Arts & Culture

‘I never meant to publish a book of selfies …. I really hate having my picture taken’

By Ian Marland at

A book was the last thing on Huck Sanderson’s mind when she started taking pictures on her cracked iPhone during lockdown.

What started out as a few humorous Facebook posts to rally friends became a daily routine of increasingly surreal and whacky photoshoots around her West End home and neighbourhood.

She even raided her wardrobe, cupboards and drawers for hats, props, accessories – anything that could tell a story and raise a smile.

Huck and hoover

Even the cleaning cupboard was raided for props. Photo: Huck Sanderson

And so she re-created Glasgow’s famous Wellington statue resplendent with pink tutu, traffic cone and toy dog.

In another, she dresses up as a washer woman from yesteryear and gives her photo the sepia treatment.

She strikes a glamorous pose with her vacuum cleaner and sits astride a stranger’s motorbike she just happened across.

By the time lockdown ended she had 100 unusual images to remember the unusual times.

Huck and bike

Huck is not even sure who the motorbike belonged to. Photo: Huck Sanderson

Now the photographs have been brought together in a collection that is raising money for theatre workers.

‘100 Days of Covid-19 Lockdown Madness’ is the book Huck never intended to publish – but is glad she did.

“It was never my intention to put together a book.

‘Cracked’

“I just started taking pretty bad photographs on my cracked iPhone.

“They seemed to go down well with my friends so I kept on posting them.

“I hate having my photograph taken – which is ironic considering here is a book with 100 pictures of me in it.”

Huck and wand

Lockdown artist with crown and paint brush. Photo: Huck Sanderson

Huck and bunny ears

With bunny ears and fluffy dress. During lockdown no-one was around to see. Photo: Huck Sanderson

Huck, 67, has lived and worked in the West End for most of her life.

She was a successful restaurateur, owning Poachers on Ruthven Lane in the 1980s, and had her own interior design firm.

The graduate of Glasgow School of Art started painting 10 years ago and her works have been exhibited in France.

‘Desperate’

In recent years, she has also provided lodgings for the city’s touring actors and theatre staff at her Hillhead home – hence her drive to support an industry that has been decimated by the pandemic.

“It’s really desperate what has happened to theatres and the performing arts.

“I miss having actors staying here. Raising money through the book is the least I can do to help in the circumstances.”

Huck and book

Cover story: Huck wears a papier mache death mask on the front of her book.

 

Huck and washer woman

Huck gives her washer woman the sepia treatment. Photo: Huck Sanderson

The photographs started out as a bit of fun to wile away a few moments during the days she was by herself in lockdown.

Each picture is accompanied with a caption giving context and insight into the moment.

She propped up her phone on a nearby chair, wall or object and set the timer to get the image she wanted.

“When it was announced, it suddenly dawned on me that with all the rules protecting us from Covid-19, I should start dressing up.

‘Bonkers’

“There would be fewer dogs in the park to jump up on me and fewer people to see my outfits.

“It was time to dig out stuff that I hadn’t seen for years. I could be as bonkers as I liked.”

“I was getting quite into it,” she says.

“Every morning I devised a look and trotted off with my two dogs, propped my phone up, took a snap and went on my way.

“When I got home I posted the image on my private Facebook and Instagram pages.”

Huck and Wellington

Image of Wellington and his cone will never seem the same again. Photo: Huck Sanderson

The daily photos became a highlight of many peoples’ empty days during lockdown.

They provided inspiration, hope and much needed laughter.

“My wardrobe, old school trunk and two chests of drawers kept producing.

 

‘There would be fewer dogs in the park to jump up on me and fewer people to see my outfits.

‘It was time to dig out stuff that I hadn’t seen for years. I could be as bonkers as I liked.”

‘I was getting quite into it’

Huck Sanderson

 

“My house seemed to be an endless source of props.

“Between all of that and the wonderful encouragement I was getting from friends, after 40 days, I went on to do another 40.

“After I reached 80 I was cajoled into doing 100.”

Huck and book

‘It’s really desperate what has happened to theatres and the performing arts. I miss having actors staying here’

Huck’s book has a limited edition of 1,000 copies.

A portion of proceeds will go to the Theatre Artists Fund.

* ‘100 Days of Covid-19 Madness’ published by Douglas Loveridge Publications is available by contacting hucksanderson@gmail.com. Books are priced £10/£12.50 with postage in the UK/ £14-£16 with overseas shipping. West End-based Halo Arts is helping to promote the book.