CRIME writer Ian Rankin has unveiled a three-month drive to turn thousands of Scots into amateur photographers.
He has agreed to be one of the judges in a major project aimed at creating a permanent record of Scotland’s creative side in 2012.
Ordinary people the length and breadth of the country are being urged to capture everything from music festivals or concerts, to a street theatre act, or community celebration.
Timed to coincide with a year-long celebration of arts and culture across the country, the “See Us” project is encouraging people to post an image and a short description to a dedicated photo-sharing website.
It is hoped people around the world will be persuaded to capture what Scottish creativity means to them, even if they are living or working overseas.
About 100 of the best entries will be selected – for a major touring exhibition and a commemorative book – by Rankin, violinist Nicola Benedetti, and “photo-blogging MSP” Mike Russell.
The project is a joint venture between Blipfoto, the Edinburgh-based photo-sharing website which attracts about 16 million views a month; national arts agency Creative Scotland; the Young Scot information service; and The Scotsman, which will be publishing a selection of the best photographs. Blipfoto previously collaborated with the Scottish Government for a project aimed at capturing pictures of people flying the Saltire around the country.
Rankin, who broke off finishing the latter stages of his new Rebus novel to unveil the initiative yesterday, said: “I’ve never used Blipfoto at all myself so far, but I find myself taking more and more pictures on my phone to post on Twitter, and it certainly seems to be getting more and more people interested in photography.”
Mr Russell featured in The Scotsman at the end of last year after highlights of 12 months of his efforts on the photo-sharing website were featured.
The education secretary, who still “blips” every day, said: “Scotland has a strong and vibrant creative life and the See Us project will provide a great platform to showcase that spirit through the experiences all of our people.”
Kenneth Fowler, head of communications at Creative Scotland, said: “We are trying to build a snapshot of what being creative means to people in Scotland in 2012.
“The idea is to try to get people from all walks of life capturing images around the country, whether it is a shot at T in the Park, or a pipe band at a local gala day.
“We’re hoping for at least 2,000 entries and the idea is to curate the best 100 into a new book and exhibition.”