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St Andrews Photography Festival 1st August – 11th September

Friday 17 June 2016

While St Andrews is world-renowned as the home of golf, few know the role the town has played nationally and internationally in the introduction of photography.

GMC-F-28 - Four gentlemen golfers in a Car, St Andrews, 1904. By John Fairweather, held in Cowie Collection. Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library: GMC-F-28.
Four gentlemen golfers in a Car, St Andrews,
1904. By John Fairweather, held in Cowie Collection: GMC-F-28.

The University of St Andrews Library Special Collections Division is working with BID St Andrews – the business improvement body created to support businesses in the town – and local businesses to launch an annual photography festival in August which will celebrate the role and importance of St Andrews in the world of photography and engage with those who live, work in and visit the town.

BID Chairman, Alistair Lang, explains: “We are one of the most photographed and filmed towns in the world, yet few realise much of the technology we enjoy the benefits of today began with the work of a collection of photographic pioneers who lived and worked in St Andrews in the 1800s.”

Dr John Adamson is perhaps the most celebrated – a blue plaque adorns the wall of his former home in the town on South St, now The Adamson Restaurant. But many other names are to be celebrated for the role they played, including Sir Hugh Lyon Playfair, David Octavius Hill, Robert Adamson, Thomas Rodger and Sir David Brewster.

The first six-week-long festival – from August 1 to September 11 – which is being curated by the Universtiy Library's Photographic Collections Manager Rachel Nordstrom, will see events and exhibitions focus on the earliest days of photography in St Andrews as well as Scottish documentary photography over the last 175 years and contemporary photography.

The Kelpies at Sunset, Falkirk, 2014. By Hamish Brown. Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library: HMB-1000.
The Kelpies at Sunset, Falkirk, 2014. By Hamish Brown: HMB-1000.

The festival will put some of the photographic highlights of the University of St Andrews Library Special Collections on show as well as creating a showcase for contemporary Scottish photographers.

Up to 15 local businesses will be involved, including cafés and restaurants, hosting small-scale exhibitions. There will also be tours, seminars, workshops and talks including guest photographers as well as workshops to demonstrate a variety of photographic processes including calotype and collodion - two of the earliest and those used by the town’s renowned pioneers of the art.

The exhibitions will include:

  • 175 Years of Scottish Photography
  • Pioneers Thomas Rodger - who set up the first purpose-built photographic studio in St Andrews in 1849 - and Robert Moyes Adam
  • Renowned Press photographers George M. Cowie and Harry Papadopoulos
  • Documentary photographers Franki Raffles, David Peat, Dr Hamish Brown MBE, Sean Dooley and Document Scotland (Colin McPherson, Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert, Sophie Gerrard and Stephen McLaren)
  • Photographic artists Calum Colvin RSA OBE, Kit Martin and Keny Drew

There will also be a number of events, including a ‘Become a Street Photographer’ youth workshop, a Victorian Tintype Studio, a photographic tour of St Andrews and talks by photographers including Hamish Brown on his travels in Morocco.

For full details of all the events, please download a copy of the St Andrews Photography Festival Programme 2016 (PDF, 4,206 KB).

For further updates, go to the Festival Facebook page.