Inspired as a child by watching his artist Dad paint in his creative home city, Glasgow, I.P. McLaren first became known for the natural, no-gimmicks style of his honest and strikingly expressive portraiture.
As a nightclub DJ and musician, he took the plunge into the world of photography in 1985 when he was twenty five after buying a second hand camera from a pub hawker. He got bitten by the bug and read every photography book he could find and after taking a college course spent his days off experimenting with what he’d learned.
His first break into professional photography came after being offered studio space in a new Glasgow artists’ co-operative, WASPS and his career took off, taking pictures of models and people he met in his night club. Two years later the BBC made a TV programme about McLaren called ‘A style of one’s own’. He then became Artist in Residence at the Glasgow School of Art and in 1990 held an exhibition showcasing his art and life in Glasgow in its ‘City of Culture’ programme.
Soon afterwards McLaren produced his first album cover for top 90’s pop band Wet Wet Wet, followed by a series of portraits for American Vogue. He moved to London in 1991 and quickly become renowned for shooting straight from the heart pictures of ordinary people, artists, and celebrity ‘A’ listers including the Spice girls, Justin Timberlake, Billy Connolly, Orlando Bloom and many other actors, comedians and pop stars.
His client portfolio included Chanel Four, BBC, Bank of New York, Vidal Sassoon and magazines GQ, Smash hits, Top of the Pops and Q. He has been featured in several media interviews including Kirsty Young’s programme for BBC 5 live.
In the last few years McLaren has made a name for himself in the fine art arena, having been a four times nominee and recipient of an honourable mention in the world’s most prestigious International Photography Awards.
In recent projects such as ‘In the Mist’, started in 2016 in Hatfield Forest and his still lives in ‘Little book of Pears’ and ‘Dahlia Triptychs’, currently being curated for future exhibitions, Ian has turned his lens on the natural world, creating hauntingly beautiful studies that encapsulate the wonder he felt as a child moving from the big city to the Scottish countryside.
“Walking through forests and mists instilled a sense of apprehension in me. I always felt a presence of something bigger and greater than me and that I’m not alone. I’ve tried to capture and project the essence of these feelings into my prints and am fascinated by others’ reaction to them – do they find them sinister, ethereal, magical or calming? My still life work is all about texture, density, mystery and the transience of life that begins and ends in beauty of some form.”