Higher Vision exhibition explores Scotland through the lens of photography students

Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh MSP meets Heather Osbourne, formerly of Mearns Castle High School at the opening of the Higher Vision photographic exhibition at The Scottish Parliament. 

Artwork from some of Scotland’s most talented amateur photographers has gone on display as part of a new exhibition at the Scottish Parliament.

The exhibition, Higher Vision, showcases some of the best images taken by 26 students from schools and colleges from all over the country who have completed the Scottish Qualifications Authority’s Higher Photography course over the past year. The exhibition is on display in the Parliament’s Main Hall until Friday 8 February 2019 and entry is free.

The exhibition provides a unique insight into what life in Scotland is like through the lens of these students and captures people and places from their own outlook.  From Scotland’s diverse landscapes and our environment to portraiture of people who have made an impact on their lives.  These images also explore issues of identity, adolescence and mental health.

Held in partnership with Scottish Qualification Authority and the Scottish Society for the History of Photography, the exhibition captures a selection of the talent that has been displayed by over 2,300 Higher Photography candidates over the past academic year.  Taken from students’ projects produced as part of their course assessments, which counted towards their final grades, a panel consisting of photography and industry experts chose the images that will be featured.

Cameron Ross, Formerly of Balfron High School is pictured with his images of Glasgow at Night 

The Presiding Officer, the Rt. Hon. Ken Macintosh MSP said: “This is a really impressive exhibition which provides a fascinating insight into life in Scotland.  More than two dozen of our best photography students have given us some beautiful, striking and intriguing images to consider and I am delighted that the Scottish Parliament can provide a platform to display their obvious talent.

“The themes covered range from the intimate to the abstract, with intensely personal photographs alongside reflections on the natural environment.  I would encourage anyone with an interest to come and see this thought-provoking collection.” 

Some of the students who will be in attendance include Gemma Anderson from Falkirk High School, whose project captured her Grandfather, and his love of fishing; Sheila Matheson from West Highland College, whose photographs depicted different ages and communities in rural Ross-shire; and Emily Cumming from Kyle Academy, who explored issues around mental health.

Dr Janet Brown, SQA Chief Executive, said:  “Higher Vision is a fantastic way to round off 2018 Scotland’s Year or Young People.  The exhibition celebrates the skill and talent of 26 photographers from schools and colleges across the county, and it’s right that we at SQA, the Scottish Parliament, and SSHOP give young people a national platform upon which we can recognise their achievements.”

Megan Leask, a former pupil of Dollar Academy, is pictured with her collection, along with Rt Hon Ken Macintosh MSP

Alexander Hamilton, Chair of Scottish Society for the History of Photography, said:  “A generation of young people are getting a wonderful introduction to the world of photography, especially Scotland’s important role in its evolution. The Higher Vision exhibition is an impressive demonstration of photographic talent from across Scotland. A selection of the work is featured in our journal Studies in Photography, which offers insights into the historic as well as the new contemporary voices that are shaping the direction of photography in Scotland.”

A copy of the Higher Vision exhibition catalogue is available here (5.25 MB). Higher Vision free to enter, and is open to the public until 08 February 2019.