Document Scotland Summer Salon 2013

A full crowd at the Document Scotland Summer Salon event, Stills Gallery, Edinburgh

A full crowd at the Document Scotland Summer Salon event, Stills Gallery, Edinburgh


Edinburgh during the festival is a lively place, full of energy, excitement and a melting pot of ideas, inspiration and passion. What better reason to invite friends and colleagues to an evening of Scottish photography, multimedia and conversation at Stills Gallery, Scotland’s centre for photography in the heart of the city. All of us at Document Scotland would like to extend a huge thank you to all of you who came along and helped make the night such a success.

We were also delighted and honoured to be joined by Fiona Hyslop, the Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs. Thank you for coming Fiona, and your kind words about the work.

Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert and Colin McPherson talk to Fiona Hyslop, the Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, at the Document Scotland Summer Salon event at Stills Gallery, Edinburgh.


Stephen McLaren welcomed us all, and the evening kicked off with Jeremy’s new, and as yet unseen multimedia work on the Scottish Borders Common Ridings. A fascinating glimpse into a world of tradition, ritual and history (and a follow on from his work on the subject started in 2000 which you can read about here.)

Next up was Tom Kidd’s stunning black and white work from 1970’s Shetland, more of which can be seen here. Tom was there to answer a few questions for us and tell us a little about his experiences of photographing there. It was great you could join us, thanks Tom.


Tom Kidd with members of the audience.


Sophie Gerrard talks to Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop.


We then went to our first Glasgow story of the evening, Chris Leslie’s evocative Red Road Underground which tells the story of the unique Brig bar, a hidden underground bingo hall underneath the now demolished Red Road flats in Glasgow. Chris’ ability to transport us to that place through the voices of those who frequented there led to an interesting conversation about legacy, regeneration and memory. We’re really glad you could join us Chris and tell us more about your work.


Chris Leslie talks to the audience about his project The Glasgow Renaissance.


Gemma Oven’s “Skeklers” documents an ancient the lost tradition of Skekling from the Shetland isles through photography, film and reconstruction. We featured this work by Gemma on the blog back in March this year after finding learning about her project that she undertook as a student at the City of Glasgow College. We were very pleased that Gemma was able to join us last night and answer a few questions about the ancient tradition and her experience of recreating it. Take a read of the blog piece to see more of Gemma’s pictures and watch the film.


Gemma Ovens tells the crowd more about her work “Skeklers”.


Colin McPherson was up next with his new work, “Avenue” – a work in progress which is in the very early stages and looks at the street in which he grew up in. Colin talked us through his idea for the work, his motivation and where he planned to take the project. As it’s so new, we don’t have a link for this project, but please do watch this space, Colin will be updating us all as it progresses and as the work continues – we can’t wait to see more Colin.


Colin McPherson presents his new work to the audience


The second Glasgow project of the evening was work by Hugh Hood. His photography website is here. We watched a slideshow of 1974 Glasgow images set to music. Documenting  vanishing Glasgow neighbourhoods. It’s a poignant project and one we’ve featured on the Document Scotland blog – take a read here.


The audience at the Document Scotland Summer Salon event at Stills Gallery, Edinburgh


Last up – and for desert as Stephen put it, was Sophie’s piece on Tunnocks and the Scottish institution that is Mr Boyd Tunnock – some call him a modern day Willy Wonka, others call him Mr Tea Cake. Having always wanted to get inside that wonderful factory and see how it worked, Sophie was given the opportunity earlier this year and the resulting film and photographs were published, you can see them here.


What remains to be said is a huge big thank you from all of us. Thank you to Evan and his team at Stills for hosting us and making us feel so welcome, thank you to Neil from Beyond Words for being there with an ever fantastic collection of books and publications for sale, thank you to our wonderful guest contributing photographers showing work alongside us namely Chris Leslie, Gemma Ovens, Tom Kidd and Hugh Hood. Thank you to Fiona Hyslop, for joining us and thank you most of all to our wonderful audience for turning up in such numbers and making this night such a success.


Here’s to you all, and to the next Salon event!

The four founding members of Document Scotland (l-r Colin McPherson, Sophie Gerrard, Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert & Stephen McLaren)
outside Colin McPherson’s childhood home in Edinburgh.

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International fixture

Director Nuno Salgado introduces delegates to the Entre Margens conference in Porto.

Document Scotland was delighted to receive an invitation from the organisers of the Entre Margens project to attend a three-day conference last weekend in the beautiful Portugese city of Porto.

Open air concert in Porto, part of the Entre Margens event.

Entre Margens (between river banks) is a project of artistic intervention in the historical towns and villages of several locations in the Douro region, with the city of Porto, which stands at the eponymous river’s mouth, being the closest big urban conurbation. Through the eyes of photographers and artists the three-year project sought to discover a universe characterised by the river, the wine, the landscape and ultimately by its people.

One of the illuminated cubes showing the project’s photography.

The 2013 event, which is scheduled to be the final one of three under the current funding arrangements, produced a fascinating mix of photographic commissions, live events and discussion. Commissions were awarded to a number of acclaimed international photographers as well as local image-makers, both established and emerging.

The project’s aims were to promote new ways of interpreting contemporary creative output, whilst reviving public spaces under the banner of local sustainable development, cultural co-operation and environmental preservation.

Entre Margens also encouraged and challenged up-and-coming artists and photographers to take a fresh look at the region, and the work which was produced was intriguing and excellent, offering many personal insights into the culture, customs and landscape of a region of Portugal steeped in history and tradition.

Magnum’s Fiona Rogers addresses one of the conference sessions.

