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.
But BID St Andrews – the business improvement body created to support businesses in the town – is working with the University of St Andrews 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 explained: “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 the town 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 Street, now The Adamson Restaurant.
However, 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 – 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.
Alistair added: “Today’s technology ensures we can all be photographers and we’re inviting everyone to be a part of this unique festival which we hope will become a regular fixture in the town’s calendar.”
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.
For details as they’re revealed, go to the Festival Facebook page at www.facebook.com/StAndPhotoFest/.