CLOSE UP: Skyward: a study in Flight by Kit Martin

© Kit Martin

Shutter Hub member Kit Martin is currently showing her Skyward series at University of St Andrews Gateway Galleries , which includes an exhibition and related events including talks and workshops for children and adults (You can find out more about the exhibition and events here). In this Close Up she explains some more about the background to the series and how the current exhibition came about…


I grew up in Edinburgh and was lucky to have a darkroom at secondary school which I made use of and enjoyed, after which I went down to Derby to study Biological Imaging, a degree that combines biology with photography, graphic design and film. After graduating, I worked in medical photography for a few years before giving myself a challenge and joining the police as a civilian photographer. The job with the police was, as it turned out, too challenging for me and I left to return to University and completed a postgraduate year in Environmental Management. Photography then took a bit of a back seat while I worked in community recycling organisations and for Scottish Natural Heritage for a few years.

I am now based in north-east Fife, just outside vibrant and creative Dundee. I have been working with the zoology collection at Bell Pettigrew Museum in St Andrews University with digital photography and alternative processes for a couple of years now. Initially this was in my spare time, but in September last year I was invited to work with a group of postgraduate students on the Museum & Galleries Studies degree course and jumped at the chance. Together we have worked over the past few months towards the exhibition Skyward; a Study in Flight.

The inspiration for the exhibition is Professor James Bell Pettigrew, who, alongside his medical career, studied locomotion in animals for most of his adult life. He became an authority on the subject and had a particular interest in flight. He even built a flying machine with flapping wings, powered by petrol, and flew for about 60 feet down a St Andrews street before crash-landing.

The exhibition features some large cyanotypes along with digital Duratrans prints displayed on framed lightboxes and digitally printed fabric as well as some of the museum’s wonderful specimens. There is also a Virtual Reality element, which I was not involved with the making of, that adds another dimension and gives visitors the experience of flying over St Andrews. A drone captured the footage and it is viewed through Oculus Gear goggles.

I am a member of Dundee Print Studio, where I use the darkroom, and I run cyanotype workshops in the local area.



You can find out more about the Skyward: a study in Flight exhibition at the website here, and you can see more work by Kit Martin at her website. The exhibition is open until 15th May 2016.


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