Projects 20 is a series of exhibitions in the Stills Gallery, Edinburgh, and includes The Here and The There, the work of Kat Gollock, produced in partnership with The Jill Todd Photographic Award 2019-20. Kat, having been a graduate of both Stevenson College and Edinburgh Napier University, has been working within the photography industry since 2007. She spoke with The Fountain about her exhibition and what it means to be a middle-aged woman exploring landscapes.

TF: You have an exhibition in the Stills Gallery, can you tell us more about this Projects 20 season? 

A couple of years ago  in 2018– the folks at Stills decided that, rather than have a three month block of one artist, they wanted to use that time to showcase selected artists and photographers, based in Scotland and at an early stage or their careers, to present work for Stills’ broad public audiences. It was Projects 18. Following the success of that format they’ve continued with it this year hence Projects 20. So along with myself, the other artists that will be exhibiting are Iman Tajik, Alex Boyd and Sekai Machache. Sadly, as we all know, 2020 was not the year any of us expected and the launch of Projects 20 suffered the same fate as many other live events. Delighted that it’s now able to go ahead although it’s a little more Projects 20/21! I’m first up and  I’ll be exhibiting my latest work The Here and The There which opens on Tuesday Nov 17th until 19th Dec so we just managed to scrape into 2020!

TF: What shape does this take, is it a digital archive or a physical space to admire your photography?

I’m delighted to say that it is in a physical space! After the first attempt had to be posponed because of COVID restrictions we did have a digital launch of the material back in April. But now, as things have eased, Stills have been able to open their doors to the public and so we have real life work hanging in a real life space which is very exciting after the bin fire that was this year. The work that I’m showing is an exploration into the lived experience of women around about my age – late 30/40s – and is a result of conversations and time spent with some of the women that I have the pleasure of knowing and working with. I was super lucky to be awarded the Jill Todd Photographic Award bursary in 2019, which allowed me a bit of time and space to potter about the UK catching up with some truly awesome women and being in amongst some great landscapes.

TF: And it’s not just your work that’s included, who else would you recommend checking out as part of the exhibition?

All the artists involved in the project are all pretty different in our approach to photography and the work that we produce so I’d definitely recommend going to see them all and looking up what they’re up to. It’s an exciting time in Scottish photography, I have to say. The other super cool thing is that I’m sharing the space with The Nature Library – a reference library and reading space connecting people to the land, sky and sea. As the  process and inspiration for my work was walking and talking and being outside connecting to nature and the landscape we find ourselves in when we need to figure ourselves out, I’m delighted to have such a fitting gallery space neighbour!

TF: What is next on the cards for Kat Gollock Photography, and what has been your source of inspiration these last few months since gigs have been relatively quiet? 

I am lucky in that the personal work that I make is most often inspired by walking with my camera in amongst the landscape that I find myself in and, also, reading a lot. So weirdly, lockdown has provided me with the perfect opportunity to do that. On top of that I also spent lockdown in the Scottish Borders – where I grew up but haven’t lived in properly since I left at 18. As a result I was massively inspired to get lost for hours in a landscape that was both familiar and forgotten to me. Whilst I think it will be a bit of time before I know what the images I made during lockdown will become, I do know that it will be a very natural progression from what is on show at Stills at the moment. As for what’s next, no clue! I have enjoyed the quieter life for a wee while but I do miss being in a room with loads of great folks photographing a truly inspiring gig. And I get pretty overwhelmed and sad when I think about it’s absence and just how long it’ll be before it can happen again. With that in mind, I learned early on in lockdown to try not to think too far ahead, in a kind of self-preservation, minimise the freak-out type of thing. So I guess, whilst we’re all still in the midst of this pandemic, I am still in that frame of mind. So at the moment I’m thinking as far as my loved ones are safe and well, I’m keeping busy day-to-day and I have an exhibition opening up that very nearly didn’t happen and during the year that is 2020 I’m good with those things just now.

The Here and The There runs at the Stills until 19th December, click here for more info