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Impressions Gallery

exhibitions: past

Beyond the Border: New Contemporary Photography from Scotland

Document Scotland

01st Jul - 27th Sep 2014

Sophie Gerrard, Colin McPherson, Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert, Stephen McLaren


Set against the backdrop of the historic referendum on Scotland’s Independence, Beyond the Border brings together four Scottish photographers, each with a distinctive view of a nation in the midst of intense debate about its future.

This international premiere – one of the most significant shows of new Scottish photography in a generation – aims to challenge clichés and explore the country, its people and identity.

Sophie Gerrard's Drawn to the Land is an intimate look at the role woman play in shaping the rural Scottish landscape. From Highland crofters to Lowland farmers, Gerrard explores how their lives interrelate with the land in which they live and work.

Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert's Edge of an Empire brings history to life in a fascinating study of the Antonine Wall, the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire, as the wall crosses through central Scotland attracting visitors and living history groups alike.

Stephen McLaren reveals the world of Americans with Scottish ancestry who retain close affinity with the ‘Old Country’, even through they may never set foot there. McLaren’s series American Always, Scottish Forever depicts the athletes, musicians, artists, and visitors attending California's burgeoning Highland Games season.

Colin McPherson presents A Fine Line, a year-long exploration of the physical border between Scotland and England, examining and questioning the very nature of the frontier and how it looks from the Scottish side.

Together, the four photographers are Document Scotland, a collective formed in 2012. Sophie Gerrard says,  ‘We share a common vision to witness and photograph the important and diverse stories within Scotland, and to promote and support photography in Scotland’. Colin McPherson says, ‘the work in Beyond the Border is neither overtly political nor partisan, but aims to record and disseminate ideas and themes surrounding this pivotal moment in the nation’s history’.

The vote to decide whether Scotland becomes an independent nation takes place on 18th September 2014.

Beyond the Border is curated by Impressions Gallery's Scottish-born director Anne McNeill.

exhibition resources

Click here to download an information sheet about the exhibition (PDF 176KB)
Click here to download an our exhibition guide (PDF 880KB)
Click here to download our interviews with Document Scotland (PDF 176KB)

what the papers say

The Guardian
The Telegraph
The Independent on Sunday

F2 Magazine

RPS Journal

Outdoor Photography
BBC News: In pictures
Aesthetica Blog
Amateur Photographer
BJP online
Photomonitor Review

what new focus say

Review by Asiya Hussain: Artist Talk with Document Scotland


listen again


Married couple, Gretna, 2013 © Colin McPherson

Married couple, Gretna, 2013 © Colin McPherson

Document Scotland

Click on thumbnail below to enlarge

Married couple, Gretna, 2013 © Colin McPherson Lauder, Scottish borders © Sophie Gerrard Jonathan McGregor, Piper, Ventura Highland Games, California, 2012 © Stephen McLaren Former site of Castlehill Roman fort, Castlehill, Glasgow © Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert Jon Richardson, known as Gaius Iulius Raeticus, of the Antonine Guard, Auchinstarry, Glasgow, 2013  © Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert Border fence, Cheviot Hills, 2014 © Colin McPherson American-Scots, Hollen and Chase MacKinnon, from the Clan MacKinnon, Ventura Highland Games, California, 2012 © Stephen McLaren Anne McClarty, a sheep farmer from near Oban, at the Dalmally tup sale, 2013 © Sophie Gerrard


A wonderful interesting exhibition. Fantastic pictures and video.

Drawn to the Land by Sophie Gerrard - A very moving theme and photographs, to my view, the best in the exhibition here.

Thank you Sophie

An excellent representation of contemporary work and a really interesting exhibition. We both liked different photos but that is the whole idea; enjoyable as always.

Exhibition Visitor

A very interesting exhibition with a number of relatable subjects. I really enjoyed it, especially Stephen McLaren’s 'out of the box' idea of the American Scottish diaspora.

Sophie Gerrard’s work is absolutely beautiful - I would love to hear more about the women - this exhibition shows us an amazing glimpse into their daily lives and the wall/country outside that they live in - inspiring!

This exhibition is great; I have learned a lot from it. The exhibition shows a total commitment to the issues of Scotland/England including the differences and similarities. All the people concerned show a commitment to their beliefs and passions. Very beautiful, very thought-provoking, very insightful and above all it is passionate.

Amazing exhibition and the images in each section complement each other. The different sections give a good range and contrast to how each artist sees Scotland. The exhibition guide is really helpful. I look forward to the next exhibition, thank you.

A stunning body of work. Well done to all involved.