Photographer Simon Murphy has made a career out of shooting human interest stories in countries such as Rwanda, Cambodia and Bangladesh. In 2019 he won both the Scottish Portrait Award and the Portrait Of Britain Award, and his most recent exhibition is Govanhill, a series of photographs of people living in one of Glasgow’s most diverse areas. That exhibition – titled simply Govanhill – runs at Glasgow’s Street Level Photoworks gallery until January 28. There is also a book of the same title (Gomma, £39.99).

Who’s your favourite photographer?

So many to choose from. Today it’s Tish Murtha as I just watched the brilliant documentary Tish by Paul Sng, but tomorrow it might be Chris Killip, David Bailey, Richard Avedon, Harry Gruyart, Bruce Davidson or Anton Corbijn.

What’s the last book you read?

Yuki by Biba Murphy. This is a book that my daughter and I started writing during lockdown. Six am starts. It’s a Call Of The Wild-type story about a young wolf cub that gets separated from her pack. It’s about friendship, hardship, and recognising and grabbing hold of opportunities when they present themselves. We finished the first draft months ago but my current exhibition has taken a fair bit of time so I just started re-reading it and hope to complete it soon. If it never gets published, it’s not a problem: the time we spent together throwing ideas around was so precious.

What’s the last film you saw in a cinema?

Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny. It might have been good but my mind was elsewhere. I couldn’t stop thinking about Indy stoating about Glasgow where some of it was filmed. I kept expecting him to pop into the Blue Lagoon for a fish supper or get knocked back from the Sub Club for carrying a whip.

The Herald: The last Indiana Jones movie was partly filmed in GlasgowThe last Indiana Jones movie was partly filmed in Glasgow (Image: free)

Recommend a podcast …

The United Nations Of Photography by Grant Scott. In particular, the episodes where he has lively conversations with ex-editor of Life magazine, Bill Shapiro. They go way beyond the usual camera stuff and debate the twists and turns of the industry. A must.

Recommend an album …

Songs In A And E by spiritualized. What a clever title referencing musical chords and hospital wards. Written whilst recovering from a near death experience and in intensive care, Jason Pierce walks a tightrope between elation and despair . Soul On Fire immediately followed by Harmony 2 makes this brilliant album a masterpiece.

And a band …

Have you heard of Primal Scream?

What musical instrument do you wish you could play?

I play the guitar a bit but I can never finish a song. I would love to play bass like Mani from the Stone Roses.

Vinyl or MP3?

There is a place for each. Vinyl is like a three course meal at Mother India. MP3 is like a Sausage and Egg McMuffin when you need it most.

Blur or Oasis?

Oasis. I think even Blur would admit that.

The Herald: Simon Murphy, self-portraitSimon Murphy, self-portrait (Image: free)

Favourite photograph?

It’s a series, The Brooklyn Gang by Bruce Davidson. The images capture the daily lives of a group of New York youths called The Jokers. The way Davidson was able to become part of the tribe and document intimate moments is so impressive. Each image is like a still from the coolest movie ever made.

Colour or black and white?

I shoot in black and white but put colour on my walls.

Who or what do you always turn off?

Anything with canned laughter. I cannot stand shows like Friends and Frazier. Everyone Loves Raymond? Yeah right … not me!

Favourite film?

Dog Day Afternoon. I love how it takes place almost entirely in one place, a bank. Orson Welles said: “The enemy of art is the absence of limitations,” and I think with such a limited set, everything else is amplified. What we are left with is a piece of astounding art with incredible acting and a disarmingly touching story.

And actor?

Harrison ford. He’s Indiana Jones. Enough said.

What has been your most formative cultural experience?

I used to be a postman and sometimes I would deliver postcards. The photographs of far-flung places made me wonder what it would be like to travel. One day, I delivered a postcard with a picture of The Beatles on it. It was a lightbulb moment when I realised that it wasn’t only The Beatles who were present but they shared that moment with the photographer. You never see the photographer but they are present in every iconic moment in history, experiencing it and sometimes creating and shaping it. That captured moment inspired me to leave my job in the post and pick up a camera.

If you’re a gamer, what’s your current favourite?

I had to delete a game recently. It was a Tetris-style game with watermelons. It was pretty addictive and I realised it was taking too much of my time.

What’s your go-to YouTube video?

I go through long spells of not looking at YouTube at all, then I binge on photographic documentaries. I pretty much always watch them in the bath with my phone wedged between the tiles and a bar of soap.

Recommend a book …

I read images more than I do words so would recommend Magnum Streetwise, a brilliant collection of street photography.

What was the most memorable recent theatre show you saw?

I saw Back To The Future in London. The way the DeLorean was made to look like it was speeding towards 88 mph was so clever and at the end when the car took off and did a roly poly over the audience, that blew my mind!

You’re in a station or airport ahead of a journey. What magazine do you grab?

I don’t. I would much rather use the time to sit quietly and get lost in my thoughts. I love travel for this very reason.

Favourite song?

Hallelujah by the Happy Mondays. The voice at the start, a piercing call to prayer. The build up of the choppy 1990s rave piano and when that bass kicks in … wow. A groove to get lost in! I love spiritual songs.

And musician?

Liam Gallagher. In the song Supersonic, when Liam doubles down on “You’ve got to make it happen” – that’s the spirit, that’s the attitude! For me, it’s important to have dreams but if they are going to become a reality, you need to put your shoes on and take the steps.

Recommend a film …

Buffalo 66. Worth it for Vincent Gallo’s red boots and the incredibly awkward visit to his parents house.

Who was the second best James Bond?

Sean Connery.