THE Capital’s only dedicated photography gallery is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a £40,000 fundraising drive aimed at inspiring young people and supporting future exhibitions.
As part of the campaign, Stills Gallery will tomorrow host a live auction featuring work by artists and photographers such as Robin Gillanders, Rachel Maclean and Wendy McMurdo.
Money raised will help finance the Cockburn Street gallery’s exhibitions and events programme and underpin efforts to widen access to photography.
Director of Stills, Ben Harman, said: “Our 40th anniversary has been an opportunity for us to take stock and look at everything Stills has achieved over the last four decades.
“Stills was the first gallery to bring exhibitions by the likes of Diane Arbus, Paul Strand and Robert Mapplethorpe to Scotland. We have supported thousands of photography enthusiasts in Scotland through a unique programme of exhibitions, creative learning and facilities provision.”
Stills runs artist-led courses in photography, design and film editing that are free of charge. Its contact programme also targets young people aged 16 to 24 and allows them to explore photography.
Edinburgh College of Art student Amy Brown was taking a break from education and doing part-time jobs when she came across the opportunity to participate in the programme.
The 22-year-old said: “It was really good to get doing something creative again and it was great for me for building my portfolio which I used for applying to university.
“I’m using this year to experiment, create and find my feet with it and then see where it goes from there.”
The centre recently launched a friends scheme to enable people to support its work with budding photographers.
It offers access to darkrooms, colour print processing and a digital training lab with Mac OSX operating systems.
Scottish photographer Robin Gillanders said: “For 40 years, Stills has been pivotal in supporting the art of photography in Scotland, consistently bringing important international work here as well as supporting Scottish talent.
“Besides exhibiting, its role in education, outreach and providing an essential resource for photographic artists continues to be essential.”
Ginnie Atkinson, chair of the Stills board, said: “At Stills the Board and staff believe passionately in the work Stills does and like most cultural organisations we have faced and continue to face challenges in resourcing this work.
“As a start, we have given ourselves a fundraising target of £40,000 in this our 40th anniversary year and we are calling upon our supporters and friends – and reaching out to new ones – to become involved and help secure the future of this fantastic resource for photography enthusiasts.”
The live auction fundraiser takes place at the Stills photography centre on Cockburn Street.