Documenting Scotland

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On 18 September the Scottish Independence Referendum takes place, and it looks like it will be a close call. Bradford’s Impressions Gallery is marking the moment with an exhibition called Beyond the Border: New Contemporary Photography from Scotland, featuring images shot by photography collective, Document Scotland.

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Document Scotland is made up of four Scottish photographers – Sophie Gerrard, Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert, Stephen McLaren and Colin McPherson – and their work deals with Scottish issues and identities in some unexpected ways.

Gerrard’s images, from the series Drawn to the Land, look at women who work the land in Scotland, from Highland crofters to Lowland farmers; McLaren’s project, American Always, Scottish Forever, depicts one strand of the Scottish diaspora, attending California’s burgeoning Highland Games season. Sutton-Hibbert’s Edge of an Empire follows the Antonine Wall, the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire as the wall crosses through central Scotland; McPherson’s A Fine Line follows the border between Scotland and England.

Document Scotland formed in 2012, and aims to keep going after the referendum, whichever way the vote goes. “We share a common vision to witness and photograph the important and diverse stories within Scotland, and to promote and support photography in Scotland,” says Gerrard.

The exhibition is on show until 27 September. Document Scotland has also produced a self-published book called Common Ground featuring work from the Beyond The Border, new work and an essay by Impressions Gallery curator, Anne McNeill.

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Diane Smyth

Diane Smyth is a freelance journalist who contributes to publications such as The Guardian, The Observer, The FT Weekend Magazine, Creative Review, The Calvert Journal, Aperture, FOAM, IMA, Aesthetica and Apollo Magazine. Prior to going freelance, she wrote and edited at BJP for 15 years. She has also curated exhibitions for institutions such as The Photographers Gallery and Lianzhou Foto Festival. You can follow her on instagram @dismy