About Studies in Photography

Studies in Photography is the biannual journal published by the Scottish Society for the History of Photography. It uses in-depth essays to look at and analyse important historical and contemporary images, helping the public engage with photography and understand it in a new way. The journal also provides a global forum for those interested in photography by exploring both classic work and new frontiers in photography.

Studies in Photography is internationally recognised for its innovation and quality, with subscribers from leading UK, US, and European photographic centres and public and private-sector research libraries. The journal's partnership with the National Galleries of Scotland is the cornerstone of a program that supports the delivery of lectures, exhibitions, and other public engagement with photography in Scotland.



History of Studies in Photography

In 1983, William Buchanan of the Glasgow School of Art held a conference at the Film Theatre in Glasgow, called "The Scottish Contribution to Photography." Following the great success of this conference, a meeting was held in the School of Art. The Scottish Society for the History of Photography was proposed, with the intention of promoting interest in and research into photography, with a specific bias towards the significant Scottish contribution.

The Society undertook talks and visits to collections across the country. In 1986, it first published its journal under the name The Scottish Photography Bulletin, which changed to Studies in Photography in 1996 to express a broader interest. Between 1986 and 2020, the journal has published nearly three hundred articles on historic and living photography, with over a hundred reviews. Over the years the publication’s production quality has improved to its present high standard, doing full justice to the visual material it showcases.

In 1993, the Society began an annual series of public lectures by distinguished photographers, held at the National Gallery of Scotland. In 2006, SSHoP added a complementary series of historical lectures, known as the Annan Lectures in honour of the Annan photography firm – led by Thomas Annan and his sons, John and J Craig Annan. These are held, appropriately, in Glasgow – firstly, at the Mitchell Library and, currently, at Street Level Photoworks.

In 1992, we joined with the European Society for the History of Photography in staging a conference, in Edinburgh and St Andrews, on Pictorial photography. The proceedings were published by the National Museums in conjunction with the National Galleries of Scotland, as Photography 1900. In 2002, we led the centenary celebrations of the birth of David Octavius Hill. This saw a splendid series of exhibitions across the country, publications, talks, a historical map, and a notable, collaborative education programme (principally with Learning Teaching Scotland), which delivered a resource pack on Hill and Adamson’s photography to every school in Scotland. This also resulted in an international conference, "The Artful Use of Light," and the papers were published in special edition of Studies (2002-2003). In 2018, the Society was involved in an exhibition of the work of school students from across the country, "Higher Vision," held in the Scottish Parliament. The work was also published in Studies, and copies of the journal were sent to every secondary school in Scotland.

Studies has been principally directed by the enthusiasm of volunteers and supported by private and corporate members across the world. It has also been most fortunate in other financial and practical support both from private funds and from public agencies – notably, the National Galleries and Museums of Scotland; the Universities of Glasgow and St Andrews; Glasgow School of Art; The National Library of Scotland; The Mitchell Library and the Edinburgh Central Library; Street Level Photoworks and Stills Centre for Photography.