College lecturer finalist in Scottish Portrait Awards

City of Glasgow College photography lecturer, Peter Iain Campbell, has been shortlisted in this year’s Scottish Portrait Awards.

He is one of 60 artists selected to appear in the Scottish Portrait Awards (SPA) Exhibitions in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Banff. He is also shortlisted for a cash prize and will feature in the 2020 SPA Catalogue, and be awarded a page in the SPA Directory of Contemporary Scottish Portraiture.

Iain, as he is known, works part-time at the college, three days a week, having started as a bank lecturer in 2017. He said:

“It's a real honour and buzz to be shortlisted for an award in the Scottish Portrait Awards, particularly in light of the number of entries and the quality of the 30 shortlisted portraits that will form the travelling exhibition over the next six months. It's my third year being shortlisted in the final 30, but first to be nominated for a prize, so it's a relief to finally get to that point.”

Born and brought up in Edinburgh, Iain has lived in Glasgow for the last 15 years and feels he came to photography relatively late.

“It was 1994, I was 21 years old, and I started shooting on my granddad's old Canon FTb 35mm SLR for the first time. I was hooked from that point onwards. I studied photography at Edinburgh Napier University between 1997 and 2001 and jumped straight into working freelance as a photographer after graduating.

“I've always enjoyed working around the area of documentary photography, but struggled to balance my time between that and paid commercial work. I took a leap of faith in 2014, sacrificing my work as a freelance commercial photographer, in order to work offshore in the hope that I'd be able to develop a documentary photography project about the changing nature of the oil and gas Industry. Thankfully it’s worked out.”

Lecturing was something which Iain had always thought to do at some point. It was just a matter of when and where.

“Photography is fantastic on so many levels, but it can be a solitary pursuit at times and I missed regular interaction with other people. I love talking about photography and I get such a kick seeing students respond excitedly to new photographs for the first time, whether they're historical or contemporary.

“There's a real energy in a college environment that is such a driver not only for your teaching, but for your own practice. Lecturing is still new to me. I love keeping tabs on students' development as they work their way through the course, from one year to the next, and I feel we're in a fortunate and privileged position to steer and guide them on that journey.”

Aileen Campbell, Associate Dean for Fine Art and Photography at City of Glasgow College, said:

“To have Iain join our team of photography lecturers where he can share his passion for documentary, is a great asset for our students. To be shortlisted for a third time in the Scottish Portrait Awards is an incredible achievement. We are all delighted for him.”

Iain has been working on his photography project in the North Sea over the last five years. A number of his photographs will be exhibited at the National Maritime Museum in London from December this year for the next 18 months.

The Scottish Portrait Awards are open to anyone over 16 and who was born, is a resident or is studying in Scotland. The winners of the two cash prizes for fine art and photography will be presented with a year’s free membership of the Scottish Arts Club, Edinburgh.