The weekend conference at which Document Scotland participated featured contributions from legendary British photographer Brian Griffin and showcased the burgeoning talent of London-based Chloe Dewe Mathews alongside the acclaimed Brazilian Gil Sibin. The work by established Portugese photographers such as Antonio Pedrosa sat well with a host of emerging local photographers whose work demonstrated that there is plenty of talent coming through in the country.

Brian Griffin chatting to Document Scotland’s Colin McPherson.

A stimulating and intriguing weekend consisted of presentations by photographers and industry professionals (such as Firecracker/Magnum’s Fiona Rogers and well-known English festival directors and curators Louise Clements and Patrick Henry as well as representatives from photo festivals in Lodz, Poland and New York), walk throughs of the exhibitions (stunningly presented as illuminated cubes in the city’s streets) and plenty of time for formal panel discussions and socialising with Portugese colleagues.

The Document Scotland presentation gave an overview of our first year and highlighted our desire to collaborate and co-operate with other photographers, institutions and festivals both at home and abroad to make a contribution to the debate on the future of photography. There was a great deal of enthusiasm for- and interest in our collective model and don’t be surprised to see at least one group of Porto-based photographers coming together to make work and explore many of the themes and ideas of this fascinating place. Document Portugal, anyone?

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Craig Buchan has been photographing, the Sisters of the Poor Clare Order, in Humbie, near Edinburgh. The work constitutes a photo exhibition starting at the recently opened Trigg Gallery in Dundas Street, Edinburgh, on August 15th. Gallery is open Monday to Friday 8.30am – 18.30pm and Saturday 8.30am to 13.30pm.


Commitment by Craig Buchan.

“Sisters Dominique and Veronica live in the quiet countryside village of Humbie, 20 miles east of Edinburgh. Their home is a modest convent with a chapel and a well-tended garden, which they share with their well-loved two pet dogs Zara and Craigen, who also feature in the photo-essay.  They are Sisters of the Poor Clare Order.

©Craig Buchan 2013, all rights reserved.


“The form of life of the Order of the Poor Sisters . . . is this: to observe the holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by living in obedience, without possessing anything as my own and in chastity.” – Rule of St Clare.

Founded by Saint Clare and Saint Francis of Assisi, the Poor Clare’s are contemplative communities with lives centred on prayer in praise of God, and in intercession for the needs of the world.

Daily life in a Poor Clare Monastery is centred around the Eucharist and communal recitation/ singing of the Divine Office – the Prayer of the Church. Seven times a day the sisters gather for the different “Hours” of the Divine Office – Morning Prayer, the Office of Readings, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers (Evening Prayer) and Compline. They also have private prayer – one and a half hours – and spiritual reading, as well as Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on specific times and days. They also manage to find time to receive many visitors each week and emails requesting prayers from people from all around the world who are worried about illness, are bereaved, anxious about relationships, family difficulties or anything else.

“A vocation to be a nun comes from God’s free choice of certain individuals; commitment comes from our free choice to cooperate with the graces received with His call and is the fruit of our loving self-surrender to God”.

©Craig Buchan 2013, all rights reserved.


As an outsider and a photographer I was welcomed into their own quiet and private lives, they were open and honest and happy to let me document their world. I feel that their kind and generous characters, playful nature and selfless lives are honestly shown in my photo essay. It was fascinating for me to see things develop and get an insight into the parts of their lives that you would not normally see or associate with being a nun. To someone on the outside looking in it had a feeling of surreality seeing them doing the simple everyday things like playing with their pet dogs or washing their car or gathering wood. As sister Dominique said to me ‘like seeing how the other half live’.

I was intrigued by the kind of person that devotes their life to a faith and to help others especially in such a self-obsessed climate like today’s society where material belongings and career climbing mean more to people than any kind of spiritual enlightenment. Religion, to me, has a very mixed image in Scotland today. Most coverage in the media is of a negative nature, whether it be war or scandals involving priests or poor bank investment choices, but from getting to know the Sisters of Humbie and spending time documenting their everyday lives it was somewhat reassuring to see the positive nature of their religious beliefs and how this contented and fulfilled them.” – Craig Buchan.

Click here to see more of Craig Buchan’s photography.

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Summer Salon, 23.08.13

Well friends, autumn approaches, but never let it be said that Document Scotland gives in so easily. We’ve decided to have a summer party. Or to give it a grand name, we’re having a Summer Salon.

Yep, on Friday August 23rd, during the Edinburgh festival, we’re having a Salon evening event to showcase Scottish photography and multimedia, to get people together and to toast the good times of summer. The event will be held at Stills Gallery, Cockburn Street, Edinburgh, from 6.30pm-8.30pm. And apparently we have to be out the door sharp from the Gallery, but there is a hostelry next door that we can relax in and continue our discussions.

Showing multi-media stills photography work on the evening, covering a variety of topics, will be Gemma Ovens, Chris Leslie, Colin McPherson, Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert, Sophie Gerrard, Tom Kidd and Hugh Hood. There will also be book stall with some latest book titles, with our good friend Neil from Beyond Words. Stephen McLaren is flying in from California to be our MC for the evening.

Due to capacity limitations at Stills we are only allowed to admit 50 people maximum, and already approximately half that number is accounted for, so we’re opening out an invite to 20 more other souls who’d like to join us.

If you would like to attend, and please remember attendance will be limited, email your name and details to [email protected], he is the bouncer, the man with the Guest List. And please, we’re sorry, but only email if you will definitely come, space is limited unfortunately, as much as we’d love to have an open door for everyone.

We hope you can make it, and we look forward to the chat.

Dress code is casual.


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