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After Life
Sean Dooley

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Natural history collections are a physical catalogue of the amazing diversity of nature. They allow scientists to describe and understand species; they also provide a firsthand opportunity for the public to experience the variety of life on our planet.

These photos portray specimens of entire species that are losing, or have lost, the fight for survival. Because of their rarity these specimens are important, as sources of knowledge that can help conserve species and as reminders of the beauty of these lost and fading species


Photo credit: Images © Sean Dooley


Location: St Salvators Quad Gallery 

Opening times: 24 hours 

Animal Locomotion
Edweard Muybridge

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Photo credit: Images © Animal Locomotion, Plate 733, Edweard Muybridge. SAUL ID: EJM-AL-73.


Following his pioneering work on photographing the motion of horses, Eadweard Muybridge spent the first half of the 1880s expanding and perfecting his techniques at the University of Pennsylvania.  The result was a massive body of work - over 100,000 photographic images - which were distilled down into 781 plates, each recording a different movement of an animal or human.  An incredible new resource for scientists and artists, the plates were offered on a subscription basis - the subscribers choosing from the catalogue at a cost of $100 for 100 plates.

The portfolio held in the Special Collections Division at the University of St Andrews consists of 99 plates, a selection of which have been reproduced for this exhibition.


Location: The Byre Theatre, Upper Gallery
Opening Times: 10:00-20:00

Blurring the line between Photography and Perceptual Psychology

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Photo credit: Images © University of St Andrews, edits Dhanraj Vishwanath


The science of perception has long relied on insights from artists, for example, in the development of theories of space perception that began during the Italian Renaissance. The exhibit demonstrates that this dependence continues to this day in the realm of art photography and the perception of distance and size.

The exhibit displays and describes the photographic effect of tilt-shift miniaturization, which is a photographic effect employed by a few artists beginning in the late 1990s, in which (typically) overhead views of scenes are captured with a tilt-shift camera (a camera which allow the film plane to be tilted relative to the camera lens axis) producing a shallow depth-of-focus and a characteristic pattern of blur.

In the resulting photograph, objects in the scene appear toy-like or miniaturised. The exhibit includes examples of tilt-shift miniaturization photography and research conducted at the university of St. Andrews that provided a scientific explanation for the effect and its implications for visual perception of size and distance.


Location: Holy Trinity Church
Opening Times: 24hours 

The Chemistry of Colour

Rob Douglas, Caroline Douglas and Alex Boyd

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Photo credit: Images ©  Blackfriers Chapel, St Andrews by Rob Douglas


It is a common misconception that the earliest forms of photography were simple black and white images which usually fade to a washed out sepia yellow-to-brown colour.

This exhibition will show some contemporary prints by photographers using historical chemical formulas to get an array of colours and tones.

Calotypist Rob Douglas, Art Historian Carolyn Douglas, Artist Alex Boyd have contributed to this unique exhibition with examples of their work and it is a rare opportunity to see original framed material which is often too light sensitive to display in other exhibition areas.


Location: The Byre Theatre

Opening Times: 10:00-20:00

Imag(in)ing the Periodic Table

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Photo credit: Images © Paul Campbell Photography


Dmitri Mendeleev published his first Periodic Table in 1969 -150 years ago and just 30 years after Louis Daguerre had taken the first photograph. To celebrate the UNESCO International Year of the Periodic Table, this exhibition displays a series of photographs from the University of St Andrews collection, which explore the ways in which the properties of invisible atoms of elements can be recorded on film.

St Andrews has very strong links to the Periodic Table. The recent discovery and conservation of the oldest known printed Periodic Table wallchart is supplemented by the University’s involvement in the European Chemical Society's development of one of the newest which highlights pressure caused by human use on the availability of the 90 elements which make up everything.

Sandwiched between the two dramatically different versions of the Periodic Table this exhibition showcases fascinating images representing elements, the building blocks of our diverse and beautiful world.


Location: The Scores

Opening Times: 24 Hours



Photo credit: Images © Drought affected village along the Silk Road, China, by John Novis

An opportunity to see panels from the popular @EverydayClimateChange collective’s Instagram account - The group project involves 20 photographers from 6 continents, and their images depict the causes and effects of, and solutions to, everyday climate change. This exhibition brings the photographic works of 14 of the contributors to the library walls.

Includes panel images by Ashley Crowther, Sima Diab, Georgina Goodwin, James Whitlow Delano, Matilde Gattoni, Nick Loomis, Ed Kashi, Suthep Kritsanavarin, Mette Lampcov, John Novis, Mark Peterson, J.B. Russell, Jeremy Sutton-Hibber and Elisabetta Zavoli.

Visit and follow the @EverydayClimateChange Instagram account at


Location: The Library at The Gateway

Opening Times: Mon-Fri 09:00-17:00

Fission and recent futures

Gair Dunlop

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Photo credit: Images © Gair Dunlop


Fission research was the future once. Britain defined itself by it, built global networks to supply and test it, and spent vast amounts of money and intelligence on it. Gair Dunlop has gained unprecedented access to Dounreay, Harwell, and other sites to explore physical traces of this nuclear research.

The original dream can be glimpsed through models, displays and archive film. The sites themselves now lie in various stages of decommissioning, secure compounds in idyllic or rugged landscapes.

The future of fission materials is being processed through a series of Irradiated Fuel Caves. Deconstructed, filtered, and stripped of highly radioactive or re-usable elements, the remains are being prepared for long-term deep storage. These cells represent the end state of some of the most expensive and dangerous material experiments ever undertaken in the UK.


