Futures in the Arts…

…why personal projects are fun and important. 

I had the opportunity to contribute to our local arts festival, the Biggar Little Festival, biggART exhibition at the Gillespie Centre. It did leave me with a bit of a quandary. What to exhibit? 

I haven’t had time this year for a lots of photos for fun or personal projects, so I had a think about how I could combine all my different hats.

Hat 1 How could I promote the business? Having decided on family and wedding photography as the core of my business in November last year, how could I get my name out in the local community more?

Hat 2 How could I keep and spread the positive happy feelings I was left with after volunteering at the Olympics and watching the Paralympics? 

Hat 3 As a member of the festival organising committee how can I help to bring in a younger demographic to the festival?

So the ‘Futures in the Arts’ project is what I came up with… 

“The ‘Futures in the Arts’ is a portraiture photography project. It has been designed to incorporate a number of different events and organizations. First and foremost is the Biggar Little Festival, which will be celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. For those unfamiliar with it the festival, its goal is to promote the arts and talent in the local area and as it gets into its 10th year there is a desire within the festival to broaden its appeal and links with the local community. This links directly into Biggar High School’s long history of developing young people who go on to be very successful in the creative industries. In the past there have been photography projects that have celebrated the older statesmen of the community but with the inheritance left by the Olympic and Paralympic games this project aims to capture the potential future successes of young people in the arts.”

It has been an amazing project to work on both personally and professionally. The guys who took part in the project were so positive and full of ideas on how they wanted to style their shoots, as well as being open to my ideas, that I couldn’t help but be impressed by their maturity and professionalism, for lack of a better word. I have now done photo shoots in barns, school halls, fields, bedrooms…not to mention the Usher Hall. Lots of great practise at dealing with different lighting situations and characters that I have to thank everyone involved from the teachers, parents, the Head Master but most of all the young people themselves, as working with them was definitely my highlight.

Unfortunately, there was just too much talent available, so I ended up with 11 portraits and someone had to be left out (10 portraits for the 10th anniversary). It was a choice between two drummers and James lost out because I preferred the lighting in the other picture, so here he is. He may have avoided being hung on a wall but he won’t avoid internet fame 😉 


…so why should we do personal projects as photographers (or indeed in any profession), because they challenge us. They inspire us and remind us of why we love what we do. And finally because they make us step out of our comfort zones and see what is possible when you try something different.

I don’t know about you, but I love a challenge.

All the leaves me to do is give my thanks to all the staff and pupils at Biggar High School and to let you know that the final 10 portraits are on show as part of biggART the runs from Monday 15th to Sunday 21st October in the Gillespie Centre, High Street, Biggar.



Published by Claire

I'm a photographer, teacher, wanabe triathlete, ex-international rugby playing explorer.

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