St Andrews Photography Festival launches in August

The UK’s latest photography festival will open on August 1 in St Andrews, billed as a six-week celebration of the town’s historical connections to the artform and a chance to view a range of contemporary talent

St Andrews’ links to photography date back to the mid-19th century and the pioneering calotype print work of Dr John Adamson, the physician and curator. Adamson went on to teach the process to his brother, Robert, who despite his premature death (he was only 26), created around 2,500 calotype portraits.

William Henry Fox Talbot’s calotype process had been patented in 1841 – but as the patent did not apply in Scotland, Dr Adamson was able to develop his own technique and pave the way for other Scottish names such as David Octavius Hill, who formed a partnership with Robert Adamson in 1843; Thomas Rodger, who set up the first photographic studio in St Andrews; and Sir David Brewster, a close friend of Fox Talbot’s.

Carrying peats, Fladday, Harris, 1937. By Robert Moyes Adam. Image courtesy of University of St Andrews Library: RMA-H-5623
Top of post: Rag and Bone men, Rye Hill, Newcastle, 1968. By Carolyn Scott. © Carolyn Scott. Image courtesy St Andrews University Library: 2010-3-146. Above: Carrying peats, Fladday, Harris, 1937. By Robert Moyes Adam. Image courtesy of University of St Andrews Library: RMA-H-5623
Woman in window, Harris, 1937. By Robert Moyes Adam. Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library: RMA-H-5591.X
Woman in window, Harris, 1937. By Robert Moyes Adam. Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library: RMA-H-5591.X

BID St Andrews, the town’s business improvement body, has worked with local businesses and the University to set up the new festival which will to honour these links to photography while focusing on contemporary talent.

According to the organisers, fifteen local businesses will host small-scale exhibitions, “alongside 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”.

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. Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library: GMC-F-28
Mallorca, 1982. By David Peat. © David Peat Estate, courtesy of St Andrews University Library
Mallorca, 1982. By David Peat. © David Peat Estate, courtesy of St Andrews University Library

“The first six-week-long festival – from August 1 to September 11 – will see events and exhibitions focus on the earliest days of photography in StAndrews as well as Scottish documentary photography over the last 175 years and contemporary photography.”

Exhibitions will include ‘175 Years of Scottish Photography’; a 40th Anniversary retrospective of Edinburgh’s Stills Gallery; a show of work by pioneers Thomas Rodger and Robert Moyes Adam; and exhibits by 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), alongside artists Calum Colvin RSA OBE, Kit Martin and Keny Drew.

Dr John Adamson’s home on South Street, St Andrews, 1862. By John Adamson. Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library: ALB-8-67
Dr John Adamson’s home on South Street, St Andrews, 1862. By John Adamson. Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library: ALB-8-67
End of the tarmac road, Menie, Aberdeenshire, 2011. By Alicia Bruce. © Alicia Bruce, TRUMPED project
End of the tarmac road, Menie, Aberdeenshire, 2011. By Alicia Bruce. © Alicia Bruce, TRUMPED project

“There will also be a number of events,” say the organisers, “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”.

The St Andrews Photography Festival will run from 1 August to 11 September 2016. facebook.com/StAndPhotoFest

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