Reviews

Throughout the club year we have guest speakers who share their photographic experiences, below are reviews of those evenings. Reviews from past guest speakers can be found on our archive page.


4th December 2018: Terry Walters EFIAP An eclectic mix with a bias towards Portraiture”

As a speaker, this was a first visit to Tetbury from Terry, who had judged for us previously.

Eclectic” is defined as “deriving ideas, tastes, style etc., from various sources” – an apt definition which perfectly suited the evening’s entertainment. We were treated to an extremely wide range of images, sprinkled with many hints & tips, good humour and amusing anecdotes, particularly about the effort sometimes required to get that “special” shot and his various meetings with policemen, Chinese tourists and female Russian officials.

Terry is an EFIAP (Excellence of the Federation Internationale De L’Art Photographique) and in many ways this Distinction epitomises what his photography over the last few year has been about – entering International Photographic Exhibitions (‘Salons’), and competing against other photographers from around the World. We learned how International judging can differ from UK clubs, plus it was interesting to hear how many awards certain images had received.

The evening began with Wildlife and Nature, before moving onto Landscapes,Trains, Urbex*, Street, France, Amsterdam, Moscow Metro & Red Square, Portraits and much more besides. Terry is a “master manipulator” and kept us guessing as to what was real and what had perhaps been imported/tweaked in an image. Fooling the judge seemed to be the theme! There were many examples of creative juxtapositional images plus opportunistic “street” shots.

His workflow with models was carefully explained, particularly on outdoor shoots i.e. preparation, camera set up for the ambient light plus the lighting set up before the model enters the scene etc. An important element in this style of photography was the use of his “prop bag”. Boxers, Dancers and Body artists etc. were included in his portraiture work – often taken from unusual angles and locations. The skill of working with and learning from Models to get the right image was also emphasised.

With something of interest to all members, this was a highly creative, informative and inspiring presentation from Terry.

* Note: Urbexing is a photography genre which involves exploring and photographing abandoned buildings and areas.


 27 November 2018: Martin Cooper “Mono Memories”

Martin told us he primarily enjoys photographing landscapes but he started his evening with a display of mono images featuring people and events, and this allowed us to have an insight into his style and creativity. Through his images he displayed his emotional connection with his subjects and let us share, to some extent, the feeling and experience he had when taking the photographs.

Many of his images, particularly landscapes, reflected his desire to produce dramatic views with punchy skies and textures and tones that were vivid and compelling. Through is work we were able to understand the character and mood of the scenes he captured and how he wanted his work to be seen by others. He has a very distinctive approach to editing in Photoshop where contrast is generally maximized allowing him to reflect his passion for striking black and white images.

Producing monochromes requires good light but perhaps more importantly Martin suggested it requires good composition as the eye is drawn to lines and elements that make up the image and poor structure and weak composition are more easily seen than in colour images. His digital images and prints showed his ability to produce stunning photographs with strong compositional Iines. Some lighter images, particularly those featuring snow scenes, reflected his ability to produce calm and restful images. In others he widened the dynamic range to add vitality and energy. He told us he loved to be out in the fog as this allowed him to add mystery and intrigue to his photographs.

Towards the end of his talk Martin showed us images that he had taken at Oradour-sur-Glane, France, which was destroyed when a German SS company massacred 642 inhabitants. Others taken when Martin visited Auschwitz followed. While these photographs were quite sobering and provoked a deep emotional response, we were pleased that Martin felt he could share these with us as they help tell such terrible events that must never be hidden away.

We enjoyed a very interesting evening with Martin who is clearly a very accomplished and skilled monochrome photographer.


6th November 2018: Darren Leeson Mainly Street”

This was a first visit to Tetbury from Darren. Although a member of Worcester Camera Club, he no longer enters club competitions, preferring instead to follow and develop his own style of street picture-taking.

It was clear from the opening b&w image of a kissing couple (sitting on steps in some Italian backstreet), that we were in for a rare treat. The story of how he captured that particular moment (including tripping over the steps) only served to amplify the impact of the photograph.

Darren detailed how indebted he was to his photographer-father, who had invested “hours & hours” of coaching in him, with the result that even by the age of 12 young Darren’s camera skills were already well –honed.

