Parliament exhibition explores Scotland through the lens of photography students


Artwork from some of Scotland’s most talented amateur photographers has gone on display as part of a new exhibition at the Scottish Parliament.


The exhibition, Higher Vision, showcases some of the best images taken by 26 students from schools and colleges from all over the country who have completed the Scottish Qualifications Authority’s Higher Photography course over the past year. The exhibition is on display in the Parliament’s Main Hall until Friday 8 February 2019 and entry is free.

The exhibition provides a unique insight into what life in Scotland is like through the lens of these students and captures people and places from their own outlook. From Scotland’s diverse landscapes and our environment to portraiture of people who have made an impact on their lives. These images also explore issues of identity, adolescence and mental health.

Held in partnership with Scottish Qualification Authority and the Scottish Society for the History of Photography, the exhibition captures a selection of the talent that has been displayed by over 2,300 Higher Photography candidates over the past academic year. Taken from students’ projects produced as part of their course assessments, which counted towards their final grades, a panel consisting of photography and industry experts chose the images that will be featured.

The Presiding Officer, the Rt. Hon. Ken Macintosh MSP said:

“This is a really impressive exhibition which provides a fascinating insight into life in Scotland. More than two dozen of our best photography students have given us some beautiful, striking and intriguing images to consider and I am delighted that the Scottish Parliament can provide a platform to display their obvious talent.”

“The themes covered range from the intimate to the abstract, with intensely personal photographs alongside reflections on the natural environment. I would encourage anyone with an interest to come and see this thought-provoking collection.”

Some of the students whose work is on display include Gemma Anderson from Falkirk High School, whose project captured her Grandfather, and his love of fishing; Sheila Matheson from West Highland College, whose photographs depicted different ages and communities in rural Ross-shire; and Emily Cumming from Kyle Academy, who explored issues around mental health.

Dr Janet Brown, SQA Chief Executive, said:

“Higher Vision is a fantastic way to round off 2018 Scotland’s Year or Young People. The exhibition celebrates the skill and talent of 26 photographers from schools and colleges across the county, and it’s right that we at SQA, the Scottish Parliament, and SSHOP give young people a national platform upon which we can recognise their achievements.”

Alexander Hamilton, Chair of Scottish Society for the History of Photography (SSHOP), said:

“A generation of young people are getting a wonderful introduction to the world of photography, especially Scotland’s important role in its evolution. The Higher Vision exhibition is an impressive demonstration of photographic talent from across Scotland. A selection of the work is featured in our journal Studies in Photography, which offers insights into the historic as well as the new contemporary voices that are shaping the direction of photography in Scotland.”


The images in the exhibition were produced as part of each candidate’s course assessments and counted towards their final grades. SQA selected 80 of the strongest candidates, with ten from each of the eight parliamentary regions of Scotland. It was then whittled down to the 26 students whose work will now be on display.

The photographs were selected by a curatorial panel including representatives of the Scottish Society for the History of Photography, The National Gallery of Scotland, Out of The Blue, a student from Edinburgh College and the Parliament’s official photographer.

An example of a candidate’s work from each parliamentary region is presented in Studies in Photography, the journal of the Scottish Society for the History of Photography. Copies of the journal are available in the Scottish Parliament Shop. As well as SSHoP, SQA and the Scottish Parliament, Higher Vision is supported by Triodos Bank, A&M Imaging, Scottish Council on Archives and National Galleries of Scotland.

Find out more about visiting the Parliament here.



Contact information

Media Contact:

  • Caroline Young: 0131 348 5605


Public information

  • Telephone enquiry line: 0800 092 7500 or 0131 348 5395 (Gàidhlig)
  • Text 07786 209 888
  • Ask a question online through live chat
  • We also welcome calls using the Text Relay service or in British Sign Language through contactSCOTLAND-BSL

Keep up to date with us on:

keep up to date with what's happening in Parliament on Facebook Follow the Scottish Parliament on Twitter @ScotParl keep up to date with what's 
happening in Parliament on YouTube

This website is using cookies.
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we’ll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website.