Renowned broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough has teamed up with celebrity photographer Francis Hills to shoot the first in a series of St Andrews portraits.
They will eventually form an exhibition and book, all in support of the University of St Andrews 600th Anniversary Campaign.
Sir David was made an honorary Doctor of Science by the university during its summer graduations last week.
Hills, a St Andrews graduate, has worked with celebrities including Megan Fox, Alan Cumming and Carmen Electra, and his work has appeared in magazines worldwide including Time, Elle, and Entertainment Weekly.
He told the Citizen: “It is an honour to be given this opportunity to capture the lives and loves of Scotland’s oldest university.
‘‘It is, of course, a huge challenge to do justice to such a mammoth a subject. However, I’m delighted to be supporting my alma mater and looking forward to celebrating the spirit of this special place.”
The resulting photograph, released on Friday, is the beginning of a portfolio that will include well-known graduates, students, staff, friends of the university, and men and women from all walks of town life who support the goals of supporting curiosity-driven enquiry and widening access to Scotland’s first university.
This is the first time in its 600-year history that the university has attempted a photographic project on this scale, which will add a modern record to its existing photographic archive – one of the largest in Scotland.
The project continues a long history of innovation in photography in St Andrews.
The university played a pivotal role in the establishment of photography in Scotland in the early 1840s. Sir David Brewster, principal of the United College, was the catalyst for the production of the first experimental works in photography by John and Robert Adamson.
Brewster was also instrumental in the formation of the renowned partnership in photography between David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson.
A book charting the relationship between the town and the development of photography has been launched to mark the university’s anniversary celebrations – “The Beginning and the End of the World: St Andrews, Scandal and the Birth of Photography”. Its author, Professor Robert Crawford, will be one of the sitters for Hills’ project.
Hills’ full St Andrews collection will be presented as a coffee-table book and touring exhibition, visiting both New York and St Andrews during the course of the university’s anniversary celebrations.
Founded in the 15th century, St Andrews is Scotland’s first university and the third oldest in the English-speaking world.
In February, the university began its 600th Anniversary celebrations when HRH Prince William launched a highly ambitious £100 million fundraising campaign to support new scholarships and ensure it has the resources and infrastructure to continue a 600-year-old tradition of academic excellence.
The celebrations will span from 2011 to St Andrew’s Day 2013.