Opting for a mirrorless Fuji and Leica lenses, Darren took us through his method of getting that “special” image – a presentation that was liberally sprinkled with hints, tips and amusing and/or intriguing anecdotes. Explaining the importance of getting as close as possible to the subject, he was scathing about the use of telephoto lenses in street images – preferring instead a 28mm to 35mm format (full frame equivalent).

All of Darren’s images had a strong narrative behind the visual and, whilst working in mainly b&w, meant that colour didn’t get in the way of the story – he apologised for the “colour popping” in one image, explaining that he was now over that affliction (!)

Darren told of his many influences and favourite photographers such as Garry Winogrand, Bruce Gilden and of course Cartier-Bresson, carefully explaining the latter’s camera technique to get the story.

Being free of club-competition constraints, Darren explained how he was happy with e.g. diverging verticals and “clutter”, insisting that “street” images need to be faithful in recording social history. Some occasional cropping was usually about his limit.

Darren’s photography philosophy was summed up when quoting Jill Farmer (Photographer) that “…the camera was the only thing ever invented that could stop time”

A fascinating evening from a passionate, humorous and engaging speaker.


23rd October 2018: Around the World in 80 minutes with Ian Bateman FRPS, MPAGB, AV-AFIAP, APAGB.

Our guest speaker on 23 October was Ian Bateman who gave us a series of AV (Audio Visual ) presentations reflecting his travel and interests both in the UK and as the title of his talk suggests in far off places too.

He started in North America before moving to Australia where he showed us the unique environment of Kangaroo Island and some of it’s wildlife, then moved on to Hong Kong where he showed his family’s journey on the Ngong Ping cable car and ran through a series of images at rapid speed and, like many of his presentations, gave a clear insight to his sense of humour and fun.  

Ian has spent many family holidays in Spain and we saw his AV on Tossa and shared many happy memories he has of that area.   A real treat was his presentation on Palau de la Musica Catalana.   The building was just stunning and the images breathtaking in their clarity and colour.  Keeping with the art/performance theme he next showed his AV on A Night at the Opera, a sequence showing the Opera house in Paris reflecting it’s history, architecture and the Phantom of the Opera drama created by Andrew Lloyd-Webber.  

His final selection focused on the UK and started with a story about a Vosper painting depicting a scene in Capel Salem, Pentre Gwynfryn in Gwynedd.  The painting became a Welsh icon because it reflected Welsh piety at a time when the chapel was at the heart of Welsh life, and it showed traditional Welsh costume.  The painting is said to have many hidden meanings;  two of which are that there is a face in the shawl and that the main person in the painting arrived late for the service as the clock showed her arriving during the customary silence period before the morning service began.  Lots to think about and Ian’s mastery of AV, his wonderful images and story telling added to the mystery!  

Following the consideration of Vosper’s painting we visited the Valiant Trooper, a pub in Buckfastleigh, on the fringe of Dartmoor, where Ian through his images explained the history behind a public house that had been stranded in time since the 1960s.  The then owners closed the pub in the 1960s leaving everything in place as the last customer walked out the doors.  All the artefacts and accommodation date back to the 1940s and 1950s since which time nothing has been thrown away.  

Staying with Dartmoor Ian next took us to Wistman’s Wood where a few members of the Club had been.  Wistman’s Wood is a small Oak wood that is best known for it’s mosses and lichens that cover the trees and granite boulders found in the wood. Ian’s unique take on the wood was to mirror his photographs and this created some wonderful striking images where it was easy to see faces and figures in the very detailed gnarled branches of the stunted oak trees and the dense mosses.  

Finally, Ian took us to London where he has produced some incredible AV sequences again linking art and performance.   These included the Gormely Gathering, the London Lumiere and a celebration of Pink Floyd, which ended his time with us. But before these rather lighthearted and jolly sequences, he showed us one AV on Remembrance and the Poppy sculptures displayed at the Tower of London and the shrouded figures produced by Rob Heard which represent the 72,000 men who died in the Battle of the Somme and whose bodies were never recovered.   This AV proved to be extremely well received by the Club’s members who remained silent throughout its showing.  Very moving indeed and some wonderful sequences and photography.

