National Media Museum blog

We explore the science, technology and art of the still and moving image, and its impact on our lives.

What do Scottish photographs look like?

Are they tartan? Or covered in heather and highland cattle?

In case you’re wondering, I’m Scottish. I’m also lucky enough to work closely with an amazing collection of photographs here at the National Media Museum.

I’m looking forward to giving a talk at Impressions Gallery as part of their Feed Your Mind programme of lunchtime talks. I’ll be discussing the history of Scottish photography to complement the upcoming exhibition, ‘Beyond the Border: New Contemporary Photography from Scotland’.

Scottish Photography 3

Man in Highland dress, c. 1865
Carte de visite portrait by W & D Downey
National Media Museum

The talk will be an ideal opportunity to showcase Scottish photography from the National Photography Collection held here at the National Media Museum.

I have to thank Impressions Gallery for asking me to give the talk in the first place, because it’s only now that I’ve started thinking about it that I realise I’ve always taken the notion of Scottish photography for granted. Surely Scottish photography would be photographs by Scots, of Scots, in Scotland, wouldn’t it? But of course nothing is ever straightforward, so why should Scottish photography be any different?

So, if you want to find out what a Scottish photograph truly does look like, you know what to do. Come to the talk at Impressions Gallery on 17th July at 12.30. I look forward to seeing you there.


Iveraray Cross, c. 1865
Carte de visite portrait by W & D Downey
National Media Museum

About Brian Liddy

I am an Associate Curator at the National Media Museum.

4 comments on “What do Scottish photographs look like?

  1. Lissa Mitchell
    July 2, 2014

    Enjoyed your post – ask the same question myself about New Zealand photography. Here at Te Papa (NZ’s National Museum) we have photographs made in Scotland and it strikes me that your selection above gives a stereotypical view of Scottish photography -link to some of ours imaged for online here:

    All the best for the talk.

  2. Brian Liddy
    July 2, 2014

    Thank you for your comment and good wishes, Lissa.
    I’m already working on the next blog post which will show surprising (atypical) examples of Scottish photography from the National Media Museum.
    I’m now going to follow your advice and look at examples of Scottish photography from your Collection. Will you be coming over for the talk at Impressions Gallery?
    Best wishes,

  3. Pingback: What do Scottish photographs look like: Part 2 | National Media Museum blog

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    October 21, 2015

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This entry was posted on July 1, 2014 by in Photography and tagged .

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