PRESS RELEASE : Superb Photographers

25th May 2012

This year’s Spring Fling – Scotland’s premier open studios event – features some superb photographers specialising in everything from wildlife and rural landscapes to portraiture and urban street scenes.

Among them are the award-winning Phil McMenemy and Kim Ayres, Roger Lever, Leeming and Paterson, and Simon Robinson

Dumfries and Galloway, in south-west Scotland, is renowned as a hotbed of creative talent and each year many of its best artists, photographers and crafts makers go through a rigorous selection process in the hope of being chosen to be part of the annual Spring Fling event.

Spring Fling, which this year runs from 2-5 June, is ideal for taking a break for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee holiday. This is the festival’s 10th birthday and there is a huge amount to see and do – with art and crafts that range from painting, pottery and photography through to jewellery, textiles and glassware. Visitors are expected from all over the UK and overseas.

Phil McMenemy, who is originally from Lancashire, was a child mental health nurse in London before moving to Laurieston in Dumfries and Galloway after his partner got a job in the region as a doctor. The move has certainly paid dividends as he was named Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year (Abstract) in 2010. His studio is a former stables, once home to horses which hauled timber in the nearby forests.

Speaking about the region Phil said: “I love all of it – the contrasting landscapes, the seascapes, the air, the space, the smell and the feeling. The changing seasons are all very special, there are hidden, quiet places. Galloway has so many different moods and changing faces.”

Kim Ayres, a portrait photographer, says: “There is no such thing as an ordinary face. If you think there is, you aren’t looking closely enough.” Last year he was artist in residence at the internationally famous Wigtown Book Fair, and took portraits of 170 authors, visitors and residents. In 2011 he also took part in Spring Fling, asking each of the 300 visitors who came through his door if they would be pictured for a special project. More than half agreed and their portraits were then published in his book Facing the Weekend.

Roger Lever juggles portraiture and landscape photography with a career as a vet. Unsurprisingly his interests sometimes merge together in images of animals, including some splendid wildlife work from a trip to Africa’s Great Rift Valley with the charity Action Aid. Visitors to his studio in Dalbeattie may also meet his much-pictured lurcher Rosie, whose life he saved after it had been found –little more than a skeleton – tied up inside plastic bin liners and dumped in bushes on a traffic island.

Ted Leeming and Morag Paterson, a husband and wife team based just north of Dalry (and showing their work in Moniaive during Spring Fling) are renowned for their landscape photography. The Dumfries and Galloway countryside is a fertile ground for their work – which has featured widely in newspapers and magazines, and examples of which hang everywhere from cruise liners to company boardrooms. This year they will be exhibiting their Zero Footprint portfolio, taken over two years from the same spot overlooking the Rhinns of Kells. The creative use of season, light and weather conditions makes this a very special collection of subtle and atmospheric landscape images.

Simon Robinson, now based in Castle Douglas, describes himself as: ‘a short, balding photographer from Raumati Beach, New Zealand, who now lives in Scotland and likes vegemite on toast, cats, hats, cities, sunny days in Kirkcudbrightshire and taking photographs. He has a particular love of urban and street themes and has spent the last year capturing the many facets of Glasgow life – the results will be on show at Spring Fling. He says: “I’m interested in capturing the essence of a place and its people. Getting a good picture is all about being in the right place at the right time and anticipating what’s going to occur.”

With the exception of Simon, all of the photographers are members of the Galloway Photographic Collective ( ) , which aims to highlight Dumfries and Galloway and the quality of the photographers based in it. The region, which is recognised as a hotbed of creative talent, is one of Scotland’s most beautiful and is within ready reach of most of the UK including Northern Ireland. It is a popular destination for those in search of superb countryside, artistic excellence and warm hospitality.

Leah Black, Spring Fling Manager, said: “This year’s Spring Fling will be very special as it’s our 10th birthday and we really look forward to welcoming visitors from all over the country. The quality of arts, crafts and photography will be higher than ever, and it is a fantastic opportunity to meet and chat to exceptionally talented people like Phil, Kim, Roger, Ted, Morag and Simon.

“At the same time it’s a great opportunity for other photographers to come along, have a break, and take their own pictures in a region which has pretty towns and villages, and fabulous countryside – plus wonderful places to stay and to eat.”







About Spring Fling

• Spring Fling has just been shortlisted in the Scottish Thistle Awards 2012 - Best Cultural Event Award.

• Spring Fling 2012 runs from Saturday 2nd June to Tuesday 5th June. Some 76 artists and craft makers are taking part and visitors will be able to see, and buy, a diverse range of outstanding works spanning painting and photography, jewellery and textiles, glass, ceramics and furniture.

• All of the studios taking part open daily from 10.30am to 5pm and are free to visit.

• For full details of the programme and the artists, makers and designers taking part, see the website at .

• See the photographers’ websites at,,,



Media information

• For enquiries, interviews etc. contact Matthew Shelley on 07786 704299 or Ellen Drummond Ferroni on 07801 820757

• A backgrounder with additional details on Spring Fling accompanies this release.

• Free-to-use images are available from the Spring Fling website.