This was a Members’ Evening in two halves. In the first half, we split the time between two members we have known for some time, Claire Halas and our treasurer, Hilary Barton. In the second half, we heard from three comparatively new members, Margaret Marks, Kate Shortland and Mark Dixon, as an introduction to their photography and themselves.
Claire is not always able to come to CoL&CPS evenings: now we know why. As well as a high-powered day job she has to commute to, she is working hard on developing photography as an alternative career, just waiting for the right moment to become fully professional. She talked about the twelve weddings she has been the official photographer for over the last fifteen months and her commitment, expertise and sheer energy is impressive. As well as a huge quantity of images from the day with which to tell the story, she provides safety pins, advice and crochet hooks for doing up wedding dress buttons and turns around the images, photo book and video within three weeks! In-between, she loves shooting portraits and sports images and is the official photographer for White Collar boxing Matches. Claire is aiming for her LRPS and we look forward to seeing her succeed in all her plans.
Hilary has a different reason for not always being at CoL&CPS evenings: she is an inveterate globe trotter, away on increasingly more exotic adventures to far-flung places.Recently, she visited Indonesia on a cruise which included a day in a very remote village in Papua New Guinea, where she and her travel companions were allowed to witness a traditional ceremony. I hesitate to call it pole dancing, but there was dancing and there were poles, albeit elaborately and beautifully carved ‘Bis poles'. Hilary chose to show us in detail her record of that one day, from going from the cruise ship in small rubber dinghies amongst the welcoming warriors in dugout canoes, to the headdresses and grass skirts of the warriors and dancers, to the dignified presence of the chief. It was fascinating to hear how she overcame the practical difficulties of managing her camera in the wobbly boat situation and later, in the crowds, having to shoot wide so that she could crop out extraneous parts of other people getting in her way with their own cameras. In the middle of her presentation, we awarded Hilary the Tiger Trophy for her ‘cool’ image of ceremonially dressed warriors taking selfies. This was the winning image in the January Flickr group competition.
After the break, Margaret Marks, with wry humour introduced herself and her photography as ‘always taking bad photos with enthusiasm’. Then, after a City Lit course, she said she 'was still taking rubbish pictures but at least now knew what was wrong with them.’ Margaret started her real interest in using a camera after a trip to China, taking colour slides and then during her working life in Germany, she started to experiment with wildlife photography, particularly birds. Like for many of us, going digital was an important impetus to take more pictures and as well as an interesting Street project based on old black and white photos her brother took of London, she is recording the foxes in her garden. She raised another laugh by her assertion that the Dehaze function in Lightroom means you don’t have to keep the windows clean.
Kate also enjoys Street photography and having started by taking images of her children, she has become more analytical and serious about her own work. She showed us beautiful macro images of flowers and plant details and had grouped them together in panels which showed great awareness of light, form and colour. She thought she didn’t want people in her pictures but is currently working on Street scenes with people in them and her presentation showed her to be enjoying exploring and developing the possibilities of style and genre.
Finally, Mark described his journey from taking film shots of his own children over time without much attention to the science or theory of photography and then struggling between the demands of work and family to enjoy the freedom of a digital camera, gradually becoming hooked. He has travelled widely and he showed some images he had taken to record such experiences. He has also developed an interest in sports photography as a way of keeping himself busy on the touchline. Aside from this slightly apologetic attitude, Mark demonstrated a keen interest in improving his skills and we hope all the speakers from last night will find CoL&CPS helpful in encouraging their progress and providing them with whatever they need to further their passion. Many thanks to them all - these presentations take time, effort and energy and are much appreciated. It was a very enjoyable evening.