No grey areas in pair’s photographic talent

Sycamore Gap by Edward Forster.
Sycamore Gap by Edward Forster.

Morpeth Camera Club

On Tuesday, September 12 club members welcomed guest speakers Edward Forster ARPS and Mick Howe with their duel presentation entitled As Long As It’s Black And White.

Mick started off the evening with an array of projected images, which consisted mainly of street life and landscapes.

He began by suggesting that if anyone is nervous about taking candid shots of people then they should start off by going to events where one is less noticeable.

He went on to show images at a steam rally, screaming fairground ride passengers and tattooed individuals.

At the Pickering war weekend we saw look-alike characters, GIs, nurses and glamour girls, and at a music event we enjoyed seeing singers at the mike in dark, moody surroundings.

Mick recommended that another way of taking unobtrusive photographs is to “shoot from the hip”.

Examples of this were barristers taking a cigarette break and fellow passengers on the Metro.

He demonstrated that black and white photography emphasises texture and brings out detail, especially in hair, beards and wrinkles, by showing gnarled, gritty portraits of people in character at re enactments, and in the homeless on the street who he has encountered.

More candid street shots of stallholders, joggers, students studying, hen parties, people sleeping on benches and at bus stops, people texting and random shots of people going about their business followed.

The audience then enjoyed dark and moody storm clouds over Newbiggin, windsurfers on shimmering water, dramatic cloud formations in the Lake District over Wastwater and Elterwater, shafts of light through caves, and dramatic waves over Tynemouth Pier.

The photographer concluded with a project on stuffed animals and birds displayed at the Hancock Museum.

Mick’s photographs showed an amazing range of tones and textures, and portrayed his obvious passion for monochrome.

Edward opened his presentation by explaining that he deals in projects, some of which are completed and some ongoing.

Being a darkroom man at heart, he presented the audience with prints from film, saying that he preferred the dark and grainy effect.

His lithographic work demonstrated sharp blacks and whites, with no greys, which were striking and stark.

We also saw an example of his real infra-red in an atmospheric shot of ballet dancers.

Along with Mick and two other photographers, he makes a point of going out each week to different locations.

Edward is also a member of the RPS documentary group, through which he has made a project of agricultural shows, taking photographs of judges, wrestlers and horses.

The audience saw photographs of street demonstrations in Rome, Ho Chi Min City and a vigil in Hiroshima.

There were also landscapes, many of which have been photographed before, but they were in silhouette.

There was Sycamore Gap, the abstract walkways at St Pancras, dramatic trees at Copped Hill and Alnmouth’s church hill cross.

Edward says that he has to be selective when visiting familiar locations, such at the Edinburgh Fringe, by taking different, unusual shots of characters, singers and participants.

A project on World War II commemorations followed.

With access to Catterick Camp, he had captured action shots of military exercises. There were images of soldiers climbing the 9ft-high walls and doing press-ups.

Other great photographs included dark, gritty shots taken in Cuba, and the stark, almost mysterious landscape of Dungerness, a wasteland in the shadows of the power station.

There were also musical instruments at The Americana, Cambodian people pictured at shrines, Lakeland scenes and skateboarders on the South Bank.

Edward concluded his talk by offering the audience comparisons of the same images taken in colour and then black and white.

With humorous anecdotes of their days out and wonderful photography, the presentation was a veritable feast of monochrome texture and tone.

The club chairman thanked Mick and Edward for providing a very entertaining evening.

The club meets on most Tuesdays between September and May.

Sessons take place in Morpeth Methodist Church in Howard Terrace, Morpeth, and meetings commence at 7.30pm.

There is a varied programme of speakers, ‘in house’ evenings and competitions.

The aim is for members to enjoy themselves and to improve their photography skills.

There are also opportunities to take trips out in the summer months to enjoy each others’ company, pick up a few tips and take photographs.

Visitors are welcome to attend three meetings of the club with no obligation to join. However, there would be a small cover charge for each visit, which would include tea or coffee and biscuits.

For further information visit the club’s website at www.morpethcameraclub.co.uk

The site also offers the opportunity to look at the Gallery section, where there are images created by members of the camera club.