EVERY year since 2008, the Street Level Photoworks gallery in Glasgow has hosted Futureproof, a winter festival of work from the BA Photography and Fine Art degrees shows of Scotland’s colleges, universities, and art schools. This year, for the first time, the exhibition is being hosted by both Street Level (until January 29) and the Stills photography gallery in Edinburgh (until January 28).

A wander around this year’s Glasgow exhibition is enough to convince one that there is a great deal of impressive and imaginative work going on among Scotland’s undergraduate students in photography and the photographic arts.

For instance, an image by Danielle Haynes (City of Glasgow College) – in which a photograph of a young woman’s face is represented on a series of cubes, which can be rearranged and fitted together like a 3D puzzle – is particularly ingenious and eye-catching.

Less obviously spectacular, but very intriguing, and quirkily humorous, is the picture by Finn Gibson (Glasgow School of Art) of a lone bus shelter on the Isle of Lewis. Mounted on a little mound, the shelter has a muddy field stretching back to the horizon as a backdrop. Save for the shelter, there is in this image no sign of human life. Where in Lewis, one wonders, are we? Who uses this bus shelter? How often do buses come by here?

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With this picture, and the other images in his Eilean an Fhraoich (Isle of Lewis) series, Gibson posits interesting questions about the nature of life for the people of Lewis, the Hebrides and the islands of Scotland. It’s hard to imagine a greater contrast with Gibson’s work than the images created by Spencer Dent (Glasgow School of Art).

Dent’s monochrome contemplations of “genderlessness” feature figures in ostentatious, gender-defying dark costumes, set against a white backdrop. There is, in both Dent’s theme and the visualisation of it, shades of the work of the great Australian designer and performance artist Leigh Bowery. This is ironic, as Bowery’s designs were characterised by a gloriously flamboyant use of colour. It is fascinating to realise just how strongly colour is implied by Dent’s black and white images.

Colour is to the fore in the work of Patrick Gordon (Edinburgh Napier University). His documentary project at Port Seton Harbour (where his grandfather worked) has produced wonderfully vivid and sympathetic photographs of the working lives of fisherfolk.

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The images made by Shannon Best (Glasgow School of Art) – in which a female figure, her face pallid and red-lipped, lies dead in various forest environments – appear to be a 21st-century, photographic response to Pre-Raphaelite paintings. The Pre-Raphaelites’ unpleasant obsession with dead, romanticised, young women is given an implicit, feminist satirical treatment.

The series of pictures by Susan J. Whittingham (Orkney College UHI) offer stark considerations of the Orkney landscape.

Other highlights include the bold-yet-subtle portraiture of Theodore Wilkins-Lang (Glasgow School of Art) and the disquieting, neo-religious images (calling back to the wounds of the crucified Christ) by Neil McCulloch (Duncan of Jordanstone, Dundee).

For further information about Futureproof 2022, visit: www.streetlevelphotoworks.org and www.stills.org