Former Principal’s donation provides enhanced photographic facilities for Aberdeen studentsTuesday, 29 May, 2012
Robert Gordon University’s Gray’s School of Art will officially open new darkroom facilities with state-of-the-art photography equipment today (Tuesday 29 May) following a donation from the family of Professor Michael Pittilo MBE, the University’s former Principal and Vice-Chancellor.
Professor Pittilo, who died aged 55 after a battle with cancer, was Principal of the University from 2005-2010 and a keen photographer of the Scottish natural landscape. His wife, Dr Carol Pittilo, will visit the facilities today to view students using the new darkrooms.
The School, which teaches degree and short courses in Commercial Photography and Photographic and Electronic Media, recently doubled its darkroom capacity creating an additional black and white darkroom, dedicated colour darkroom and film processing room.
Professor Pittilo’s donation has allowed the School to purchase five state-of-the art colour enlargers, allowing increased numbers of students to work on more complex and professional processes.
Traditional darkroom skills continue to be valued as an important component in a photographers training. As there has been increasing interest in chemical processes over the last few years, students across every subject area can access the facilities, whilst those on specific courses complete more intensive photographic modules. This year alone, more than 70 first year students have had taster projects in the darkroom at Gray’s.
Professor Pittilo first gained an interest in photography whilst studying electron microscopy at Strathclyde University, developing and enlarging photographs, which was to become a life-long hobby.
Dr Pittilo explains: “Mike was constantly updating his photography equipment and was quick to embrace the digital revolution. He loved taking pictures of landscapes and wildlife, and as his illness progressed and was unable to walk far, this became his main hobby.
“After the University held a fundraising exhibition of Mike’s photography to mark the first anniversary of his death in February 2011, I wanted to make a donation to benefit photography students. The idea of using the donation to refurbish darkroom facilities is a very fitting use of which Mike would have fully approved.”
Professor Paul Harris, Head of Gray’s School of Art, comments:
“We are delighted that Carol has made this generous gift to enhance the darkroom facilities at Gray’s which have seen increased student demand in recent years. The new enlargers will be a lasting legacy that will support the creative endeavours of students for decades and are a great asset in helping students from a variety of disciplines work on larger-scale projects.
“The new facilities will no doubt more than satisfy the enthusiastic current and future demand for high-quality darkroom facilities and will allow us to expand our portfolio of short photographic courses also open to the general public.”
Notes to Editors:
There will be an opportunity to interview and photograph Dr Carol Pittilo and Professor Paul Harris with students at the new darkroom facilities at Gray’s School of Art, Garthdee today (Tuesday 29 May) from 3.30pm. Jonathan Shackleton will meet members of the media at reception.
Robert Gordon University
Tel: 01224 262206