Earlier this week I represented Document Scotland on a panel discussion held in Edinburgh on the topic of ‘Photography in Scotland’. Organised and hosted by Ratio 7:1 photography collective, a new collective of students of photography from Napier University, and held to coincide with their ‘Dismantle’ exhibition which is currently showing, the evening was deemed to be a huge success by all who took part and those attending as audience. Speakers on the discussion panel, ably chaired by Ratio 7:1’s John Dougan, were Malcolm Dickson of Street Level Photoworks, photographers David Eustace, Ron O’Donnell, & myself, and Dr. Roberta McGrath of Napier University, Edinburgh. Lively debates emerged between audience and panel, stimulated by questions from the audience on subjects such as gender bias in photography, the history of Scottish photography, the future of photography in Scotland, and what is success and how do you achieve it? As ever there were no definitive answers, but lots of opinions offered giving much fuel for thought and further discussion.
Document Scotland would like to congratulate John Dougan and his Ratio 7:1 colleagues on their ‘Dismantle’ photography show, and for organising and hosting such a successful panel discussion event. To find out a little more about Ratio 7:1, why they hosted the discussion evening, etc, we asked John to tell us a bit of their plans. The below comes from John and shows a few images of the evening.
“Ratio 7:1 is a collective made up of seven year three students on the BA Photography programme at Edinburgh Napier University. John Dougan, Lysann Ehmann, Erin Semple, Susan McFadzean, Adam Kinship, Denitsa Toshirova and Anete Atvare came together to form Ratio 7:1 as part of a course module that required students to form a group and hold an exhibition of their work. The outcome of this was Dismantle, an exhibition held at Gayfield Creative Spaces in Edinburgh between 20th-26th March 2015.
Since the start of the process, we aimed to put on an event that would be well received and memorable to the people who heard of us and passed through the doors, this is how Question Time came about. We wanted to put on a panel discussion set up by students for people who, like ourselves, were interested in gaining insight into what the landscape of Scottish photography is like and what it takes to become a player in the industry.
For us, the event was a huge success and the liveliness of the discussion was very inspiring. Hearing well respected individuals share fiery exchanges clearly showed an existing passion for photography. I know for sure that we, as well as many of our friends in the audience found the experience very motivating. What was particularly beneficial was getting the opportunity to hear people we perceive as successful speak openly about the relationship between their personal and professional lives. This was a great opportunity to build realistic expectations on what life will be like post university.
After such a positive experience with Tuesday night’s discussion, I personally would love to explore the idea of hosting more panel discussions, perhaps hosting a weekend of talks in the future. I know that TalkSee Photography, who are based in Glasgow recently held a panel discussion with Malcolm Dickson of StreetLevel, Ben Harman of Stills and Amanda Catto of Creative Scotland on at the CCA in Glasgow which was well attended and offered good discussion points also. I wouldn’t be opposed to collaborating with the organisers at TalkSee to see what we can do to make sure debates continue to happen in both Glasgow and Edinburgh.
In regards to Ratio 7:1, after two long semesters we are taking a break to concentrate on other areas of our studies. This however does not mean that we won’t come back together in the future, it is just hard to say for sure at the moment. All seven of us will continue to make work and will hopefully have more opportunities to exhibit said works in the near future. You can keep up to date with all of our activity via our facebook page and out Twitter page.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Document Scotland and all of the participants for being a part of the discussion and supporting our exhibition and programme of events.” – John Dougan, Ratio 7:1 photography collective.