STIRLING will host its first photography festival with a programme of events, workshops and exhibitions running between July 9-18, finishing with an exhibition in August.

In celebration of Scotland’s Year of Young People, the project is the idea of photographers Janie Meikle Bland and Julie Howden who are leading a creative team made up of young volunteers.

The festival will offer a range of free events designed to appeal to all.

There will be talks from professional photographers, workshops – including portrait, street and food photography – finishing with exhibitions hosted by supporters Codebase Stirling, The Thistles and Made in Stirling.

Nadia Schneider, a member of the creative team and a student of film, media and marketing at the University of Stirling, said: “I am very excited as no one knows what to expect.

“We, the creative team, have no idea what audience we will attract.

“I’d also be interested to see how many tourists we will lure to Stirling, as the festival is a part of the European Championships, hosted in Glasgow.

“As this is our first ever photo fest, the public do not know what to expect either. Hopefully the mystery will draw them in.”

Janie was first involved in community photography when she lived in Romania.

Now back in Scotland, she runs her own participative photography social enterprise, Picture the Possible.

She said: “When I lived in Bucharest I worked with a small group of women supporting charities in their fundraising, through our photography.

“We also worked alongside them, helping raise awareness of their causes and securing corporate partners and sponsorship.

“As well as being an accessible art form, photography is a great way of bringing people together, sharing ideas and building communities – and we hope our festival achieves bit of this.”

Julie Howden is a commercial photographer who believes photography can be a useful tool for simultaneously opening the world up and teaching us to pay closer attention to the many great things around us.

She said: “A camera is like a passport, allowing us into unfamiliar spaces and to meet people we otherwise would not.

“It also encourages us to pay attention to the seemingly ordinary things around us we may have previously overlooked.

“For me, photography is mindfulness in action and I really believe in its ability to bring calm and joy into our lives.”

More information on the Facebook page.