Projects offer a real challenge

Oops! What have I stood in?
Oops! What have I stood in?

Morpeth Camera Club

Guest speaker Peter Dixon gave the club a superb presentation entitled Printer’s Pie.

Peter, a member of Whickham Photographic Club and who was a printer by trade, enjoys multiple photographic genres, but dear to his heart are projects, which he says encourage photography because they challenge the photographer to focus on a specific subject.

His presentation of monochrome prints began with photographs taken at the SummerTyne Americana Festival, which attracts visitors and acts from across the world.

On the theme of hands we saw sharp, detailed hands of accordionists and guitarists, with the instruments and background gently out of focus to accentuate the theme. Peter said some people photograph the whole musician, creating a record shot, but focussing on one aspect adds drama and originality.

It was then on to the Asian Mela Festival, a celebration of Pakistani, Bengali and South Asian cultures, held at Exhibition Park in Newcastle. Although it is a colourful event, Peter chose to print in monochrome, capturing the movement of belly dancers, musicians and clothes sellers, and fine detail in the features of beautiful girls.

On an RPS Documentary Group assignment on summer shows, he showed images of classic cars with gleaming reflections and chrome detail, the faces of tug o’ war teams and wrestlers, dogs, farmers and unusual characters.

Rain adds interest, where dripping umbrellas, shiny macs and pavements add atmosphere to the scene.

In contrast we saw scenes taken in Portugal of alleyways and cobbled back lanes cast in shadow and light, then on to one of Peter’s favourite locations, Beamish, where we saw his expertise in capturing detailed textures of linen, creased potato sacks, open drawers with manuscripts and old leather mining jackets, all in natural light.

With the theme of people, Great North Run spectators and characters at the Edinburgh Fringe were included, and cameo shots of the faces on the Response Statue at the Haymarket were captured in amazing detail.

On A Day In The Life project, Peter spent the day hopping on and off a bus through Newcastl, where he documented life in the city of people at bus stops, Central Station, the Bigg Market, street artists and passers-by.

He ended with an amazing array of photographs taken at London’s Brick Lane with graffiti, together with night shots, skateboarders on the South Bank, mannequins, bric-a-brac shops and sympathetic pictures of the homeless. Fully aware of the ethics of taking photographs of those less fortunate, his discrete approach reflected real life in the city.

A wonderful, eclectic mix of subjects, his use of light, together with amusing anecdotes ensured the audience was entertained throughout.

Chairman Mark Harrison thanked Peter for such an interesting show, after which a selection of his photographs, the detail and quality of printing of which had to be seen at close quarters, was displayed.