hope to gain from working with SDX going forward?
We are always looking at ways to improve our mini shop with new images, products and offers. We are so very thankful for the opportunity SDX has given us to continue doing what we do and hope to continue our relationship for many years to come.
If you could share just one piece of advice to aspiring artists / designers who want to make a living from their creative talents what would you tell them?
I would say find your niche, have faith in yourself and your products and just really commit to it. There’s no point doing it half baked. Your display has to look like you believe in your work or how can you expect anyone else to?
Tell us your favourite inspirational quote or best advice you were given
Never eat yellow snow!
You can also meet Stuart in person September 17th at our George Street shop where he will be attending our Meet The Maker event!
Thank you to Stuart for participating in our Meet The Artist blog, you can support him and SDX by choosing to purchases his fantastic work at our Glasgow or Edinburgh shops or ,online!