New Annual St Andrews Photography Festival To Celebrate Old And New

22nd 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.

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, 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 - 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 adds: “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.

The exhibitions will include:

  • 175 Years of Scottish Photography
  • A 40th Anniversary retrospective of Edinburgh’s Stills Gallery
  • 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.

Alistair Lang adds: “This event is about participation – engaging with people who live and work in the town as well as those visiting during the festival. We’ll also be using the event to reach out to those who like, follow and otherwise engage with us on digital and social media channels worldwide…using photographs.”

“BID’s collaborative approach has seen it engage with as wide a range of photographers as possible – from professionals to amateurs and photographic bodies to camera clubs – as well as working with the University, whose help has been invaluable. We’re also grateful to Fife Council, which has supported this event with a grant.

“The festival includes indoor and outdoor venues – making use of the town’s stunning setting and landscape to showcase work and engage with photographers of all ages. It will also provide an opportunity for businesses across the town to get involved and interact with customers in new ways.”

The St Andrews Photography Festival will run from 1 August to 11 September 2016.

For details as they’re revealed, go to the Festival Facebook page at


Editor’s notes

Media queries should be addressed to:

· Alan S. Morrison, ASM Media & PR, Mobile 07966 653073, Email [email protected]

· BID Manager, Rhonda McCrimmon, Mobile: 07931 649397, Email [email protected]

INTERVIEWS: Rachel Nordstrom (Photographic Collections Manager, University of St Andrews Library, Special Collections Division) is available for interview by arrangement:

  • Thursday June 9, 09:00-12:00
  • Friday June 10, 08:30-10:00

Contact Alan S. Morrison to arrange a slot.

Hi-RES IMAGES & FESTIVAL LOGO - Can be viewed and downloaded from Dropbox at

Image Credit Lines: For free use of any of the images supplied with this press release, you must use the following caption and credit line as shown, which corresponds to the file names.

· RMA-H-5591X - Woman in window, Harris, 1937. By Robert Moyes Adam. Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library: RMA-H-5591.X.

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

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • ALB-10-49 - Allan Robertson, St Andrews, 1850. By Thomas Rodger. Courtesy of the University of St Andrews Library: ALB-10-49.

Further information about the images can be obtained from Rachel Nordstrom, Photographic Collections Manager, University of St Andrews Library, Special Collections Division, on 01334 467328, or email [email protected]

Facebook page: The festival’s Facebook page is at

Background information:

1) William Henry Fox Talbot invented the photographic negative in 1839. Talbot was close friends with Sir David Brewster, who was Principal of The United College of St Salvator and St Leonard in the University of St Andrews from 1838-1859. The two men corresponded frequently regarding Talbot’s early photographic experiments and on its official announcement in 1839 Brewster encouraged several Scottish luminaries connected with both the town and the university to experiment with and practice photography.

2) Talbot’s more refined calotype process was patented in 1841, but that patent did not apply in Scotland, thus allowing Scottish photography to flourish.

3) The most influential partnership in early photography was between David Octavius Hill (1802-1870), a landscape and portrait painter from Perthshire, and Robert Adamson (1821-1848) a local St Andrean born in Boar Hills and taught photography by his older brother Dr John Adamson. They entered into the photographic partnership in 1843 and are known generally as ‘Hill & Adamson’. Examples of their work produced between 1843 and 1848 sit in the most notable collections around the world.

4) The first photographic studio in St Andrews was set up by Thomas Rodger on St Mary’s Place. Rodger was taught photography by Dr John Adamson. The studio is now the University Careers Centre.

About BID St Andrews Ltd

BID St Andrews is the not-for-profit management company for the Business Improvement District in St Andrews which was created on January 4 2016 after a vote of businesses in the proposed BID area in October 2015 and will run it for five years.

The aim of BID St Andrews is to harness the power of the global brand of St Andrews for the benefit of local businesses and the community.

Through the BID, a series of projects and services will create a more vibrant business environment focused on delivering an enhanced customer experience and reputation for the town.

Its Business Plan is funded by a mandatory levy of qualifying businesses whose premises are in the BID area. Levy payers voted for the BID on the basis of a business plan proposed by the BID Steering Group in 2015 and publicised through open evenings and other methods.

The Board of BID St Andrews was elected at an open evening at the Old Course Hotel on November 26th 2015.

Details of the Board members, their Business Plan and news of BID’s actions and plans can be found on the BID St Andrews website at

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