Through his AV presentations Ian showed us another way to enjoy our photography and we were extremely pleased he found time to come to our Club and share his passion for photography and story telling.


16th October 2018: Mike Martin “Shooting People and other Stuff”

This was a first visit to Tetbury from Mike, who had described his approach to photography as “if it moves, shoot it; if it doesn’t, shoot it anyway”. Over the last few years he has concentrated more on portraits, enjoying success in competitions, salons and exhibitions – this was the general theme of the evening. With PDIs during the first half of the evening, Mike explained in great detail a wide variety of his creative techniques. His skillful use of Composites and Montages were much in evidence, as was some advanced Photoshop techniques

Having worked with more than 50 models (male & female), Mike was able to produce excellent examples from his rich catalogue of creative, distinctive and often thought-provoking images. His use of light was stressed throughout the presentation – natural, speedlite and studio flash. This often meant reducing images to their dramatic elements by eliminating peripheral parts from the original – the use of “negative” space for example often being employed.

Drama was added to many portraits by the careful inclusion of “pets” – these included snakes, “Fluffy” the tarantula and a scorpion – the last two being placed on the faces of the model (Yes!)

After the PDIs, the second half was a print display – often in groups, where Mike would show the original print, followed by several edited images before ending with a print that invariably carried a salon award.  

This was a highly stimulating presentation from Mike, with a clear theme of trying to be “different” in his approach to taking a photograph. A lesson for us all?


9th October 2018: Les Loosemore ARPS, AWPF, DPAGB  Another Print evening with Les Loosemore”

This was a welcome return from Les, who first visited Tetbury in October 2017.

Our usual clubroom seating arrangement was again altered to accommodate the large well-lit print display stands, together with a central light box. This meant that up to 24 prints were on display at any one time.

Les explained his journey through photography and welcomed questions throughout the evening. After each mini-presentation we were also encouraged to view the prints close up on the exhibition-style displays.

As a sponsored Fotospeed Photographer, Les detailed his work flow from Camera to Print using Fotospeed papers. The mounted Prints (in colour and monochrome) came in all sizes i.e. from extreme letterbox to square. Each block of prints on display were themed and could therefore be viewed as panels e.g. “Sydney Opera House & Harbour Bridge by Night”, “Fragility & Resilience of Decay”, “Storm Brian, Spring Tide, Lighthouse & High Seas” and “12th Century Priory Church – Textures, Shadows & Reflections”

Many useful snippets of advice were offered by Les e.g. use of tripod, catching the light, depth of field, cropping and careful planning for each shot. We learned also about the speed at which his images can be turned into exhibition-ready mounted prints!

less is more” was the theme throughout the evening.

It was a highly enjoyable and entertaining evening from Les, which offered something for us all.


September 25th 2018 : Andrew Fusek Peters. “Upland, Wildlife and Wonder from the Shropshire Hill Country”  

Our first external speaker of the season was Andrew Fusek Peters, writer, poet, open water swimmer, squash player, and photographer with a passion for wildlife and nature. His talk journeyed through the borderlands of Shropshire and the different genre and techniques of his photography, linked to his personal battle to overcome illness and the start of a new adventure that transformed his life.

His career as a photographer is recent yet there is no indication of this when he showed his images or explained how such pictures were captured. They are quite simply stunning. It is his dedication and persistence that have led to him becoming in a very short time a leading and widely published professional wildlife and landscape photographer.

By focusing on his local landscape he has become an expert in the habitat of the wild animals that live there and the lie of the land. Through his enthusiastic and lively talk we were able to share his passion for landscape images. His photographs of wildlife are captured in their natural environment and range from Deer to Bumble Bees. I found his images of Hares particularly special as they reflected the time and patience needed to capture these most wonderful and sensitive creatures.

He has achieved so much not only through his own efforts, but also enjoyed the support of his family friends and neighbours. He is an excellent example to all of us who care about our environment and are setting out to be successful in wildlife and landscape photography .

So what did we think of his evening – brilliant in every way!

Tony Banks

Tetbury Camera Club