Show us Colonsay

Twins Chloe and Stephanie, Colonsay, by Craig Easton, 1995. Image © Craig Easton / Document Scotland, 2022. All rights reserved.

Document Scotland launches Show Us Colonsay photography project – a community-focused photography event designed to engage, educate and excite.

What: Show Us Colonsay

Where: Colonsay and Oransay, Inner Hebrides

When: 2-7 May, 2022

Show Us Colonsay is a community-focused photography event devised and delivered by Document Scotland in partnership with the Colonsay and Oransay Heritage Trust, which will offer the residents and visitors to the Inner Hebridean island the opportunity to participate in activities designed to engage, educate and excite during the first week of May this year. The event will include: 

  • an engagement project inviting participants to tell visual stories about their lives and local environment through a series of photographs.
  • an activity in which islanders are guided to create their own self-portrait.
  • a public salon evening at the end of the week where work made by participants will be shown and shared to a live local audience as well as being digitally transmitted online to viewers across Scotland and beyond.

Joining Document Scotland’s three photographers (Sophie Gerrard, Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert and Colin McPherson) on Colonsay will be Craig Easton, the 2021 Sony World Photographer of the Year. Each photographer will create their own photo stories about contemporary life on Colonsay during the week-long visit as well as working with participants on their projects.

David Binnie from the the Colonsay and Oransay Heritage Trust commented: “We are delighted to welcome Document Scotland to Colonsay. The Trust is helping support this community photography event, the aim of which is to create and share photo stories showing aspects of the community and its environs. The week-long interactive project will end with a showcase open event in the Heritage Centre and we look forward to being involved in this exciting venture.”

Sophie Gerrard (Document Scotland) said: “We are delighted to have this opportunity to work with the island community on Colonsay. This event forms part of Document Scotland’s ongoing work to engage with people across Scotland to help and support learning and development of visual storytelling through photography, as well as offering Document Scotland the opportunity to make new documentary work about our country.”

Adriana at the Cru after the Caa (the communal gathering of Sheep Hill, Fair Isle, October 2021 from Sophie Gerrard’s project ‘Drawn to the Land’. Image © Sophie Gerrard / Document Scotland, 2022. All rights reserved.

Photography events programme with Document Scotland, 2-7 May, 2022

Show Us Colonsay: Create Your Photo Story

This is an exciting opportunity for you to work with Document Scotland’s four award-winning photographers to create your very own photo story about Colonsay.

This fun and interactive activity is aimed at residents and visitors and participants will be supported and guided to develop a visual story using photographs they take over the course of five days.

The activity will involve hands-on, practical sessions where we will help you initiate and develop creative ideas by giving you advice on taking photographs and how to present your work.

We will stage three, photographer-led sessions. The first will focus on how and where to take photographs, the second will help you develop the work you are making and the final one will focus on selecting and editing the images to produce a photo story. 

Participants will be be able to seek advice, encouragement and inspiration from the Document Scotland photographers throughout the week.

Create Your Photo Story is open to anyone aged 12 and above and be free-of-charge to attend. All abilities welcome. Any device capable of taking photographs can be used, including smartphones.

The opening session will take place on Monday 2 May, at the Heritage Centre from 11am – 1pm.

For further information or to sign-up, please email .

Islander Walter Williams and his Massey Ferguson tractor outside his home at Kiloran Bay on the the Inner Hebridean island of Colonsay on Scotland’s west coast, 2019 by Colin McPherson. Image © Colin McPherson / Document Scotland, 2022. All rights reserved.

Show Us Colonsay: Portrait of a Community

In addition to the participatory activity outlined above, Document Scotland’s photographers are looking for your help to creative a snapshot of the Colonsay community.

We would like to collaborate with individuals, families, businesses or projects on the island to make portraits of you, your community and local environment. As part of this project, we’d like to talk to you about how you see yourself and how you would like to be photographed. 

Our aim is to create an innovative and interactive experience which results in a self-portrait of Colonsay made over the course of our visit to the island.

We will share our skills and knowledge with you and show you how the process of making photographic portraits can bring a subject to life.

Please get in touch with us and we’ll arrange to meet and photograph you. We look forward to hearing from you by email: .

Local residents playing during a music session at the Colonsay Hotel on the the Inner Hebridean island of Colonsay, 2019 by Colin McPherson. Image © Colin McPherson / Document Scotland, 2022. All rights reserved.

Show Us Colonsay – Salon Evening

A the end of Document Scotland’s week on Colonsay, we would like to invite the community to a special event at which we will show the photography which has been made by the community as part of Show Us Colonsay.

The event will be relaxed, informal and friendly, and we look forward to hearing about your experiences during the week as well as giving us the opportunity to show you what we learned about the island and its people. Free-to-attend, all welcome.

The Salon Evening will take place at the Heritage Centre, Saturday, 7 May, 7.30-9.30pm.

Amy, sustainability manager, visits some of the livestock on the estate farm – the livestock are fed waste draff from the mash process of the whisky making, at the Nc’nean single malt whisky distillery, in Drimnin, on the Morvern peninsula, 2021, by Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert. Image © Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert / Document Scotland, 2022. All rights reserved.

Show Us Colonsay is a direct follow-up to two very successful projects Document Scotland staged last year: Show Us Shetland was devised as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic. For the project, we worked remotely with a group of young people in the Shetland Islands, guiding them as they put together series of images about their lives and local environment during lockdown in February 2021. The following month, we collaborated with Highland Migrant and Refugee Action to stage Highlighting the Highlands, which gave groups of Syrian refugees the opportunity to show what life was like for them in the Highlands today. Both projects resulted in web-based events which were attended by the public online.

Both last year’s projects and Show Us Colonsay have been made possible by support from Creative Scotland, the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland distributing funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery. Document Scotland would also like to acknowledge additional financial and logistical support from Street Level Photoworks and the Colonsay & Oransay Heritage Trust, both of whom are collaborative partners in the event.

The full programme with details of how people can get involved with Show Us Colonsay will be announced on our website and via social media on 22nd March, 2022.

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

For further information, please contact

Colin McPherson

T: 07831 838717


Twitter & Instagram @DocuScotland

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