University forges partnership to create photographic legacy

Hogmanay celebrations at Comrie, Perthshire, December 2011.''Photograph � Stephen McLaren/Document Scotland.
Hogmanay celebrations at Comrie, Perthshire, December 2011.''Photograph � Stephen McLaren/Document Scotland.

A new partnership that will create a visual legacy of contemporary documentary photography is to be launched by St Andrews University.

The important new collaboration between the university and Document Scotland will unite some of the oldest photographs in Scotland with contemporary images from the present day.

The initiative will see the University of St Andrews - custodians of the oldest photographic collection in the country - support the work of the photographers of today.

It will also unite the ancient with the modern, with St Andrews acquiring a substantial collection of current work by acclaimed contemporary Scottish photographers, whose work will sit alongside early photographic pioneers such as Hill and Adamson, John Thomson, Thomas Annan and James Valentine.

Between them, the two organisations will work together to develop a rich new collection that will ultimately form a unique cultural resource for generations of Scots to come.

The collaboration will see four events staged across Scotland this summer which will showcase the work currently being made by Document Scotland and other contemporary photographers working on Scottish issues, as well as highlighting photography from the University of St Andrews’ Library Photographic Collection.

Formed in 2012, Document Scotland is a collective of four Scottish documentary photographers brought together by a common vision to witness and photograph the important and diverse stories about Scotland.

The four members of Document Scotland, Colin McPherson, Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert, Sophie Gerrard and Stephen McLaren, are currently capturing photographs which reflect the current state of the nation.

As a non-political collective, Document Scotland’s work looks at stories, themes and ideas which form a backdrop to current affairs.

The important new strategic partnership between the university and Document Scotland will support contemporary photography at this pivotal time in Scotland’s modern history.

Colin McPherson, one of the founders of Document Scotland, said: “We are very excited about this partnership with one of the world’s most celebrated and important photography collections. The financial and logistical support offered to us by the university will allow Document Scotland to record what is happening in the country today and continue the important work of creating a visual legacy for this and future generations.

“We look forward to working with the Special Collections Division at the university and contributing to its extensive and world-renowned photography collection.”

The University’s Special Collections Division holds over 800,000 images from the 1840s onwards.

Building upon the strength of its 19th and 20th century holdings, the partnership with Document Scotland launches a new forward-looking direction for the future character of the Photographic Collection.

The University of St Andrews is funding a substantial acquisition of new work by the Document Scotland collective to be incorporated into the Library’s historic Photographic Collection.