Innerleithen’s love of all things bike is being celebrated with a new photography exhibition this week featuring some very familiar faces.
The ‘We Are Innerleithen’ exhibit, based at the Old Foodstores on Traquair Road, features 100 portraits of local residents by award-winning photographer Natalie Martin, an Innerleithen local herself, and captures the town’s love of cycling.
Many of the photos in the collection were taken in 2020, with the rest taken over the summer leading up to the UCI Cycling World Championship which is currently hosting events at Glentress.
Natalie said: “These shoots allowed me to interact with and photograph so many different characters, each of whom has made an impression on our amazing wee town.
“Some of the people featured are recent arrivals who have already begun to influence our community, others are more familiar faces locally, who I’ve known my entire life and who have contributed so much to Innerleithen.
“What they all have in common is an enthusiasm for biking and a determination to grasp the many opportunities it creates for business and pleasure here.”
She added: “I wanted this project to take a creative approach to the portraits, incorporating personal props that would differentiate the subjects and give every image a unique twist.
“The result was a set of fairly unconventional but fascinating portraits and the images we have selected for the show are the ones that interested me the most.
“I hope people enjoy viewing this exhibition as much as I enjoyed creating it.”
The Hub, a community interest company (CIC) and not-for-profit enterprise, was founded in 2019 by Pauline Archibald and Carmel Scott.
The exhibition was organised by The Hub to help ensure that Innerleithen locals were as involved with major events, such as UCI’s, as possible.
Pauline said: “One of the reasons we created the community interest company was to make sure the Innerleithen community is a key partner and beneficiary when major events like the world champs happen here.
“Part of that is about ensuring the priorities, hopes and concerns of the people who live and work here are considered and addressed at every stage.
“But a big part of it is also about extending the warmest possible welcome for guests to our hometown and celebrating the fact that this is an amazing place to visit, to live and, of course, to ride bikes – whether you’re a resident or an occasional visitor.
“Bikes mean different things to different people. For some, they are a means of getting around town quickly in their daily working lives. For others, they are a vital source of freedom, independence, and physical and mental wellbeing. For many here, they are as essential to everyday existence as a pair of shoes.
“We are Innerleithen covers all of the above and everything in between.
“We were so lucky to secure the services of superstar snapper Natalie Martin for this project and it’s been an absolute joy to watch her work.”
We Are Innerleithen has been supported by George Meikle of Innerleithen Community Council, Dave Cotter at Caddon Creative, The Hub on the High Street, Gordon Bain from The Trailhead Café, Rich Rowe at GoTweedValley, Thomas Fleming Joinery, and Scottish Borders Council, which provided grant funding.
READ MORE: Bid to create ‘world class’ bike hub at site of former Borders mill approved
Innerleithen’s reputation as a top destination for mountain bikers is revered globally.
Beginning with riders racing along the forest roads at Caberston from at least the early 90s, mountain biking in Innerleithen has transformed the town.
The town is also due to experience more change after the highly anticipated Mountain Bike Innovation Centre set for development at Caerlee Mill was approved earlier this year.
‘We are Innerleithen’ takes place at the Old Foodstores on Traquair Road, Innerleithen (opposite the Trailhead Café) between 2pm-8pm daily from Thursday, August 10 to Sunday, August 13.
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