ST ANDREWS is set to launch its own annual photography festival this year.

Beginning on August 1, the festival will celebrate the work and legacy of prominent photographers from the town.

Photographic archive highlights from the University of St Andrews Library Special Collections will be showcased alongside contemporary Scottish work.

The six-week event is to be organised by Business Improvement Body (BID) St Andrews in conjunction with the University of St Andrews.

BID chairman Alistair Lang said: “This festival is about celebrating the gift St Andrews’ photographic pioneers gave to the world and acknowledging the Scottish photography since their day which has become part of their legacy through being inspired by their work.”

It is hoped the festival will provide a boost for local businesses, many of which are directly involved in staging the festival.

Thirteen businesses, including cafes and restaurants, have agreed to host exhibitions alongside six more conventional venues.

Lang said: “The festival will provide an opportunity for businesses across the town to get involved and interact with customers in new ways.”


WORKSHOPS, talks and events will be staged, catering for all ages and levels of expertise.

Renowned photographic historians will also be in attendance to give visitors insight into St Andrews’ rich photographic history. Officials from the National Museum of Scotland, Scottish National Photography Collection, Montfort University and the Scottish Film Council will give talks.

Local bakers and confectioners, meanwhile, are creating “cartes-de-biscuite” – chocolate versions of the Cartes-de-visite photographic calling cards used by Victorian society. Chocolate “stereo-bars” - bars of chocolate with images of St Andrews which can be viewed in 3D – are also available.


THE town’s long-standing connection with photography can be traced back to 1839 when William Henry Fox Talbot announced his photographic drawing process.

Two years later, he patented the photographic negative.

Talbot happened to be a close associate of David Brewster - principal of The United College of St Salvator and St Leonard in the University of St Andrews from 1838 until 1859.

A central theme in their considerable correspondence was Talbot’s early photographic experiments. Brewster subsequently encouraged several Scottish luminaries connected with both the town and the university to experiment with photography, launching the St Andrews photography connection.

Perhaps the most influential of St Andrews’ photography pioneers was John Adamson, a contemporary of Brewster and Talbot. Together with Brewster, he produced the first calotype portrait in Scotland at the Royal Museum in Edinburgh in May 1841.

Importantly, Adamson passed on his expertise to his younger brother Robert, who went on to form the seminal documentary partnership with David Octavius Hill. Hill & Adamson works, produced between 1843 and 1848, still feature in many of the most renowned photography collections today.

Another of John Adamson’s students, Thomas Rodger, established St Andrews’ first photographic studio in the 1840s.

St Andrews’ rich photographic history is considered to be a great asset.

University of St Andrews library photographic collections manager and festival organiser Rachel Nordstrom said: “Over the past three years we have seen a resurgence in Scotland for the appreciation for historic and contemporary photography. Our aim is to build on this but highlight the vital role St Andrews played in the earliest days of photography, and the role Scotland played for the following 175 years.

“While most people think of St Andrews as the home of golf, or the home of an ancient university, there is a rich photographic history which is often overlooked by many visitors.”