The start was not auspicious – a lack of software on the society’s laptop delayed the beginning whilst a substitute was found and as Chris Goody was dispatched the retrieve the much needed equipment the members made best use of the time to admire the exhibitions: a portfolio of monochrome prints from Libby Middleton and a collection of analogue cameras from John Edge. The exhibits underlined the theme: The Great Photographic Debate.
Thirty minutes late John Edge the Society President welcomed everybody and then, not a little flustered, the new Chair Paul Nash introduced the evening. Photos graphe; drawing with light and the debate about whether photography clubs and societies are more like computer clubs than camera clubs.
The Chair’s introduction began with thoughts about light and what it means to capture light from black holes to sundials. Once captured by the photographer it is then shared but, the question was posed, do we share the picture or do we share the emotion of the moment of capture. In analogue days the interpretation of the image required a great deal of skill but in these digital days where we capture information about light we suddenly have the tools the make that information both mutable and transportable. In the midst of a huge explosion in photography brought about by the technology in what way has impacted on the photographer.
There followed two excellent and thought provoking presentations from Alan Heath on natural history photography and Marian Goody on different approaches to landscapes. Alan’s entertaining presentation looked at the role of field craft and knowledge in getting the right picture and then focussed on how the digital tools can be used to craft the picture within the rigid constraints within which natural history photographers have to work. His talk was illustrated with stunning shots and interspersed with his characteristic humour.
Marian looked at the work of two very different landscape photographers starting from an overview of their work and then taking in the details of their approach by looking at how the masters of their craft approached two images taken by Marion and Chris from the multi-layered simplification of images reducing them down to their basic structural components and colours to the emphasis of detail in line, structure and colour.
Did we resolve the debate? Of course we didn’t but I feel sure that there was deep consideration of the issues and we look forward to the thinking about drawing with light that emerges in the photographs that are shared this season whether that is in competition or in members’ evenings.
In closing the evening the President and Chair thanked the members for their time, Alan and Marion for their excellent contributions and the committee members for making the evening possible.