New Scottish International Photography Festival

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Rankin, Helena Christensen and Edinburgh College students launch new international photography festival Retina

2 July 2014

Edinburgh, the festival capital of the world, adds another string to its bow this month with the launch of ‘Retina – Scottish International Photography Festival’. Running between 17 and 26 July at a number of venues across the Scottish capital, Retina aims to cater for both professionals and emerging talent. 

Edinburgh College’s Development Trust (more information about the trust can be found here) is one of the event sponsors, and the festival will feature work by the college’s photography students and graduates.

This year’s event will see a mix of photography and arts professionals in attendance, including fashion and celebrity photographer Rankin and fashion model and photographer Helena Christensen. Anna Freemantle, director of the Edinburgh International Fashion Festival, is the principal curator at Retina. In its inaugural year, the organisers are keen to tap the views of the industry so that Retina can be even better and more relevant in the years ahead.   

The official festival launch takes place in the ballroom at the Assembly Rooms on George Street on the evening of Saturday 19 July – with Rankin, Helena Christensen and Anna Freemantle attending – before moving on to Harvey Nichols (Monday 21), the City Chambers (Tuesday 22) and the Creative Exchange in Leith (Thursday 24). Alongside the main festival, an exhibition of the work of student talent will be running at the Creative Exchange in Leith from Monday 7 July. 

Mandy Exley, principal of Edinburgh College and chair of the organising committee for Retina, said: “Retina is an original and exciting opportunity to celebrate not only the best in the world of photography but also the amazing emerging talent that Edinburgh has to offer. In this part of the world we support the development of some of the UK’s most exciting talent in photography and Retina is all about getting this talent out there and known.”

The launch is supported by four key events across the city designed to give a taste of things to come and to engage with a range of businesses, creative industries and other stakeholders who will be play an important part in making the festival a success in the future.

Susan Wall, co-founder of Retina, and MD of Edinburgh branding consultants Pax Studio said: “This is just the beginning of what we hope will be an important festival on the international photographic stage. The festival is in its inception, however we’re really excited about the support we have received, the professionals who shared our vision, worked with us and wanted to exhibit and we look forward to continuing support so that we can grow into a truly inclusive event showcasing the very best in future years.”

“The world’s first colour photograph was made in Scotland in 1861 by James Clerk Maxwell so it’s with great satisfaction that we’re bringing photography back home in the form of the Retina festival.” 

The festival is a not-for-profit organisation with a management team drawn from professional photography, creative industries, higher education and the media.

Edinburgh-based technology entrepreneur Martin Mutch is the co-founder and driving force behind Retina. A former UK young photographer of the year awardee, Martin founded software consultancy business Rocela in 2002. Rocela was acquired by Dublin-based Version 1 in early 2014.

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