Location: Kinburn Park

Opening Times: 24 Hours

The James Gregory Telescope


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The James Gregory Telescope is the largest optical telescope of its kind in Scotland - fitted with a digital sensor making it the largest camera in Britain. Mounted to the side of the Twin Dome Telescope you will see some of the fine examples of photography made by researchers at the observatory. Don’t miss out on the observatory tour this month as well.

Photo credit: Images © courtesy of University of St Andrews Observatory 


Location: The Twin Dome Telescope, St Andrews Observatory, Buchanan Gardens 

Opening Times: 24 Hours

Images of Knowledge: Karl Blossfeldt’s Originary Forms of Art

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Photo credit: Images © Urformen der Kunst, Plate 38, Karl Blossfeldt. SAUL ID: photo NK1560.B56


Comprising 120 photographs of plants and flowers, Karl Blossfeldt’s (1865-1932) internationally best-selling photobook Urformen der Kunst (Originary Forms of Art) (1928) is reminiscent of the tradition of botanical illustration and characterised by the aesthetic of German modernist photography. Using a homemade camera that could magnify the subject up to 30 times, the German photographer and sculptor created these photographs which were used as study materials for his ‘Modelling from Living Plants’ lectures.

What do we see in Blossfeldt’s photographs of plants? Are these photographic images scientific documents or artistic representation? What kind of knowledge do photographs of tendrils and buds produce? Does the photobook’s fusion of scientific observation and archetypal forms produce knowledge about specific plant specimens or about abstract formal patterns that can be found in the natural world?

Showing Urformen der Kunst alongside a selection of botanical illustrations from the Special Collections of the University of St Andrews, this exhibition positions Blossfeldt’s work in the context of botanical illustration and examines the knowledge produced and disseminated in this photobook 


Location: School Of Art History 
Opening Times: Mon-Fri: 09:00-17:00

The Moon;

Nasmith & Carpenter

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The illustrative plates of this first edition of The moon employ multiple different types of illustrative and early photographic reproduction techniques: engravings, woodburytypes and heliotypes (a type of collotype). These new photo-mechanical printing techniques allowed a more standard print process using permanent carbon-based inks and stream-lined the production of photographically illustrated books.


Photo credit: Images © Plate XXIII. J Nasmyth. SAUL ID: photo QB581.N2C2


Location: Martyrs Kirk Research Library
Opening Times: Mon-Fri: 09:00-17:00


Trail of Photo Discovery

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Photo credit: Images ©


Location: Photo trail across participating businesses in St Andrews Town centre

Seeing the Past: Digitally Reconstructing and Recording Historic Sites

Bess Rhodes 

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For generations historic sites have inspired artists and photographers. Today, digital technologies provide new ways to record and recreate historic landscapes and buildings. Drawing on collaborative work at the University of St Andrews by the Schools of Computer Science, History, Art History, and Classics this exhibition by Smart History displays innovative approaches to visualising heritage in Scotland and further afield.


Explore reconstructions of lost buildings, aerial footage of ancient landmarks, and scans of historic artefacts from St Andrews and across the globe. Discover the role that digital developments play in preserving and communicating heritage, and the complexities of creating media which is both art and scholarship. 

Photo credit: Images © Courtesy of University of St Andrews Computer Science 


Location: School of Medieval Studies (The Undercroft, 71 South Street)

Opening Times: Mon-Fri: 09:00-17:00

Tracing Movement: Animal Locomotion, Photography and the Emergence of Cinema

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Photo credit: Images © Animal Locomotion, Plate 591, Edweard Muybridge. SAUL ID: EJM-AL-40.


Drawing on materials from St Andrews’ Special Collections, this exhibition examines how the science of animal locomotion helped to catalyse the emergence of high-speed photography and film. St Andrews was a centre for animal locomotion studies on account of the work of James Bell Pettigrew, and part of the exhibition is dedicated to uncovering Pettigrew’s forgotten links with cinematographic pioneers such as Eadweard Muybridge and Étienne-Jules Marey. But the exhibition also expands thematically over four themed panels to consider the broader role of movement at stake in both the science and cinema of the early twentieth century, as well as their links to other artistic practices of the time.


The exhibition showcases pages and plates from works by Pettigrew, Marey and Muybridge, as well as several excerpts from scientific and popular cinema of the early twentieth century. An accompanying brochure provides additional reflection on each of the themes covered.


Location: The Byre Theatre
Opening Times: 10:00-20:00

Shooting Stars: 19th Century Astronomical Photography  

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Photo credit: Images © La photographie astronomique a l’Observatoire de Paris et la Carte du Ciel. SAUL ID: Photo QB121.M68E87

The University Library Rare Books Collection holds over 600 photobooks and photographically-illustrated books. Among these are a number that show the early use of photography to study the diverse phenomena of the night sky. Over the course of the nineteenth century, advances in photographic technology enabled astronomers to make increasingly detailed photographs of objects invisible to the human eye, such as nebulae, galaxies, and spectra.

Illustrations from a selection of these books will be displayed alongside the exhibition at the James Gregory Telescope, with a short discussion on the publications’ importance to the fields of science and photography.

You will also be able to view these books alongside other photographic material during our event in Special Collections on 22 October.


Location: The Twin Dome Telescope, St Andrews Observatory
Opening times: 24 hours 

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