Stills to host Scottish photographer’s 1st solo show

The first UK institutional solo exhibition by Scottish photographer Robbie Lawrence brings together a snapshot of life post-Brexit across Scotland’s cities, rural locations and coastal towns

Stills – Edinburgh’s centre for photography – will host the first solo exhibition in a UK public gallery of Robbie’s work.

Northern Diary, brings together a selection of work that he has produced over the past seven years, many of which have never been seen before in a gallery setting.

Subjects include landscapes, portraits and still lives made across Scotland’s cities, rural locations and coastal towns.

Rather than a documentary assignment on post-Brexit Britain, Robbie’s approach to producing the exhibition has been to interweave the narratives and relationships of people and places to convey a humanist affirmation of life north of the border, against the backdrop of the broader social and political climate throughout the UK.

Included in this exhibition are photographs from Lawrence’s series A Voice Above The Linn, documenting his visits to the home and garden of Jim McTaggart who died in 2019. McTaggart was a botanist, climate activist and the creator of Linn Botanic Gardens on the Rosneath Peninsula in the West of Scotland. The exhibition also includes the first gallery presentation of Lawrence’s new short film, Blue Bonnets, commissioned by The New Yorker.

Robbie was born in Edinburgh and is now based in London. After finishing school, he completed an arts scholarship at Hamilton College, New York and studied English Literature at the University of S. Andrews. Initially pursuing a career in journalism, Robbie began a photo editor traineeship at The New York Times in Paris, where he completed his first editorial assignments for clients including The New Yorker, Le Monde and the Financial Times.

Working primarily in long form documentary, Robbie has photographed projects in the Congo, Faroe Islands, Sierra Leone and Georgia, as well as notable projects across the UK. He has published several books including Freetown (2019) in collaboration with the United Nations, and his first monograph Blackwater River (Stanley Barker, 2019). In October 2020, Robbie published a second book with Stanley Barker, A Voice Above The Linn, illustrating the life and work of botanist Jim Taggert, featuring poetry from the renowned Scottish poet John Burnside.

Robbie works with a painterly softness and sensitivity to his subjects, heightening detail and nuance. From portraiture, travel and documentary to editorial work, he places the human experience front and centre to create thoughtful, abstract images, with an emphasis on narrative.

Stills is a centre for photography based in the heart of Edinburgh, having been established in 1977. Since that time it has become a champion for the important and powerful role that the medium of photography plays in the world today.

This exhibition has been organised in line with Stills’ commitment to annual presentations of work by photographers from Scotland at different stages of their careers. The exhibition has been made possible with support from Creative Scotland, City of Edinburgh Council and Webber Gallery.

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